Survey asks public to define “affordable” housing is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

The July 21 meeting will be the only City Council Meeting in July. The next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, August 4.
Wilmington City Hall. File photo.

As part of efforts to figure out the best way to provide more affordable housing in the area, a survey has been put out for the public to say what “affordable” means to them.

The survey, which is available in both online and hardcopy formats, was put together by Dr. Kristen DeVall and Dr. Christina Lanier of the University of North Carolina – Wilmington’s sociology and criminology department in partnership with the Cape Fear Housing Coalition. Questions range from “When you hear the term ‘housing affordability,’ what comes to mind?” to “In your opinion, is concentrated poverty a problem in New Hanover County?”

According to CFHC, the survey’s goals are to gain an understanding of the community’s perceptions about affordable housing, bring awareness to the need for it in the area and use the input to help create solutions to what some civic and community leaders have called a “crisis” in New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington.

“Housing affordability has been identified as not only an economic issue for communities, but also a determinant of individuals’ quality of life,” CFHC stated in a release announcing the survey. “An important first step in identifying solutions to housing affordability is to gather information from community residents regarding their perceptions of this topic so that community leaders have a complete picture when making decisions and developing a course of action.”

The survey is one of several things to come as a direct result of the annual Mayor’s Roundtable on Affordability Housing, last held in the fall of 2015. A report was also presented before City Council last November, outlining the disproportionate amount of income residents are spending on rent.

Following that, council voted to create an ad-hoc committee on improving workforce/affordable housing, which is currently being put together as a joint partnership between the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County.

The survey will be open until Friday, April 15. It is available online here, and links to the survey are also accessible from computers at three local libraries. Paper versions of the survey have been placed in “key spots throughout the community to include input from traditionally marginalized populations,” according to the CFHC.

Funding for the survey was provided by a grant through UNCW’s Office of Community Engagement.