Fair Housing Workshop Aims to Teach Citizen Rights and Responsibilities

May 15, 2014

The FOCUS Committee for Southeastern North Carolina--and the planners behind the comprehensive plans for New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington--all point to the same prediction: The Cape Fear Region is set to experience an explosion of population growth over the next quarter-century. And, accommodating it will require major adjustments in terms of roads and other infrastructure, the labor market, and educational resources. Changes are also underway when it come to the ways in which citizens will find themselves a place to call home.

It’s becoming increasingly important for New Hanover County to be proactive about housing its many residents—especially because so many of them are itinerant renters. This is according to Olivia Dorsey, a volunteer with the Cape Fear Housing Coalition. She adds that citizens at large may have to alter their mindsets when it comes to the stigma that’s often associated with subsidized housing.

"Especially because we have so many elderly folks. We’re all on our way to getting older, so I think that as people retire and they’re on a fixed income, we’re gonna see a lot of that part of the population need assistance with housing. And then also for I think workforce housing—you know, teachers and firefighters—people who are working, but can’t afford—you know, a lot."

While more people may need housing assistance, Dorsey notes that Federal Housing and Urban Development money is drying up. She says that onus is being transferred to local governing bodies.

***New Hanover County has teamed up with the City of Wilmington and the Cape Fear Housing Coalition to offer a free workshop on Fair Housing. It takes place today at 230 Government Center Drive, from 10 a.m. to noon. An attorney from the Raleigh-based Fair Housing Project will present on topics including citizen rights under fair housing laws, access to affordable housing, and ways for victims of housing discrimination to get help.  To register, call the Cape Fear Housing Coalition: 910.442.6042.