‘There’s No Place Like Home’ meeting focuses on housing policies

Published 12:06 am Friday, April 28, 2023

SALISBURY — In order to hear from members of the community and to spread awareness that April is Fair Housing Month,  Salisbury officials held an afternoon meeting on Thursday with the topic “There’s No Place Like Home” to go over housing education and to field recommendations on what should be done from a policy perspective.

The meeting was a citywide collaboration between staff on the Salisbury Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Human Relations and Community Planning Services departments to hear from people and to seek to find solutions from educators, real estate agents, social workers, and representatives from organizations such as Rowan Helping Ministries, Family Crisis Council, city council and law enforcement.

City staff had the crowd answer housing-related questions, go over statistics, hear strategies that Salisbury is undertaking and to see what the state is trying as well. People were asked to write down what they think is the most pressing housing problems that can be added to the city’s 10-year housing strategy.

“We wanted to use their suggestions for what we need to bubble up to the top. I know rent is a real issue, actual inventory is a real issue…The county did their new revaluation of everyone’s housing values and that was kind of an issue because a lot of people’s went way up and they’re kind of scared about taxes,” Community Planning Services Senior Administration Specialist Jenni Pfaff said.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director Anne Little said since she and the other department leaders pulled their resources together that they have made progress in creating the best ways to tackle housing with their “housing strategy umbrella.” This includes fair housing, housing inventory, housing quality and affordable housing.

“So that we’re not getting into a deep dive on, ‘Well, that’s fair housing,’ and ‘That’s affordable housing.’ It’s housing. How do we then come together as partners, city staff, to reach, to serve, to hear?” Little said. “Now it’s incumbent upon us to take that information and to try to parlay into action and into outcomes that support this community.”

Jessica Cloward works in real estate and is on the Housing Advocacy Commission, but that’s not why housing is so important to her. Her younger brothers can’t afford their own place and she’s eager to pitch in using her professional background. Cloward is optimistic about what the meeting detailed and she has faith in accomplishing the objectives.

“It gives me hope that there’s a goal in mind and we’re all together in unity. I love the fact that we were able to see so many different people from the community come together with the same heart and same goals to help people get housing,” Cloward said.