Patrick Watkins, IFC Community House leader and member of Justice United's Affordable Housing Team
It is clear that we need more housing, faster, especially for residents with extremely low incomes: those earning less than $22,000 / year.
There are currently zero units on the private market in Orange County affordable to residents with extremely low incomes. There are only 468 subsidized units available to residents with extremely low incomes, with only 46 new units planned for development in the next five years - far lower than what is needed. Our best estimate is that we need close to 5,000 new affordable units to fill the gap.
That’s why Justice United’s affordable housing team has worked closely with affordable housing service providers and the Chamber of Commerce to develop a new strategy called Master Leasing to get residents into safe, decent, affordable housing more quickly.
Think of Master Leasing as subletting with a social mission. Rather than buy or build units, we would lease them. A non-profit organization would master lease rental units throughout the community at existing market rates and then sublease the units at affordable rates to qualified, pre-screened tenants.
Master leasing allows us to take advantage of the thousands of existing units on the private market as a mid-term strategy to house extremely low income residents while new, permanently affordable units are constructed.
In order to make this a reality, we will need to do three things well: partner with private sector property owners who are willing to participate in the program; find a non-profit partner to administer the program; and of course, find funding.
We are making progress on the last two points - and we have scored a big victory on the first. We are excited to partner with Clay Grubb, CEO of Grubb Properties, who has committed up to 10 units to the program - a big step forward for Master Leasing in Chapel Hill.
547 members of Justice United institutions and the communities that surround them participated in listening sessions over the summer of 2017, surfacing ten broad categories of concerns.
On September 10, 88 JU leaders voted to prioritize three of the ten concerns: affordable housing, immigration, and jobs. Three teams of leaders were formed to develop these concerns into concrete, winnable issues. Additionally, JU has formed a money team to increase individual donations in 2018.
On February 1, over 85 JU leaders gathered and voted to approve initial proposals for action made by each Team.
51 Justice United leaders heard reports from the Housing, Immigration, and Jobs Action Teams at the the recent Countywide Leaders Meeting on November 9. See below for brief summaries.
Teams will bring specific proposals for action to the next Justice United leaders meeting on February 1, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, at Hillsborough Presbyterian Church (102 W Tyron St).
Justice United has a new agenda! Over 80 leaders met at Lattisville Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Hurdle Mills on Sunday to prioritize top community concerns for action.
Leaders voted to focus on broad categories of concerns related to Housing, Jobs, and Immigration that were surfaced by the listening campaign this summer. Leaders formed three new research action teams and committed to develop specific issue campaign proposals within 60 days.
Teams are open for any interested individual who belongs to a Justice United member institution, or institution discerning membership. See the initial Team meeting dates here.
Attend the next Countywide Leaders Meeting to evaluate issue campaign proposals on Thursday, November 9, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, in Hillsborough (location TBD). Save the date!
Leaders affirmed Lattisville Grove Pastor George Crews III’s vision of a truly broad based organization: one capable of making change not only in Southern Orange, but in the often neglected North; a multi-racial organization where the interests of African American leaders would not be lost (especially Northern Orange leaders); where leaders of all races could learn how to build reciprocal, relational power, and make change on issues rooted in historic injustice.
The potential of this vision was on display Sunday. The diverse audience represented the broad base that was engaged by Justice United’s listening campaign this summer. At least 30% of attendees came from Hillsborough and Northern Orange Institutions. They were joined by faith and secular leaders from Chapel Hill / Carrboro, which included a strong contingent of IFC shelter residents and returning citizens.
Justice United is on the move. Join an action team and get involved. There’s work to be done!
It's amazing what we've accomplished together in the last 100 days of 2016! Record levels of support from our dues paying member institutions drove major campaign victories and allowed Justice United to develop a new cohort of leaders who are ready to organize power and win on the top issues in their communities.
Join us at our first Countywide Leaders Meeting on Thursday, January 26 (7:00 pm, United Church of Chapel Hill) to pick up a copy of our 2016 annual report. In the meantime below is a list of our accomplishments from fourth quarter 2016.