Hundreds Call on Cary Town Council Candidates to Address Displacement, Need for Affordable Housing
600 members of ONE Wake institutions and neighborhoods across Cary turned out for a strictly non-partisan assembly with 5 of 9 candidates for Cary Town Council. Together they called on candidates to work with them to address the pending displacement of Chatham Estates mobile home park residents, and small business owners at the adjacent Chatham Square shopping center. ONE Wake leaders also asked candidates whether they would support a number of community-led solutions to support the construction of new affordable housing in town.
All candidates present said YES! and committed to support each community-led solution presented to them during the assembly. Candidate responses to questions are available to view here.
This assembly was the culmination of months of listening this spring that engaged hundreds of Cary residents to identify the top problems in our Cary communities, and thorough research over the summer to turn these problems into tangible, winnable issues.
At the heart of the action on Monday was the moving testimony and strong leadership from residents of Chatham Estates and business owners at the Chatham Square shopping center, who delivered 130 members of their community to call on the candidates to work with them to ensure that all displaced households and businesses are fully compensated for their losses due to the pending redevelopment of the property. Roughly 700 adults and children call Chatham Estates home, and 50 small businesses owners have built their livelihoods in the adjacent Chatham Square shopping center.
The displacement of communities like Chatham Estates represents a worsening, town-wide trend: essential workers like teachers, nurses, construction workers, house cleaners, and retail workers increasingly cannot afford to live in Cary. Since 2010, the town has added roughly 20,000 jobs in these occupations. However, over the same period of time, the town has lost roughly 3,900 rental units affordable to workers in these occupations due to rising rents, and affordable homeownership is almost impossibly out of reach.
That's why ONE Wake leaders also presented three clear proposals during Monday night's assembly to support the construction of more affordable housing units in the future. These proposals included: 1) continuation of the Cary Affordable Housing fund at (at least) $9 million in the FY 24/25 budget; 2) including (at least) 15% affordable housing in any future redevelopment of Cary's Town campus; and 3) support for congregations and non-profits who want to use their own land for affordable housing development. You can see the full list of questions posed to candidates here.