Serving the Town of Apex has provided me invaluable experiences – the impacts of our program can be seen in the field, and I have had the privilege of seeing them firsthand. As a Housing and Community Programs Specialist, I work closely with the rest of the Town’s first affordable housing staff. Being the first staff to carry out this work has led to an array of projects, policies, and programs that the team has implemented within the past few months. It has also provided the opportunity to set the groundwork for affordable housing for the future. Housing affordability is one of my passions, as I have close family members who were housing and land developers and knew of people in need of housing. Likewise, as a native to the area, I have seen the rapid growth of the Triangle —which has presented unprecedented challenges for community members.
One of the most meaningful aspects of my work has been engaging with community members and the public. As a new staff member, awareness and community engagement has been one of my primary goals. Some of the highlights of this engagement work include executing community meetings and events, working with organizations and stakeholders, and spreading awareness of the fellowship program.
Community Meetings and Events:
The event pictured was a neighborhood meeting in the Justice Heights Neighborhood with Town of Apex staff and officials. The community gathered to discuss a street renaming, issues faced in the neighborhood, and affordable housing. For this meeting I prepared the event with poster boards of housing information, street name options, prepared email lists to share information and noted citizens’ concerns. I had several conversations with community members who shared that they needed repairs on their homes that they couldn’t afford, and they did not have the option to move. I shared information on the Housing Rehabilitation Program and later helped them fill out the program application. Now they have received repairs and others are in the process.
Working with Community Organizations:
Engaging with community organizations and nonprofits has been crucial in making significant progress with affordable housing. I presented at the Apex Sunrise Rotary Club on the housing programs, policies, and progress that has been made so far. It was great to meet with community stakeholders that support our efforts. Other organizations we are working with have included the Western Wake Crisis Ministry, Rebuilding Together of the Triangle, the Western Regional Affordable Housing Action Group, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, the Wake County and Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness and more.
LFNC Program Awareness:
I along with Cohort 3 fellows Mya, Richard, and Keegan presented at the North Carolina City and County Management Association Winter Seminar on February 3, 2022, in Winston Salem, NC. We presented on our work in our jurisdictions and provided information on the fellowship program. At the event I spoke with Town Managers and staff that reiterated the importance of tackling the issue of housing affordability and to work to ensure people don’t lose the basic right to decent and affordable housing in North Carolina.
It has been incredible to see the impact of these efforts. For a long time, I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to serving others and my community. My experiences in Apex have allowed me to continue this work. From working on new affordable housing policy and programs to helping a someone find their way around Town Hall, creating a positive difference in any way and at any level is important. Through public service, each day presents new challenges and opportunities to help your community. It is gratifying to know that you have made even one person’s life better, and I look forward to continuing this work.