Photo by Watauga member Ben Hyler
Recently, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners approved an $80,000 budget amendment to WAMY (Watauga/Avery/Mitchell/Yancey), a non-profit committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in the High Country. WAMY’s services include weatherization and home repair for residents 200% or below the poverty line.
This was exciting news for Watauga Down Home members, who had just completed a multi-month campaign advocating for minimum housing standards in the county. During the campaign, members repeatedly mobilized to Commission meetings, met with county staff and community leaders about the housing crisis, canvassed residents, and earned media coverage, elevating the issue and applying pressure to elected officials. Their efforts drove the Commission to call a special series of meetings focused on the housing crisis in Watauga.
After these sessions, the County moved to send the funds to WAMY. The $80,000 award is a drastic increase from the $5,000 allotment they had previously designated for the non-profit in the county’s 23-24 budget. This is also significantly more than than the $50,000 allotment to workforce housing in this year’s county budget.
Watauga member Moriah Cox, a member of the chapter’s Housing Campaign team, said, “I’m proud that the County Commissioners were willing to support a portion of their constituents that most need that support. I hope we’ll be able to continue to work toward a future in which they are willing and able to support all of their constituents that need help.”