Zooming In On Housing Issues In Winston-Salem, Forsyth County

Last week the Forsyth County Library’s panel discussion on affordable housing got me thinking about all the publicly available resources that document housing disparities in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. Often new reports attract a great deal of attention when they are released, but get forgotten as time goes by. So, for that reason, I’ve comprised a list of the important housing studies that have been released in recent years. Mayor and Winston-Salem Alliance president Allen Joines says that he’s working to bring more affordable housing to Winston. But his record tells a different story.

Wake Forest Is On The Move, Again!

Earlier this week, New Hanover County officially approved Novant Health’s $5.3 billion purchase of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. All that’s left is for the state attorney general to sign off on the “remarkable” merger-and, that appears to be a formality. Not to be outdone, Wake Forest Baptist Health announced its merger with Charlotte-based health care Goliath, Atrium Health, on Friday. Wake Forest Health and Atrium Health have been in talks since early 2019. Atrium wanted a medical school in its home market of Charlotte, and Wake Forest wanted a benefactor with deep pockets.

Smith Reynolds Airport Is Estranged From Northeast Winston

Tuesday, September 8, Donald Trump made a campaign stop at Smith Reynolds Airport. At the same time that the Trump hot-air show /Covid-19 party was taking place at Smith Reynolds, the Winston-Salem City Council debated and approved the Smith Reynolds Airport/Whitaker Park Strategic Area Plan. If ever there was a coincidence, that was it. The two events have nothing to do with each other. But, interestingly, while the racism inherent in Trump’s campaign rally is explicit for everyone to see, the structural racism that produced the Smith Reynolds Airport/Whitaker Park Strategic Area Plan requires some unpacking.

Introducing, Winston-Salem’s One Tile Campaign

Vivian Perez-Chandler, co-founder of Soy Emprendedor and Mayor and Winston-Salem Alliance President, Allen Joines hosted an online press conference, late Friday morning with members of the local press. The press conference was streamed live on YouTube. For 30 minutes, Joines and Perez-Chandler described their new, “Restart Winston-Salem, the One Tile Campaign.” Joines called it “an exciting new effort to help small businesses in our community.” According to the Mayor/W-S Alliance Prez, the One Tile Campaign was created by a “small group of minority women,” whose goal is to “restart Winston-Salem, one tile at a time.” Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough and local businessman Max Maxwell also spoke in support of the One Tile Campaign.

Mary’s Gourmet Diner Is DTWS’s First High Profile COVID-19 Business Casualty, It Won’t Be The Last

Mary’s Gourmet Diner will not be reopening. I read the sad news that a pillar of Downtown Winston-Salem’s restaurant scene is calling it quits in Wednesday’s paper. Mary Hagland’s many Facebook followers got the news earlier this week. Hagland told Michael Hastings, the Journal’s food writer that she:
 had concerns about employee safety, customer safety, and also about how life during the pandemic clashed with whole concept of Mary’s that she had cultivated for 20 years. “I can’t have a dining room full of people in surgical masks.

Winston’s Tiny Home Community Was Razed When BB&T Ballpark Was Constructed Over A Decade Ago

Affordable housing is hard to find even during normal times. It’s even harder to find during a pandemic. It’s a scandal that so many hotel rooms and apartment units are empty when they are sorely needed. It’s estimated that Winston-Salem/Forsyth County has a deficit of 16,000 affordable housing units. We need massive investments in public housing on the state and federal levels.

Last Week In Winston: Ten Articles That Mattered

Here’s a look back at the week’s best articles from local media outlets. It was another week under lockdown. But as April turned to May we know that COVID-19 restrictions on our daily life can’t last forever. Something like the normal that we used to take for granted is around the corner. COVID-19 has exposed systemic flaws in our society, “normal” business-friendly policies won’t be adequate to address depression-era unemployment rates and a looming eviction crisis.

The Housing Authority Of Winston-Salem’s Modest Coronavirus Prevention Measures Don’t Inspire Confidence

The Winston-Salem Journal just posted an update on the measures the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem is taking to safeguard Crystal Towers and its other public housing facilities from the spread of Coronavirus. Earlier this week, WFDD reported that HAWS had taken a few steps to address the threat of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 at Crystal Towers. Winstonwatchman.com reported earlier this month that the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (HAWS) wasn’t taking preventive measures to protect elderly and disabled residents at Crystal Towers. At HAWS’ last monthly meeting (shortly before such meetings were canceled), Executive Director, Kevin Cheshire appeared more concerned with the health and safety of his staff, than HAWS’ tenants. The deadly spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 throughout the country has shed light on just how weak our public institutions are.

East Lake Meadows: PBS Does Public Housing

“Public housing has always been both a financial proposition and a moral one. About finding not just need, somehow but measuring worth. How do we begin to sort out which of the many people who could be assisted, both need it, and somehow deserve it? It becomes a window into race relations, it’s a window into understanding the role of homeownership in society,  and it’s a way of understanding the level of compassion there is for those who do need some assistance.” 

-Lawrence Vale

“We are not mature enough as a society to look in the mirror and see how we manufactured American poverty, how we manufactured housing that was meant to seclude these poor people. And how we turned a blind eye to creating a middle-class while simultaneously excluding people from it.”

On Halting Evictions, “We Have Legal Obligations, At The Same Time We Have Moral Compasses”

Good things happen to those who demand them. Monday, Dan Rose and Phillip Carter of Housing Justice Now held a press conference calling for “an immediate halt to all eviction and foreclosure proceedings, and to ask city officials to contribute $500,000 for emergency relief during the pandemic.” They then took to social media to get the word out. HJN Winston-Salem also spoke directly to Sheriff Kimbrough and other stakeholders about halting local evictions already in the pipeline. Hopefully, the tireless efforts of Housing Justice Now will keep residents in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County from being evicted this week and lead to a statewide eviction moratorium.