In Winston-Salem, Crystal Towers’ residents plead for repairs to be made to apartment building – WXII12 Winston-Salem

Crystal Towers apartments, a 200-unit high-rise affordable housing building in downtown Winston-Salem, has been at the center of the affordable housing debate in the city for years. On Tuesday, Mayor Allen Joines met with residents and housing advocates who said the building is in need of major repairs.Kathy Holland moved into Crystal Towers seven years ago. She said she only expected to live in the unit for a year or so but has not been able to move into new affordable housing. She said the walls are deteriorating; There is rust and water coming through the ceilings; She said there are rats, cockroaches and bed bugs.Holland was one of a group of residents and advocates for affordable housing that met outside the apartments Tuesday morning, calling attention to the conditions but also calling on city leaders to bring more affordable units to the city. While conditions are deteriorating, some said they want to stay due to the location and the connection downtown housing has to other city resources and amenities including public transportation, the library and food.Its a both/and sort of thing: They dont just want to stay, they want repairs made, said Dan Rose, of Housing Justice Now. Rose said Housing Justice Now partnered with Crystal Towers United a resident group advocating for conditions to be improved inside Crystal Towers. Rose, an advocate for affordable housing and tenants' rights, said with the backlog of families waiting for subsidized housing, it would only add to the challenges if residents were moved out and onto that list.Right now its nearly impossible to find affordable housing, Rose said. You look on Craigslist, you look on Zillow, you look on apartments.com, everything is full. Folks here are on reduced income for rent. They are not going to be able to find it on the open market. Section 8 landlords are few and far between.Joines met with the group Tuesday morning, walking in shortly after a news conference was held outside the apartments. According to Joines, the Winston-Salem Housing Authority is studying the facility to figure out exactly what repairs need to be made and how much those repairs would cost.The last estimate was about $7 million, but, he said, that figure needs to be updated. What were trying to do is figure out the best way to leverage as many affordable units as possible, he said.Joines says COVID-19 relief funding could finance the repairs, but that the city is still studying the project and looking for additional opportunities to increase the among of low-income housing available. Were looking forward to seeing the results of the study and what Ive challenged the housing authority (to do) is show us where you would replace these units within the center city because we dont want to gentrify, move folks out of center city, Joines said.He said, in the next 10 years, the city is expected to need an additional 15,000 affordable housing units.While both Rose and Joines said the talks Tuesday went well, no firm plans were made, or timetables set.

Crystal Towers apartments, a 200-unit high-rise affordable housing building in downtown Winston-Salem, has been at the center of the affordable housing debate in the city for years. On Tuesday, Mayor Allen Joines met with residents and housing advocates who said the building is in need of major repairs.

Kathy Holland moved into Crystal Towers seven years ago. She said she only expected to live in the unit for a year or so but has not been able to move into new affordable housing. She said the walls are deteriorating; There is rust and water coming through the ceilings; She said there are rats, cockroaches and bed bugs.

Holland was one of a group of residents and advocates for affordable housing that met outside the apartments Tuesday morning, calling attention to the conditions but also calling on city leaders to bring more affordable units to the city. While conditions are deteriorating, some said they want to stay due to the location and the connection downtown housing has to other city resources and amenities including public transportation, the library and food.

Its a both/and sort of thing: They dont just want to stay, they want repairs made, said Dan Rose, of Housing Justice Now.

Rose said Housing Justice Now partnered with Crystal Towers United a resident group advocating for conditions to be improved inside Crystal Towers. Rose, an advocate for affordable housing and tenants' rights, said with the backlog of families waiting for subsidized housing, it would only add to the challenges if residents were moved out and onto that list.

Right now its nearly impossible to find affordable housing, Rose said. You look on Craigslist, you look on Zillow, you look on apartments.com, everything is full. Folks here are on reduced income for rent. They are not going to be able to find it on the open market. Section 8 landlords are few and far between.

Joines met with the group Tuesday morning, walking in shortly after a news conference was held outside the apartments. According to Joines, the Winston-Salem Housing Authority is studying the facility to figure out exactly what repairs need to be made and how much those repairs would cost.

The last estimate was about $7 million, but, he said, that figure needs to be updated.

What were trying to do is figure out the best way to leverage as many affordable units as possible, he said.

Joines says COVID-19 relief funding could finance the repairs, but that the city is still studying the project and looking for additional opportunities to increase the among of low-income housing available.

Were looking forward to seeing the results of the study and what Ive challenged the housing authority (to do) is show us where you would replace these units within the center city because we dont want to gentrify, move folks out of center city, Joines said.

He said, in the next 10 years, the city is expected to need an additional 15,000 affordable housing units.

While both Rose and Joines said the talks Tuesday went well, no firm plans were made, or timetables set.

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In Winston-Salem, Crystal Towers' residents plead for repairs to be made to apartment building - WXII12 Winston-Salem

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