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The Daily Tar Heel

Carrboro Mulls Housing Needs

CARRBORO -- Residents who live in affordable housing units in Carrboro shared their repair needs with town officials in an effort to receive state funding.

The Carrboro Board of Alderman held a public hearing Tuesday evening to receive comments on community housing needs from local residents.

But before the aldermen can move forward, they were required to have a public hearing for the annual N.C. Community Development Block Grant program.

The grant will be handed out only to residents in Carrboro who demonstrate the most need. Residents who want to apply for the grant must see James Harris, the director of Community and Economic Development.

Harris said the CDBG helps affordable housing residents fund certain house repairs because they are often very costly.

"The money from the grant aids in the repairs of housing, water and sewer, gutters and streets," Harris said. "To repair one roof will cost at least ($7,000 to $8,000)."

Two Carrboro residents present at the public hearing expressed various concerns about their communities and homes. Catherine Johnson, of Carrboro, said the road in her neighborhood is "awful."

"Someone needs to come pave our street," Johnson said.

Harvey Reid of Carrboro said he has spent $800 on plumbing in his 20-year-old home.

"Before I moved in, everything was reconditioned but the plumbing." he said. "We can't have someone washing clothes and taking a bath at the same time."

But Harris told the residents and the aldermen that this is only the first stage of the process. "The next step is to locate the concentrated site, then the application can be filed," Harris said. "The applicant must make a presentation before the board again, then afterwards the application will be sent to the city and state level for review."

Alderman Jacquelyn Gist said it is too early in the process to tell how many people will apply for the grant and the total estimated amount it will cover.

"The number of people receiving the grant depends on the kind of project it is, whether it's an individual home or for a community," Gist said. "The amount for the grant will not be available for several months."

But Gist said if some residents do not get the CDBG there are other local housing organizations to consider.

"There are other organizations that fund housing needs such as Orange County Housing," she said.

Harris said Community and Economic Development's overall goal is to provide an equal opportunity for the grant.

"Our job is to make sure everyone has safe and decent housing."

The City Editor can be reached

at citydesk@unc.edu.

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