Durham, North Carolina – Durham leaders celebrated a milestone today: the completion of the city’s first affordable apartment complex in the city center.
Willard Street Apartments have become the new standard for affordable housing in the town of Bull, providing stable housing to over 100 residents – people who were once homeless, unemployed, or just never believed they could get by. allow a quality life.
There are 82 units within walking distance of public transit and jobs.
“I have security here. I can travel without having to worry about robbing Peter to pay Paul, ”said resident Akeem Ledbetter.
Ledbetter applied when he learned apartments made up a mix of 30% and 60% of the area’s media revenue. Now, as a resident, he says he can focus more on running his own business.
“It’s so many opportunities here and so much networking,” he said.
Another resident, William Taylor, said: “With the current state of the economy, it’s just a struggle for a lot of people. “
Every square inch of the complex reflects the history of Durham.
Taylor was shown the views from his apartment, where he feels a spark of hope and inspiration for what is to come.
“It’s a touching situation for us because it allows us to be more relaxed. It’s nice to live in an environment that allows you not only to be comfortable, but to be happy, ”he said.
This is exactly what dozens of city leaders gathered to celebrate.
“I think this represents the vision that we will have a racially diverse downtown economically,” said Steve Schewel, Mayor of Durham, who said affordable downtown housing could help fight gentrification .
The building’s plaza was dedicated in honor of the late Dr Phail Wynn, a leader in higher education at both Durham Tech and Duke University, who fought tirelessly to create more options housing like this.
“Phail understands that safe and affordable housing is a fundamental issue,” said Vincent Price, president of Duke University. “Everything from student success to health outcomes and its legacy is perpetuated.”
Residents are equally enthusiastic. One of them said, “This is what you want. What you can call your own. When I put the key in my door for the first two weeks, I got goose bumps. “
The Downtown Housing Improvement Corporation and Self-Help are two organizations behind the development of the site with the City of Durham. Capitol Broadcasting, WRAL’s parent company, was also a partner in this project.
Several other projects are underway, including a complex for the elderly.