2020 Action Report

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Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

MISSION STATEMENT Durham Congregations Associations and Neighborhoods (CAN) is a broadbased organization that works to coalesce, train, and organize the communities of Durham across religious, racial, ethnic, class, and neighborhood lines for the public good. Our primary goal is to develop local leadership and organized power to improve the conditions of low and moderate income families.


Mission | Mission Statement


Mission | Mission Statement


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

MEMBER INSTITUTIONS Abundant Hope Christian Church Duke Memorial United Methodist Church Durham Community Land Trustees Durham Friends Meeting Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, End Poverty Durham Emmaus Way First Presbyterian Church First Chronicles Community Church Fisher Memorial United Holy Church of America Grant Street Community Holy Cross Catholic Church Holy Infant Catholic Church Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Impact Church Judea Reform Congregation Monument of Faith Mount Level Missionary Baptist Church North Carolina Central University Student Chapter Nehemiah Christian Center New Creation United Methodist Church People’s Alliance Pilgrim United Church of Christ Saint Philip’s Episcopal Church Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church Watts Street Baptist Church


Member Institutions | List


Member Institutions| List


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report


Message from Leaders | Strategy


MESSAGE FROM TEAM LEADERS 2020 CLERGY CAUCUS CO-CHAIRS “The hour calls for moral grandeur and spiritual audacity.” Quoting the great Abraham Heschel, Rabbi Matt Soffer with Judea Reform shared these words with CAN clergy members thirteen days before widespread protest broke out after George Floyd’s murder. This sense of urgency defined the clergy caucus meetings this year. As the pandemic magnified the inequities and injustices that plague our communities, CAN religious leaders shifted their gatherings to Zoom, with resolve and commitment only heightening. We explored why agitation for justice can be difficult for faith leaders; we reflected on the tension between the pastoral and the political; we learned about the power structure within our city; and we committed to deep listening in our institutions in line with CAN’s 2020 listening campaign. We held tight to the truth that “the fierce urgency of now” is too pressing for clergy to hide in the cocoons of their congregations. The moral grandeur and spiritual audacity that’s so desperately needed require partnership, accountability, and public commitment, all of which have been at the heart of the clergy caucus. The hour before us calls for nothing less.

Clergy Caucus Co-Chairs Meet the leaders of the Clergy Caucus

Rev. Jacqueline Brett

Rev. Tommy Grimm

Bishop Clarence Laney

Rev. Molly Brummett-Wudel


Trinity Avenue

Monument of Faith

Emmaus Way

Message from Leaders | Clergy


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

STAFF During our April 2020 Durham CAN Clergy Caucus meeting, we discussed how the word “apocalypse” is often invoked in reference to mass destruction and catastrophe, but that the original Greek actually means an unveiling or an uncovering. And because of our organizing work, many of us are sensitive to how moments like these reinforce the “tragic gap” of who we think we are as a society and who we really are. The communities we organize with are in a constant state of emergency even when there isn’t a pandemic. As a broad-based community organization, Durham CAN’s purpose is to build power. And with the “consistent and persistent,” we have continued to grow our power to challenge all the ways that inequality shows up in our community now and in the future. Even before COVID, we entered into a season of disorganizing and reorganizing CAN, with the goal of seeing CAN become a leader-led organization rather than an organizer-centric organization. We said we wanted to prioritize recruiting new institutions, training new leaders, focusing our actions, and examining how race, racism, whiteness and white supremacy inform our organizing and organization. I’m proud of all that we were able to do within the constraints that COVID created, and sense that the most important action of the year was remaining connected and in relationship with each other. We are seeing new leaders lead, folks show up for training, core teams being rebuilt, and new institutions -- both religious and non-religious -- begin to explore the power of broad-based community organizing and building power as part of Durham CAN. We grew our power by pushing the Durham District Attorney to use decarceration not only as a public health response, but to reverse the vestiges of racist sentencing and release policies that have created the population of elderly black men in our prisons and jails. Our organization grew its power by continuing to hold the Durham Housing Authority CEO and its Board of Commissioners accountable for repair backlogs, the return of residents from hotels who were displaced by widespread gas leaks, and had a conversation with them about the East Lake Meadows documentary and the lessons we can learn about how to prevent displacement during DHA’s massive redevelopment undertaking over the next decade. Our organization grew its power through our ongoing conversations with Duke University about how to leverage the creation of a jobs movement in Durham into a new transit plan that better serves the most economically and geographically isolated corners of our community. Most importantly, we grew our power by investing in the training of our leaders, rebuilding our organizational team, and developing new funding relationships to support our work now and in the future.

