GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — There are more than 4,000 families in need of affordable housing currently in Greensboro, according to Neighborhood Development Director Michelle Kennedy. The number of families in need is expected to grow to more than 11,000 by 2030.
“The last thing we want to do is see more people fall into needing homeless services,” Kennedy said.
She is preparing for a rush of calls in anticipation of a summer spike. Families lose access to school social workers and counselors after students finish classes.
“When schools are in session, there are typically more resources available to families of school-aged children than there are during summer months,” she said. “A lot of times, families fall through the cracks in the months when those resources aren’t available to them.”
The housing crisis has forced people who have lived in the same place for decades to leave because of rent hikes.
“The issues around wages versus rental costs is significant, and that has put us in a position where we’re going to have some affordability issues for some time to come,” she said.
Kennedy has seen more developments drop out of the Section 8 housing programs as well.
Affordable housing is not just for people without jobs. First responders, teachers and city workers also qualify.
“The people that are going to get caught up in this are largely people that are responsible for our infrastructure as a community,” Kennedy said.
In the last two years, 500 new affordable housing units were built and nearly 560 are under construction around the city.
In the meantime, Kennedy is considering other ideas to get a roof over people’s heads including short-term rentals, 3-D printing buildings, fixing up old properties and installing shipping container houses.
“Displacement is very real,” she said. “My worry is that we are going to leave many, many members of our community without safe, decent, affordable housing.”
Kennedy told FOX8 the city is looking into converting more existing spaces, like what happened at the old Regency Inn Motel on North O’Henry Boulevard, for people to stay in during an emergency.