Lots in Hayti Community Slated to Become Permanently Affordable
DURHAM, North Carolina, APRIL 22, 2021 -- Durham City Council has a chance to create permanently affordable housing in the Hayti community during the upcoming city council meetings, if they vote to approve the donation of two plots of city land on Grant St. to Durham Community Land trust (DCLT). If the city council approves this agenda item on April 22 and May 3, DCLT plans to build affordable homes on those lots and rent/sell them to low-income, long-term community members, and to ensure that those homes remain affordable for community members in perpetuity. Many Durham Congregations Neighborhoods and Associations (CAN) members have written to city council in support of this agenda item, including people in the Grant St. neighborhood who sparked the movement for the land sale and whose families have lived in Hayti for generations.
These community members experienced the racist Urban Renewal policies in 1970, specifically the building of the Durham Freeway, that irrevocably harmed the prosperous Black Hayti community. Thousands of Hayti families were displaced from their homes, and although the city promised to build new houses, that promise was never fulfilled. By approving DCLT’s plan to create affordable home-ownership opportunities in Hayti, the city can take a small step toward justice.
Durham Congregations Neighborhoods and Associations (CAN) has brought a range of affordable housing issues to the attention of city council, and received a range of similarly unfulfilled promises in response. Requested repairs at the Hoover Road Durham Housing Authority Community, reimbursement of court fees connected to predatory evictions, and the redevelopment of the former Fayetteville Street Projects, are all incomplete. The upcoming City Council work session and meeting are an opportunity for the city to finally take action in the creation of affordable housing; Neglected land can be turned into thriving homes for Durham residents. With the support of people from the neighborhood, the community-driven approach taken in this project could become a process for all future affordable housing developments in Durham. Families who have lived in Durham and Hayti for generations deserve to be celebrated for all they have contributed to Durham’s History. The opportunity to stay in affordable homes is the least we can do.