In the two weeks since its release, Student Body President Christy Lambden’s petition to repeal Chapel Hill’s four-person occupancy rule has elicited a mixed response from students and town residents. But the resulting conversation has converged upon the lack of affordable housing in Chapel Hill.
“I think we are at the height of a housing crisis in Chapel Hill,” said Jackson Center Deputy Director Hudson Vaughan, who has struggled to help longtime Northside residents find affordable homes.
Lambden released a statement last week explaining the motivation behind the petition.
In November, he formed a group to research the history of the ordinance and how it has been enforced. The students concluded the rule has not been effective.
“There’s a large discussion to be had about affordable housing in Chapel Hill,” Student Body Vice President Jacob Morse said.
“We are in no way, shape or form saying this is a comprehensive solution to fix all affordable housing problems in Chapel Hill. We are just saying this doesn’t work for students or the residents of Chapel Hill who are not students.”
Student government is aware of the community’s concerns, Morse said.
“The student government’s number one priority is advocating for students, but that doesn’t mean we blindly support student initiatives,” Morse said. “It is our opinion that this policy is not a good policy.”
Alex Biggers, financial services coordinator for the Community Empowerment Fund, said the ordinance is critical to her work helping people transition from homelessness in an area that lacks affordable housing.