Local advocacy groups held an affordable housing rally in Chapel Hill on Saturday to raise awareness about the scale of homelessness in the area and the need for more affordable housing.
Community Empowerment Fund of Chapel Hill, Inter-Faith Council for Social Service of Carrboro and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP all worked with Meeting of the Minds, an advocacy group associated with CEF, to organize the event.
The March for Affordable Housing stemmed from the Meeting of the Minds, said UNC student Megan Murphy, a CEF advocate. The group focuses on the lived experiences of those at or below 30 percent area median income (AMI), and works with the local government to address the need for more affordable housing.
The effort was spearheaded by two community leaders — Yvette Mathews, an office and community organizer for the CEF, and Quinton Harper, an IFC manager and a member of the Carrboro Affordable Housing Advisory Commission.
Roughly 200 people attended Saturday’s rally, Harper said.
Murphy described the economic restraints placed on the unhoused community, highlighting the housing disparity in Chapel Hill. She said local housing prices don't match the AMI of people in the area.
“The majority of the people who come into the CEF office, or need help from IFC, are making 30 percent or below the average median income,” Murphy said.
The 2018 Orange County Affordable Housing Summit Report states that while 40 percent of Orange County households are eligible for income-based affordable housing, only 3 percent of the total housing units are deemed permanently affordable.
Many attendees at the event had experienced varying degrees of homelessness or financial adversity. Yvette Mathews, known as "Miss Yvette" within the community, uses her lived experiences to help others.