NC Budget and Tax Center

Funding the NC Housing Trust Fund

This post is part of a series on the state budget featuring the voices of North Carolina experts on what our state needs to progress so that all North Carolinians have a fair shot to get ahead.

By Samuel Gunter, Director of Policy and Advocacy, NC Housing Coalition

More than 500,000 North Carolina households spend at least half of their income on housing,[i] and communities around the state have been taking notice (including Charlotte, Asheville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Durham). A family that spends most of their income on housing[ii] is unable to invest in other basic necessities like preventative health care or education, much less build resources for the future. While each community’s housing needs are unique, lack of affordable housing is a problem in all 100 North Carolina counties[iii] and calls for a statewide solution.

raise the barThe NC Housing Trust Fund was created by the General Assembly in 1987 and is administered by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. It is North Carolina’s most flexible resource for the state’s growing and complex affordable housing need. Funds leverage private funding to create a variety of housing solutions — homeownership, rental, supportive housing, new construction, rehabilitation, and emergency repairs. Examples include:

  • Senior communities;
  • Habitat for Humanity homes funded by second mortgages;
  • Urgent repairs of dangerous housing conditions; and
  • Domestic violence shelters.

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News

NBA commissioner reiterates criticism of HB2, makes clear All-Star game will be moved if law not repealed

HB2National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver reiterated his criticism of HB2 this morning on the nationally broadcast ESPN radio program “Mike and Mike.” While Silver — who went to college at Duke — declined to set a deadline by which the law must be repealed in order to avoid cancellation of next year’s NBA All-Star game (which is scheduled to be played in Charlotte next February) — he also left little doubt that the game would, in fact, be moved to another state if HB2 is not repealed.

Silver said that it “would be problematic for us to move forward with our All-Star game if there is not a change in the law.” He also stated that the NBA has made it clear just “how problematic the law is that they passed in terms of its discriminatory nature” and that North Carolina leaders “know what’s at stake — at least in terms of the All-Star game.” Silver also stated that the NBA was standing by to let North Carolina lawmakers “do what they know they need to do” and that North Carolina “has always had a reputation as a progressive southern state” and that he believed “they’re going to do the right thing.”

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking here (the relevant section of the interview can be found at around the 1:07:00 mark of the podcast).

News

Three new plaintiffs, including transgender high school student, join the legal challenge to House Bill 2

2e1ax_simplistic_entry_IMG_8183The backlash against North Carolina’s highly controversial House Bill 2 continues.

The ACLU of N.C. announced Thursday morning that three new plaintiffs have been added to the legal challenge to the anti-LGBT law. The new plaintiffs include a transgender high school student and a married lesbian couple.

From the ACLU’s statement:

Hunter Schafer is a seventeen year-old young woman and high school junior at University of North Carolina School of the Arts High School in Winston-Salem. Hunter was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in the ninth grade. By her sophomore year she was using the girls’ restroom and feminine pronouns, and that year was elected to the Queens Court. This year, because of her talent as a visual artist, Hunter attends UNCSA-HS where she stays in the girls’ dorms. Because of the passage of HB 2, Hunter could be forced to use the boys’ restroom, which would cause her serious anxiety and expose her to threats of harassment and violence.

“I just want to be able to concentrate on school, grow as an artist, and have fun while doing that,” Hunter said. “I’m not a man. I have always felt more comfortable in the girls’ dorm at school and the girls’ restroom and using them has never been a problem. It’s humiliating and scary that there’s now a law that would force me to go to a boys’ bathroom when I clearly don’t belong there.”

Beverly Newell, 45, a realtor, and Kelly Trent, 39, a registered nurse, are a married lesbian couple who live in Charlotte.  As alleged in the amended complaint, Beverly and Kelly recently experienced discrimination first-hand, when a fertility clinic where they had scheduled an appointment called the couple to cancel the appointment saying that they do not serve same-sex couples.

