The first few months of my fellowship have been exciting and fulfilling. I am serving the Town of Apex and make up the Town’s first affordable housing staff. The Town adopted its first Affordable Housing Plan in February of 2021, and in my role, I work to execute the primary objectives of the plan. Having lived in Durham, North Carolina my entire life, I have been only a few miles away from Apex and have had the privilege of witnessing the area change and grow. With this change and growth, it has become apparent to me that affordable housing is a vital need for the community. It has been gratifying to be at the forefront of creating change through investing in the Town’s present and future. Some of the projects I am working on include:
Housing Rehabilitation Program – In a partnership with the nonprofit Rebuilding Together of the Triangle, this program assists low-income homeowners with needed repairs that will keep their homes safe, sanitary, fix structural conditions, improve accessibility for persons with disabilities, and help residents age in place. Residents who qualify will receive a grant up to $15,000 for any repairs that are needed. As part of this project, I worked with my team to create an accessible program application for community members, strengthen the partnership of the program, and build awareness of the program in the local area.
Habitat for Humanity Homes – Habitat for Humanity of Wake County are building nine affordable single-family detached homes on Kissena Lane in Apex. Habitat Wake is a homeownership program that serves first time homebuyers from a wide range of incomes to make homeownership a reality. With these homes being currently built, I have sought to strengthen the partnership and create awareness of the program for community members so that when the homes are completed, citizens in need can easily access affordable housing.
Utility Assistance Program – This program assists utility customers who have been unable to pay their balance in full, due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents in town limits may receive up to $636 in assistance, or the total outstanding balance, whichever is less. I have informed applicants on how to apply for the program through Western Wake Crisis Ministry and promote the program to the greater community.
Seeing the positive impacts of these projects is remarkable. The conversations I have had with community members has reiterated the importance of this work. With more housing projects and programs on the way, I am excited to see the positive change that these endeavors will have on residents of Apex.