Providing a safe, stable home

By Desiree Allison-Towson

A housing development will help students at a North Carolina college and the broader community

Durham Technical Community College announced plans earlier this month for a 124-unit affordable housing development near its Main Campus. The development is intended to serve both eligible students at Durham Tech and members of the broader Durham community.

During a news conference event in the Phail Wynn Jr. Student Services Center, Durham Tech President J.B. Buxton called the housing initiative “transformative” for Durham Tech students and Durham residents who need affordable housing options in the region.

The need is real for Durham Tech students. A 2019 survey of more than 700 Durham Tech students conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University found that more than 50% had experienced some form of housing insecurity the year prior, and nearly 20% reported being homeless for at least some portion of that timeframe.

That need is also felt by community residents. Durham needs more than 16,000 affordable housing units to meet the needs of those households currently paying more than 50% of their income for housing. In 2019, Durham successfully passed a $95 million affordable housing bond to address these needs. With housing costs continuing to rise in Durham and the majority of low-income households in the city living in privately owned, non-income restricted units, city leaders are working to create affordable housing options immediately.

In 2020, the Durham Tech Foundation established Durham Tech Properties LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary, to help lead the project. Durham Tech Properties is partnering with Mosaic Development Group and Banc of America Community Development Company, which were selected through a competitive RFP process to develop the site.

Durham Tech will host a series of community engagement meetings to gather feedback on the project in the coming months.

“Affordable housing is a top priority in Durham. With housing costs continuing to rise and impact affordability, it is important that community institutions step up to be part of the solution,” said long-time community leader and Durham Tech Board member, Rev. Michael Page. “I’m proud to be here today and support Durham Tech’s efforts to make this a reality for students and residents of our community.”

“This affordable housing initiative delivers on Durham Tech’s commitment to be part of this community’s solution to address housing insecurity and homelessness,” Buxton said. “We believe this project will be transformative for our students and for members of our broader community who need affordable housing.”

Shima Earls, a Durham Tech student, said, “I am a mother of four and have been housing insecure as a student at Durham Tech. This initiative will have a huge impact on students like me and on community members who need a safe, stable place to live and raise our families.”

Desiree Allison-Towson

is the coordinator for Marketing and Media Relations at Durham Technical Community College in Durham, North Carolina.