“It’s unnerving to know that we could be turned away by any business for being a same-sex couple and have no recourse because of HB 2,” Beverly said. “HB2 has encouraged this type of conduct and we no longer have the ability to file discrimination complaints when this type of thing happens in our home city of Charlotte.  The bill has made it OK to harm LGBT people. The state of North Carolina is better than this.”

“High school students like Hunter should be able to go to school to learn and thrive. She should have the same privacy and respect that every student in North Carolina has and she shouldn’t be treated differently simply because she’s transgender,” said Tara Borelli, Senior Attorney with Lambda Legal. “HB 2 is an attack on some of the most vulnerable members of our community, transgender young people. A law like this has devastating effects on transgender students who already feel vulnerable and alone.”

“Beverly and Kelly deserve to feel secure in knowing that when they go about their daily lives in Charlotte and interact with businesses open to the public, any discrimination they encounter is illegal. HB 2 robs them of that,” said Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “This law gives people the green light to discriminate against LGBT people and sends a daily message that LGBT people across the state are not worthy of dignity and respect.”

The other plaintiffs in this case are: Joaquín Carcaño, 27, a UNC-Chapel Hill employee from Carrboro; Payton McGarry, 20, a UNC-Greensboro student who was born and raised in Wilson; and Angela Gilmore, 52, a North Carolina Central University law professor. The ACLU of North Carolina is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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Commentary

Editorial: Berger, McCrory should rise above irrational fears and learn

There is another fine editorial in this morning’s Greensboro News & Record on House Bill 2 and the recent Fourth Circuit decision striking down Virginia’s discrimination against a transgender high school student. Its central message: HB 2 proponents need to stop, listen and learn. here’s the excellent conclusion:

“Unfortunately, instead of inviting dialogue, McCrory signed HB 2 only 12 hours after it was introduced. The lack of discussion was almost as frustrating as the impact of the ill-considered legislation.

In its opinion, the court noted public comments at a school board hearing in Gloucester County, Va., calling Grimm a ‘freak’ and a ‘dog.’ In North Carolina, transgender people have been equated to predatory men who want to disguise themselves as female so they can prey on girls in women’s bathrooms.

‘House Bill 2 was our effort to stop this insanity, and I hope this proves the bathroom safety bill has nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with protecting women’s privacy and keeping men out of girls’ bathrooms,’ N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger said Tuesday.

What Berger calls ‘insanity’ modern medicine calls complexity. A group of 20 pediatricians with specialty training in endocrinology wrote to McCrory: ‘As professional experts in the field of chromosomes and genital anatomy, we provide professional consultation to our colleagues on babies in whom assigning sex may not be possible at the time of birth.’ They concluded: ‘Our patients already face major medical and social challenges and HB2 creates unnecessary hardship for these vulnerable youth. We respectfully ask you to repeal this hurtful bill.’

Grimm, the Virginia high school student, was diagnosed with gender dysphoria. People like him warrant compassionate treatment, not ridicule or worse. Hasty, uninformed lawmaking isn’t an appropriate response.

It’s natural that people react emotionally to what they don’t understand. In the end, public acceptance may be led by businesses like retail giant Target, which announced this week it will allow customers to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. This probably is what they always have done, without anyone noticing.

The new court ruling should encourage a more reasoned discussion with consideration of medical information, not a knee-jerk political reaction.”

News

Chance for HB2’s repeal in the short session? Senate President says don’t count on it (video)

Senate President Phil Berger fielded media questions Wednesday about the upcoming short session, and made it abundantly clear that his chamber does not support repealing House Bill 2.

Berger told reporters this week’s ruling in the 4th Circuit was not the last word on the issue, and that he was not dwelling on recent statements by corporations or entertainers opposing the law passed on March 23rd.

“Let me be clear, my job is not to give in to the demands of multimillionaire celebrities pushing a pet social agenda, liberal newspapers like The New York Times, big corporations who have every freedom to set whatever policies they wish under this law,” said Berger. “My job is to listen to the people who elected us to represent them.”

Click below to hear more from Sen. Berger.

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