Durham, NC – Tuesday, September 6, 2016, supporters of the Durham Rescue Mission will be gathering at City Hall that evening to show solidarity in asking the Durham City Council members to exclude the Durham Rescue Mission’s 20 lots (15 of which are vacant, empty lots) on the east side of Hwy 55 from the boundary of the proposed Golden Belt Local Historic district.
Dr. Ernie Mills, founder of the Durham Rescue Mission, says, “The original intent for the small, two-room houses—not two bedrooms, just two rooms—built on the property that we are asking to be excluded from the proposed local historic district were built for the working poor—the laborers and factory workers at Golden Belt Manufacturing. They were the employees who were on the lowest end of the pay scale, comparable to minimum wage earners today. It is ironic that the same demographic this neighborhood was originally created for will be pushed out if Golden Belt becomes a local historic district.
“All we are asking is that a small section on the east side of Hwy 55 (the block farthest from the Golden Belt Manufacturing site) be excluded from the local historic district so we can create and maintain affordable housing for the working poor. This will create a vibrant mixed income community, which I believe could become an example to other neighborhoods across the country.
“Tomorrow night, the decision is in the hands of the Durham City Council members. Does the vote have to be all of the district or nothing? Is there no room for compromise that would ensure the economically disadvantaged, who could not afford to live in Golden Belt because of skyrocketing housing costs, would not be pushed out of their homes in a neighborhood that was historically built to provide housing for the working poor?”