Tinu Diver CAN Lead Organizer


Message from Leaders | Lead Organizer

Erin Light Intern

Lead Organizer 2020 was Tinu’s first full year as Lead Organizer


STRATEGY TEAM Co-Chairs and Members Strategy Team CoChairs (top), and Members (bottom)

Durham CAN’s Strategy Team approached 2020 with the recognition that our recent leadership transitions would require a strong inward trajectory of action in “organizing and reorganizing” CAN for a new season of leadership and that the momentum of many significant public actions would also require leadership that helped CAN continue to build power to press forward in those external realms. Having just recently said farewell to our longtime organizers, Ivan Parra and Maria Colvopiña, one of our primary tasks would be to help onboard Tinu Diver as a new Lead Organizer for CAN. We are ecstatic about Tinu’s leadership and the success of this transition. The social changes associated with the Covid-19 pandemic also required that we develop new processes and modes of organizing so that our work would retain its emphasis of relationality. One of our initial team goals for the year was to invoke a vital and honest conversation about race — the prevalence of whiteness as an assumed norm in our work together and entrenched structures of systemic racism in our community. This focus of race, which is also a key focus in Metro IAF, has shaped an array of our Clergy Caucus meetings, Metro Caucuses, and public actions as we continue organize for anti-racist work by confronting our own entanglements with a society shaped by white supremacy. Our public organizing has been rich and sets us up for critical opportunities to organize in 2021. Tinu’s first primary organizing project in the Hoover Road community has led to a year of action continuing to press the Durham Housing Authority on their integrity as public landlords, the city in regards to its use of funding from the Affordable Housing Bond, and the city in regards to its future development plans centered on our prioritization of Hayti and the Fayettevllle St. corridor. Our criminal justice work has also been fruitful. On the heels of work with our District Attorney that successfully confronted highly regressive “cash bail” practices in Durham, this team has collaborated with other organizations to set a powerful example for our whole state in just decarceration and community reengagement for returning citizens in the wake of the pandemic and is pressing now for greater statewide action.

Rev. Dr. Timothy Conder Emmaus Way

Mr. Cullen McKenney Duke Memorial (formerly)

Mr. Drew Doll Immaculate Conception

Ms. Ketty Thelemaque Abundant Hope Church

Rev. Dr. Herbert Davis Nehemiah Christian Center

Mr. Kevin Mcnamee Durham Friends Meeting

Rev. Dr. Susan Dunlap First Presbyterian Church

Message from Leaders | Strategy









Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

HOUSING DHA ACCOUNTABILITY In 2019, the City of Durham passed a $95 million Affordable Housing Bond to fund a number of redevelopment projects-- including a new Durham Housing Authority (DHA) office-- but none of the money is designated for existing maintenance issues at DHA properties or for the redevelopment of the former Fayetteville St. Projects, which has been vacant for nearly 20 years. It is a top priority of Durham CAN to get the city to reallocate these funds to reflect the needs of the existing DHA community. Our neighbors at Hoover Road, McDougald Terrace, and the other DHA properties suffer the effects of years of neglect and disrepair. Despite what are at times subhuman conditions, residents are expected to pay rent on time every month, and there are few resources for those who struggle to do so. In 2020, we continued eviction court watching to expose inequities in the system, including but not limited to: high court fees, lack of legal representation, and billing mistakes made by DHA. The Durham Housing Authority has made some progress in eviction reform– including rental assistance coordination, regular training of property management staff, and delays in eviction filings for non-payment of rent – and we urge these policies be made permanent. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, evictions, disrepair and other related affordable housing issues combated by Durham CAN have only been exacerbated, making permanent change more pressing than ever.

