by Casey Mann
Pittsboro, NC – My name is Casey Mann, Maryland native, former Executive Director of the NCDP and a proud resident of Chatham County. I am a single mother of two children, with a son attending Northwood High School and my daughter attending Horton Middle. We live on Toomer Loop in Pittsboro, NC.
I am here because the communities I have lived in for most of my life have made investments in education, housing, transit, food and quality of life. I would not be speaking to you if not for those community investments. I would not have brought my children here if I believed Chatham County lacked the same compassion and long term vision for its residents.
While my mother was going back to school we lived in public housing. It wasn’t wicked or scary, it was a safe haven and shelter that allowed my family to get on a corrected course. Without the safety net of shelter and basic needs, my mother, myself – and by extension my kids would not have been able to get ahead. I would not have been able to work in Raleigh and my family would not have been able to move to Pittsboro. As a mother of two, I have spent time sleeping on the couch because the fair market rent was just too much for us to afford three bedrooms.
Chatham County will need a vigorous program to address the current and future growth that we will experience as the county and this part of the state continue to grow and prosper. We need to have an active and staff supported affordable housing committee, not to create some sort of haven for the unrighteous or unwilling, as many would have you believe. We need a strong affordable housing committee because we want to be a righteous and willing community.
We need to have a strategy to ensure that affordable energy and transit are available to all citizens, because without homes that are energy efficient and smartly planned, we fail to have affordable living options for all of our citizens. Our neighbors. There may be jobs and health care, but without transit options, those are not reachable to many. And without energy efficient places to live, the securities of a warm home in the winter or a cool place to sleep in the summer may also be unattainable. We need to invest directly every year in affordable/workforce housing.
I strongly request that you fully fund transit in Chatham County and create a budget line to fund annually affordable housing either directly, via grants, public/private partnerships and/or rental assistance programs in Chatham County. One penny of tax revenue a year would make a good start.
A new resident of Pittsboro and candidate for the Pittsboro town board Casey Mann spoke during the public input session of the Chatham County commissioners’ meeting on May 18. She was the former Executive Director of the NCDP under the failed administration of NCDP chairman Randy Voller.