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'We're having an affordable housing crisis' | Communities struggling to find places to live

Housing experts in both Greensboro and Winston-Salem agree that more needs to be done to address the lack of affordable housing in the Triad.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — From beef at the butcher's shop to gas at the pump, everything has been going up in price.

On top of it all, people are struggling to find affordable housing in the Triad.

"Like every community, we're having an affordable housing crisis," Michelle Kennedy, director of neighborhood development for the City of Greensboro, said.

According to rentcafe.com, Greensboro and Winston-Salem have seen rising rent prices since November 2020.

The price of homes in both cities is no different. According to redfin.com, home prices in Greensboro were up 13.1% in December 2021 compared to 2020. In Winston-Salem, home prices were up 14.4%.

Kennedy and Andrea Kurtz with United Way of Forsyth County agree that there are multiple factors that create an issue of affordable housing.

First, both said wages don't match the cost of living.

They also said there's a need for more stock like houses, apartments and town homes.

They also agreed, the more affordable homes may not have the best quality.

However, they both said it comes down to the narrative behind affordable housing that isn't helping. There's often a stereotype of the people who need this housing.

"These are folks that we rely on for our communities to operate and thrive and without them so many things don't get done, and without housing they are not going to be able to be here," Kennedy said,

Kennedy said through the emergency rental assistance program in Greensboro, they know more than 2,700 people used the emergency rental assistance over the last year.

She emphasized these people aren't always the people you think they are. She said the people who need affordable housing are often teachers, daycare workers and first responders.

Kurtz who is the senior director of housing strategies for United Way in Forsyth County said it's the same there.

"If we don't build a community where people have the right to housing then we have to accept that people will be living on our streets, and I believe everybody has a right to have a roof over their head," Kurtz said.

Kurtz said many of the employers they have relationships with said they're seeing a problem of these workers not being able to afford housing in Forsyth County so they're moving and finding jobs elsewhere. 

Both cities are working to find solutions and have plans currently implemented to tackle the shortages.

In Greensboro, Kennedy said they're in the process of establishing the first permanent supportive housing development for people experiencing homelessness.

Kurtz said in Forsyth County, they're working with affordable housing developers, and there's now an affordable housing coalition in Winston-Salem that is looking at strategies to help.

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