DAY 9: Housing Affordability and Homelessness

“We have created a caste system in this country, with African Americans kept exploited and geographically separate by racially explicit government policies. Although most of these polices are now off the books, they have never been remedied and their effects endure.” –Richard Rothstein, author, Color of Law
Housing is foundational to everything we value in our community. Providing access to safe, stable and affordable housing is instrumental in building an equitable region for all. Unfortunately, access to housing opportunities has never been equal in this country.
Redlining, deed restrictions and racially restrictive covenants were among many of the legally sanctioned policies used to enforce racial segregation across the United States. Intimidation tactics such as cross burnings and vandalism of property were utilized to discourage African Americans with adequate financial means from integrating racially segregated communities.
Black homeowners are nearly five times more likely to own a home in a formerly redlined area, which results in diminished home equity and overall economic inequality for Black families. Housing discrimination and racial segregation still linger in many communities today. In 2016, 72% of white families owned their homes, compared to just 44% of Black families.
Homelessness disproportionately affects Black communities in North Carolina. In 2019, 9,314 people were counted homeless in North Carolina and Blacks accounted for 51% of the homeless population, despite only representing 22% of the state’s population.
The North Carolina Housing Coalition states that housing is affordable when it comprises no more than 30% of the family’s budget. Families that spend more than this on housing are cost-burdened.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Do one or more of the following…


Review the North Carolina Housing Coalition County Profile to see if housing is affordable  across the five-county service area for United Way of Central Carolinas in Anson, Cabarrus, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Union counties.
Read the Center for American Progress 2019 article to see how structural racism in the U.S. housing system has contributed to stark and persistent racial disparities in wealth and financial well-being, especially between Black and white households.


Listen to an NPR interview with Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, to learn how federal housing policies in the 1940s and 50s mandated segregation and undermined the ability of Black families to own homes and build wealth.


Talk with friends of different backgrounds than yours and learn about their experiences with housing.
Research local policies that maintain housing disparities and advocate for their removal.

United Way Takes Action:
United Way of Central Carolinas starts with the basics like food, shelter and safety to make sure people have what they need to establish a path toward stability and self-sufficiency. By investing in programs and initiatives that provide support during crises, we help people get back on their feet for good. We accomplish this with nonprofit partners across the Charlotte region, including The Bulb, Roof Above and Union County Crisis Assistance Ministry.
Donate to United Way of Central Carolinas to help advance the fight for housing equity.


Take part in this week's service activity: Sock Drive

Nonprofit agencies serving our homeless neighbors have a constant need for socks, as well as current needs for facemasks, hand sanitizer and hats/gloves. NEW items (no used items, please) will be provided to these local organizations active in serving homeless individuals in our region. Learn more and give back.



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