The House Us Now rally, led by local affordable housing organizations including the Community Empowerment Fund, was held on Sunday in Carrboro.
UNC students, Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents and people experiencing homelessness gathered to march for affordable housing. Attendees held handmade signs with slogans like “House us now!” and “Help me be your neighbor” as local leaders gave speeches and the crowd marched from Weaver Street Market to the Lincoln Center.
Yvette Mathews, the office and community organizer for the CEF and the main organizer of the rally, said she began planning the event six months in advance and was pleased with the turnout.
Alongside the CEF, the rally was co-sponsored by the Marian Cheek Jackson Center, EmPOWERment, Inc., the Inter-Faith Council and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP.
Marsha Gale, a rally attendee and former Chapel Hill public safety officer, said she became homeless and lost her pension after she retired. She said there is no excuse for the Town government to not provide affordable housing.
“I lived in my car on and off for five years with my dogs because I couldn't afford to move into anything," Gale said.
Adriana Cook, a rally attendee and Chapel Hill resident who studies sociology at UNC, said she has personal experience with housing instability, addiction and poverty.
"Everyone should be able to have a house, everyone should be able to have a safe place to be,” Cook said.
At the rally, many others spoke about their experiences with homelessness. Allanah Hines and Matthews were among those who gave speeches about food and housing insecurity, racial injustice and economic inequality in the community.