HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — "What I am noticing is that with that influx and the fact that Madison County is one of the higher area, median incomes in the state, it's bringing a situation where it's leaving a lot of our low to very low to moderate income families squeezed out of the housing market.", says Sherry McFerrin, who is the Housing Director for the Family Services Center in Huntsville.
Their organization has emergency shelter and affordable housing units, but McFerrin says there's not enough to help everyone who comes to them
McFerrin adds, "When you compare the numbers ten units and nine units with the influx of thousands and thousands of people coming in, it really does speak to the fact that Huntsville is lacking in affordable housing for those families, individuals and families."
She shares that those who need help with housing go through an assessment where their organization can look at their vulnerability of becoming unsheltered.
Then, they determine how they can assist, but McFerrin hopes the growing population will allow their organization extra funding to build more affordable units.
McFerrin ended with, "Hopefully, though, with that influx, it won't be very long before we meet that threshold and we're able to not only show the need, but explain and substantiate why we need the amount of growth that we do for affordable housing."
Family Services Center receives HUD funding and they look for many grants, but they also partner with United Way of Madison County.
Daniel Kasambira is the President and CEO of United Way of Madison County. Kasambira says they all need to come together to create a game plan for the next five to ten years to address this growing need.
"We will continue to be the number one city when everyone benefits from all the activities that are going on. You talk about affordable housing when you talk about the rises in rent prices rising and the cost of houses, which is fantastic to have in our community. But if our wages and our rent costs, the housing costs aren't equal, it creates a challenge for everybody that is experiencing that.", added Kasambira.