The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday May 19th

Town candidates discuss affordable housing

In an area where creating affordable housing often seems impossible, it might take 14 brains to come up with solutions.

Chapel Hill Town Council and Carrboro Board of Aldermen candidates came together Sunday to discuss how both towns can ensure affordable housing availability.

The forum was hosted by Orange County Justice United, a nonprofit focused on social justice issues involving those who work, live and worship in the county.

The forum’s moderator asked the candidates questions relating to the creation of affordable communities, how they could be funded and how diversity can be increased in the towns.

Incumbent Sammy Slade said he thinks it is important to make a town appealing to a variety of income levels.

“Affordable communities are essential to the future of our town,” he said.

Incumbent Jacquelyn Gist said she was concerned about whether she could afford to live in Carrboro for much longer.

“Affordability is such a huge, huge issue,” she said. “We have done such a good job at making this a cool place to live.”

Unopposed Carrboro mayoral candidate Lydia Lavelle said she thinks a variety of views are expressed in debates and questionnaires, but more can be considered in the future.

“When we are setting policy for such a town, we need to consider all perspectives,” she said.

Town Council candidate Loren Hintz, who was giving a presentation in Colorado during the forum Sunday, had his son, Carl, fill in for him and answer the questions.

“Chapel Hill is a great place to live because of its diversity,” said Carl Hintz, a high school senior. “Everyone’s voice should be heard, so we need to listen.”

And Town Council candidate Amy Ryan said she thinks Chapel Hill has good intentions when it comes to diverse representation, but still has room for improvement.

Incumbent Sally Greene called upon the audience and stressed the importance of community involvement in order to keep discussion open.

“Even in our lovely bubble in Chapel Hill there is a growing distrust in government,” she said. “Anything we can do personally to reach out and make those connections will really help.”

Town Council incumbent Ed Harrison said he makes an effort to answer phone calls, but thinks others can improve on being more accessible.

“I got in the habit of making and receiving phone calls,” he said. “I think as individuals elected officials actually can be more proactive about doing that. But that’s up to us.”

Town Council candidate Paul Neebe suggested posting schedules of town meetings in Town Hall to publicize them further.

Aldermen candidate Kurt Stolka said he believed the towns should work together more often.

“We need to collaborate more with our neighbors,” he said.

Aldermen incumbent Randee Haven-O’Donnell said she thought collaboration between the towns was important as well as among the towns and other organizations.

“I believe in the partnership between Carrboro and nonprofits,” she said.

D.C. Swinton, a town council candidate, said an important factor in an affordable community in the income level of residents, which could be improved with higher wages.

“We won’t have to continue the amount of affordable housing because people won’t be asking for it as frequently.”

George Cianciolo, a Town Council candidate, said he thought taking issues straight to low and moderate income residents would be an efficient way to find solutions.

“We need to understand what it would be like to walk in the shoes of these people,” he said.

Town Council candidate Gary Kahn also said he thought discussion would benefit from more direct involvement, like emailing and attending meetings.

“People of low income families have to participate in our government,” he said.

Town Council candidate Maria Palmer emphasized the lack of programs and resources that reach low and moderate income families.

“I think we need to do a better. And we can,” she said. “I am looking forward to doing everything we are doing and more.”

city@dailytarheel.com

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