In past years, local nonprofit EMPOWERment, Inc. has sought out money to purchase homes for their affordable housing inventory. This year, the organization worked chiefly to fund the construction of new affordable housing in downtown Chapel Hill.
Delores Bailey, the executive director of EMPOWERment, said the organization's primary focus this year was to create housing for community members who make at or below 30 percent of the area's median income.
The PEACH Apartments, an affordable housing project sponsored by EMPOWERment, broke ground in October. The apartments will house individuals who make at or below 30 percent the area's median income.
Jackie Jenks, the president and CEO of the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service, said she thinks this year, there was an increased consciousness around the need for affordable housing for community members who earn low incomes, no income or a fixed income.
“That has been a bigger focus for local government and the community in general, which is really heartening to see,” she said.
In 2023, the Town of Chapel Hill approved 380 units of affordable housing — which Sarah Viñas, the director of affordable housing and community connections for the Town, said was a major highlight of the year.
In June, Chapel Hill received a $5 million contribution from UNC Health to establish an affordable housing revolving loan fund, which will be used to create between 500 and 1,000 units of affordable housing.
“That's going to be huge to that we can be more nimble and jump on naturally occurring affordable housing and keep it affordable,” Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said. “We didn't have a way to do that before.”