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. But even small projects on the city and county level would put a small dent in the problem.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the former Budget Inn at Academy and Peters Creek or the old Royal Inn on Broad Street were being used to house the unhoused? Working-class folks, with nowhere else to go, are paying huge sums of money to stay in motels. (See Triad City Beat and the W-S Journal).
Both of those former hotels are on a slow road to redevelopment. Piedmont U owns the Royal Inn, and a spinoff of Green Street Methodist owns the now-vacant property where the Budget Inn on Peters Creek stood for decades.
The long-forgotten tiny house community on Watkins Street is parking for Billy Prim‘s ballpark for well over a decade. I stumbled upon this image from Google Streetview by accident several months ago. It’s unbelievable that in the 1990s Winston-Salem had a tiny house community, yet in 2020 we don’t have any tiny house communities in our sprawling city.
Now, perhaps the last of the tiny homes named after hellraising housing advocate Kay Vives is over on West Fourth Street, a pocket neighborhood owned entirely by the Crawford Family. The Crawford family owns everything on West Fourth from Apple Street to Peters Creek, under the name, Three Properties, LLC. “The 24 houses on the street are subdivided into three or four units each, and a cinderblock apartment building lists 12 units on the tax rolls,” Jordan Green wrote in 2016. One of Kay Vives’ former cottages residing in the Crawford Quarter is a sad sign of the times in Winston-Salem.
The Crawford family has tried and failed to have their property rezoned to accommodate redevelopment in recent years. No doubt they will try again soon. On the federal, state, and local levels, it’s vital that we prioritize the construction of public and affordable housing options-because the market doesn’t care about affordable housing.
Kay Vives Cottages, Google Streetview (July 2007). Sometimes Google Remembers What We Forget.KayVives1111