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Durham Housing Authority moves to mixed-income housing model; experts say children will benefit most

EJP Consulting Group partners with housing authorities to build communities of opportunity that equip residents with services and tools for increased success. EJP provides technical assistance support to DHA for the implementation of the Liberty Street apartments development as well as master planning services for McDougald Terrace apartments in Durham.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- All Crystal Love McCrea wants for her two daughters is the best. She's lived in McDougald Terrace for four years and could be there long enough to see the proposed redevelopment plans move forward, which would move her and the girls into a mixed-income housing community.

"It can't stay like this forever. They are my hearts," said McCrae. "Let's elevate our children and put them on a different platform."

On Friday morning, the Durham Housing Authority and Bull City leaders gathered to break ground on the Elizabeth Street Apartments, which will be a 72-unit mixed income housing community. DHA told ABC11 that this is the model it is moving to. They said they believe it will change the face of public housing.

"That's really what we're focused on, building communities," said Anthony Scott, CEO of the Durham Housing Authority. "Every single community we're building is going to be a mix of affordable and market rate in a way that allows us to have less reliance on the unreliable HUD dollars we've collected these days."

Experts said they believe there is one particular group who could benefit the most.

"The greatest beneficiary of mixed-income community are children," said Roberto Quercia, UNC Chapel Hill professor of City and Regional Planning. "The idea is the opportunities for these families to succeed will be increased by living in mixed-income communities as opposed to just living in low-income neighborhoods."

According to Quercia, children growing up in mixed-income communities have access to better schools, neighbors of diverse backgrounds and sometimes better socioeconomic status.

McCrae couldn't agree more, but she says people have to want better for themselves.

"It will be successful, but it's up to the individual to make their success," she said. " My children will not be a statistic. Not by far."

By Akilah Davis


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