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Chasing the dream

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Affordable housing critical for North Carolina’s health.

By Beverly Perdue

[Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from a speech May 5, 2004, by North Carolina Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue to the North Carolina Housing Coalition.]

Home ownership is the quest of the American dream, and every North Carolinian deserves to make that housing dream come true.

There are two North Carolinas – one for those who make a lot of money, the other for those who have lost jobs or simply are just making enough to get by, but not enough to make it, not enough to be comfortable.

Many are scared. And many are worried about holding on to their own home.

All of us want a home at the end of the day to have a place that’s ours to come home to, an affordable, comfortable home. Not a lease, not a rental, but someplace that’s your own.

Jobs, bettering our education system and health care all are critical issues.

But what it’s all about for so many is where you hang your hat at the end of the day.

Even though some displaced manufacturing workers have found jobs, they often don’t pay as much as the ones they lost.

With the personal income level growing by only 1.6 percent last year, a growing number of residents are having trouble finding affordable housing, or housing that costs no more than 30 percent of their income.

Some are having trouble even in renting. It’s increasingly expensive.

Forty-one percent of renters can’t afford a two-bedroom at fair-market rent. And low-and moderate-income households have a major housing problem.

But inadequate housing can create much more serious problems — health problems, and behavioral problems for youth and adults.

There’s no quick fix. We’ve got lots of work ahead, and the short legislative session is upon us.

I urge you to take the time and contact each and every one of your representatives and talk about housing, talk about your agenda.

Poor housing is a breeding ground for stress and illness.

Affordable housing can change that. Quality housing is all about a better quality of life for all North Carolinians.

The important goals of workforce stability, our children’s education and good health all start in the home.

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