My Statement at the 11/11/2021 ONE Wake Affordable Housing Candidate Assembly

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I was a nervous wreck speaking to a group of 353 Cary citizens and stakeholders this evening, but the event left me inspired to keep moving forward. If you were not able to attend the event, below is my statement in its entirety;

Question 1: If elected, will you follow the recommendation of the Cary Housing Plan to dedicate Town funding to support the development and preservation of affordable housing in Cary?

Context: The Cary Housing Plan recommends the creation of a housing fund to provide gap financing for the development of new affordable housing in Cary. Similar housing funds have been created in Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and Apex through the passage of a Penny for Housing initiative.

Why or why not? Please elaborate on how you think the Town could invest in a housing fund.

Thank you so much to ONE Wake for the hard work you are doing and to all of the people who so graciously gave their time to talk to me and educate me.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this forum, and if I am to represent all of Cary, citizens need to hear where I stand.

If elected, I would wholeheartedly follow the recommendation of the Cary Housing Plan to dedicate Town funding to support the development and preservation of affordable housing in Cary.

I would be proud to be a part of the leadership that establishes an expanded Housing Fund in Cary.

To me, funding this comprehensive plan is a question about how to address housing security for Cary residents.

I come from a loving family of modest means, and for many years, my family was among those we would consider housing-cost burdened.  That lived experience and my experiences working with local organizations providing low to moderate-income housing have taught me quite a lot. I see this affordable housing challenge as an opportunity to tackle several challenges in tandem that Cary residents are passionate about, and I think there are 3 primary funding responsibilities for the Cary Staff and Council in their response. 

First – we must acknowledge that this is a crisis.  The experiences of housing-cost burdened people is a Nationwide problem; it is a State Problem, a County Problem, and a Municipal Problem.  Therefore, cooperation is key, with partnerships at every level. And this crisis must be addressed transparently, out in the open, and with a great deal of collaboration.

Second – We must be agile and urgent in our plans for affordable housing solutions. Part of being agile is understanding we must work quickly and be willing to revisit existing priorities.  I understand that there are typically years of fiduciary review and planning before making significant investments with taxpayer money, which is critical.  But we must treat the accelerating deficit of affordable housing for what it is – a crisis.  Our approach at the municipal level must be creative, and it must be agile “outside the box” thinking.

Third – We must be adaptive to the current confluence of problems, and I believe in a multi-prong approach.  I think we can take a more comprehensive approach to address housing affordability. Other priorities we need to address may seem conflicting as they also require immediate and focused solutions, such as environmental concerns and transportation and transit shortcomings. Environmentally sound building practices with renewable energy AND transportation infrastructure must be coupled with our affordable housing efforts.  Comprehensive plans that include this three-pronged approach will be critical to long-term success and making the most of the financial investment. Development and rehabilitation efforts must be green, efficient, and economical to see the best ROI.

I want to continue this discussion, and I want to know more about what the fine folks in Cary think. Please take my Cary Citizen Survey so I can make informed decisions.  Or reach out to me at . I am all ears. 

And on Question 2: Will you commit to attend a listening session with Cary residents who are directly impacted by housing pressures before the start of early voting next year? Absolutely!

Published by carissajohnson

Supermom, Wingwoman, Entrepreneur, Collector of Useless Facts and Minutae, Champion Rock Skipper, Butcher, Baker and Candlestick Maker.