DURHAM, N.C. — As the housing crisis continues in the Triangle, cities are trying to find unique solutions to the problem.

What You Need To Know

  • April is Fair Housing Month in Durham

  • Durham Mayor Elaine O'Neal proposed that the city buy homes that can become affordable housing

  • City Council has not announced next steps, but local nonprofits support the idea

In her state of the city address, Durham Mayor Elaine O'Neal shared a plan for the city to purchase homes and sell them at affordable prices to help with the housing crisis.

"I am asking my fellow council colleagues to be bold and let us consider purchasing property that can become affordable housing for teachers, police officers, our firefighters, city employees and others across the city," O'Neal said. "If private contractors can buy properties, why can't the city of Durham do the same and provide affordable housing to its residents?"

The City Council is still working out a plan on that. We reached out for more information and have not heard back. But area nonprofits welcome the idea.

Durham native Shantel Haskins is the founder of the nonprofit Mend My Broken Pieces 2nd Chance Housing. She helps secure resources for people who are struggling to find a home.

Haskins founded the organization after she had to move back home to Durham from Raleigh during the pandemic because of finances.

"It's important to impact change in the community that you're from, that you live in, that you're a part of," Haskins said.

The nonprofit gives back to local shelters and does community outreach events. Haskins' long-term goal is to gain more funding so she can create some kind of village to provide affordable housing to people in need.

"Affordable housing is a basic human right," Haskins said. "A wise woman once said that, and I believe that. And it affects everyone." 

Haskins has since been able to move back to Raleigh. Her lease is up in August, but like many she is facing rising costs of living.

"My rent will increase 17%, and that is pretty significant. I only had a few months notice, so I have to figure some things out," Haskins said.