CHT Homeowners Speak Out

Published On: May 3rd, 2023|Categories: Homeowner Stories|

This past Wednesday, April 26, three Community Home Trust homeowners took advantage of the opportunity to thank Chapel Hill Town Council for their support of affordable housing during the public comment portion of the Council’s regular meeting.

At every Council meeting, before starting in on the planned agenda, Council members welcome comments from any community members that want to share their thoughts on something not on the agenda. Each community member has up to three minutes to talk directly with their representatives about whatever is on their minds. We have heard from Council members directly how significant it is when community members share during this time, and it’s an especially good time to thank Council for their work and commitment to housing for everyone in Town.

At last week’s meeting, Eric Bredesen, P.J. Miller, and Tina Nicholson each spoke for three minutes about being part of the community in Chapel Hill and what it means to them to be able to own their own homes in town. There’s no way a short blogpost can do their comments justice! So the best way to hear what they had to say is to check out the video recording (start at the 11:30 mark): watch here.

Eric: “Ten years after I first had a reality experience with the homeowner purchase program, I was working as a pet sitter, and I made it into a house on $31,000 income. I couldn’t believe that I had an opportunity to actually buy a little house in Meadowmont in Chapel Hill! It changes you when you own a property. It’s nice that being a person that serves other people, I can live here with them and not have to commute a long way.”

P.J.: “I love it here. When the pandemic came and all the prices went crazy, I really at that point thought there’s no way I’m ever going to be able to own a home. [Now] I have a pride in my community…I actually feel like I’m part of this community. There’s so many other people like myself that work in this community…that do regular jobs like everyday people, and they can’t afford to live here. But with these types of programs, they could, and they could actually be part of the community, not just work in the community.”

Tina: “We love this community, Chapel Hill, but with our income situation, there was no way we could ever afford to own our own home in this very pricey market.”

All three talked about how they just assumed, based on their incomes and the price of housing in Chapel Hill, that they’d be renters forever and never have the opportunity to own a home. And all three shared how meaningful it is that they are actually able to own their homes.

Kimberly Sanchez, CHT’s Executive Director, explained the impact of these three homeowners’ statements: “Our local governments – Chapel Hill Town Council, Carrboro Town Council, Orange County Board of Commissioners, and others – are frequently called upon to make decisions that affect the availability of affordable homes in our communities. And they work hard and listen closely to their constituents to make what they determine to be the best decisions they can. Unfortunately, the number of constituents they hear from directly is often very small, and it’s not uncommon for a very vocal minority of folks who oppose the development of affordable housing to be the ones they hear from most. It’s so impactful when affordability advocates like our homeowners step up to share their stories and make their voices heard, too.

As someone who cares about affordable housing in our community, whether you’re a CHT resident or just a concerned community member, you can help start changing that balance with just a three-minute investment of time. Just three minutes sharing your story and your thoughts with your representatives – like Eric, P.J. and Tina did last week – makes a world of difference in helping our Council members know what their constituents want and how grateful the community is for their hard work.

And we’re happy to help! If you’re ready to share your thoughts, we’ll meet you at the Council meeting to help you figure out where to go and how to get signed up to speak. Need help deciding what to say? Here are some suggestions for questions you might try to answer in your three minutes:

  • Who are you? Where do you live? What do you like about your community?
  • How long have you lived here, and why did you choose to live here?
  • How do you contribute to your community? (Through your work? As a volunteer? As a neighbor, a member of an HOA, a faith community, or another community group?)
  • Why does it mean so much to you that there are affordable housing opportunities in your community?
  • What are you grateful for in the work of your representatives that makes those opportunities possible? What do you hope your representatives will do to make it possible for more people like you to live here?

If you’re ready to share, reach out to our Marketing and Communications Manager Daniele Berman via email at, phone or text at 919.967.3231, or on any of our social media channels. She’ll get you connected with the next opportunity to speak at a Council meeting and make sure we have a CHT staff member there to meet you and walk you through the process!

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