The Town of Chapel Hill announced on Aug. 18 that it will be releasing up to $7.8 million to help fund affordable housing projects in the area.
In addition to Town-initiated projects, outside agencies such as nonprofit affordable housing developers or other organizations that work towards affordable housing goals can apply for funding. The Town is using a common funding application and will accept applicants until noon on Sept. 30.
This funding is provided by three sources: the Affordable Housing Bond, which residents voted on in 2018; the American Rescue Plan Act and the Town's Affordable Housing Development Reserve.
In recent years, the Town has supported the development of more than 450 affordable housing units in Chapel Hill.
Sarah Viñas, the affordable housing and community connections director at Chapel Hill Affordable Housing, said that the funding could be used for efforts like the acquisition of properties, construction and home repairs.
The Housing Advisory Board will review the applications and the proposed funding plan will go to the Town Council for approval in October or November.
Delores Bailey, the executive director at affordable housing nonprofit EMPOWERment, Inc., said the affordable housing crisis most impacts people earning $22,574, which is 30 percent of the area's median income, or less.
"There is not housing for them, it's just not available in this area, and yet they are what we call essential workers," she said. "They are the people that are working in Chapel Hill and yet they have to drive miles and miles to get to Chapel Hill to get to their jobs."
Bailey said one of EMPOWERment, Inc.'s services is providing affordable rental units in Chapel Hill so residents don't have a long commute to work.