HOOVER ROAD Disrepair and neglect are found across every public housing community in Durham; from roof leaks at Hoover Rd. to carbon monoxide at McDogald Terrace, to roach infestations at Liberty Street, years of mistreatment of residents and properties have devastating effects on those who live there. Disrepair issues are not only health-hazards for residents and their families, they are also emotionally taxing and demeaning, and can even cause depression. Hoover Road is a DHA community of fifty-four multifamily townhouse apartments that was completed in


Housing | DHA Accountability

1968. It is located in a food desert, and is physically distant from downtown Durham amenities and convenient bus routes. Over the past twenty months, Hoover Road Durham CAN leaders have shared with us the state of their living conditions; they face chronic despair issues, disrespect from DHA officials, and food insecurity, among other issues. One of the most urgent issues at Hoover Road is that rain-water pools on the roofs and causes leaks that sprout mold inside homes. At a resident inspection, we saw sinks not attached to plumbing, forcing the leader to use buckets to transport wastewater outside multiple times a day. We saw the mold along interior walls and ceilings due to the chronic roof leaks. Appliances

Hoover Rd. Disrepair (from left) Broken sink, Leaking roof, water damage from leaking roofs, mold from leaking roofs

Issue Campaigns

and air conditioning units were broken. We witnessed maintenance workers and property managers treating leaders with disrespect and providing poor service and workmanship. Even with this chronic disrepair and disrespect, the rent is due monthly and on time.

“If it was a bunch of white people here, they’d make sure that this was up to code”


Valentine’s Action

At McDougald Terrace, years of disrepair and neglect finally boiled over in early January when carbon monoxide leaks were detected. Residents were relocated to nearby hotels, and some were hospitalized for carbon monoxide exposure. In total, the incident forced nearly 300 families to move out of their homes.

On February 14, CAN hosted a press conference demanding a solution to the carbon monoxide crisis at McDougald Terrace

While the carbon monoxide was what sounded an alarm DHA couldn’t ignore, a host of other disrepair problems were discovered upon inspection: lead paint, mold, roaches, electrical wires, and ventilation issues, to name a few. Such issues would not be tolerated, or even considered habitable, for any other housing provider.

At Durham CAN, we called for “fierce urgency” in response to the deplorable conditions endured by Durham Housing Authority residents. We hosted a press conference on February 14th calling for an immediate, long-term solution to the carbon monoxide crisis at McDougald Terrace. After months of repairs, the majority of residents were able to return home in April. Yet most of the repairs necessary to make these residences livable-- electrical rewiring, pest extermination, mold removal, etc. have not been done, and while the threat of carbon monoxide has been removed, the conditions of many units are still deplorable.

Housing | DHA Accountability


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

ROOF REPAIRS 2020 brought a huge breakthrough in one repair issue: the leaking roofs at Hoover Road. The roofs did not drain properly, and water would pool and leak down into residents’ homes, causing a multitude of problems-including mold. Thanks to the mobilizing efforts of Durham CAN and Hoover Road Leaders, DHA finally began the necessary roof repairs in late July. It was a long process that was met with much resistance, but together we were able force them to listen. While this is a huge victory for the residents, there is still much work to be done; leaking roofs are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the necessary repairs at DHA properties; the Durham Housing Authority needs to address all the disrepair issues across its existing properties before new redevelopment projects are initiated. Making these repairs is essential for the wellbeing of the existing

communities, and it should not need to be stated that they deserve the same quality living standard as anyone else. On any given day, DHA choses to repair or not to repair; to evict or not to evict; to require staff to treat residents with dignity or allow them to be disrespected. Despite constant pressure from residents, and now also from Durham CAN, residents at Hoover Road still feel unsafe, they still live in substandard human conditions, they don’t know if they will be evicted by no fault of their own, and they are still treated poorly by DHA staff. We are disappointed in DHA and the city of Durham for their response to our neighbors. But now that we have seen these things, we cannot unsee them; we refuse to turn a blind eye. The longer they ignore us, the louder the our voices will become.

Hoover Rd. Roof Repairs Repairs finally began on the leaking roofs in late July

“We still have mold. We still have holes in our ceiling.”


Housing | DHA Accountability

. n ”

Issue Campaigns


Community Garden Site

Behind the community center at Hoover Road, there was a play structure in the same state of disrepair and neglect as the housing structures on the property. In July 2020, after a year-long effort by CAN leaders of the Hoover Road community, the Durham Housing Authority finally removed rusted playground equipment. Now, it is a reclaimed space that is set to be developed into a food sustenance and education garden. Beyond the advantages of providing fresh produce to a community in a food desert, the garden will also serve as a community gathering space, complete with a shaded patio and a new natural playground. Working and socializing in the garden will help residents build job skills, confidence, long-term goal planning, food security, and mental health. Ms Sherry Lawrence, a CAN leader and resident at Hoover Road is excited about this community garden for its potential to provide advantages to the children and adults of Hoover Road. She envisions the children will be able to take ownership of this special neighborhood project by building stable, loyal relationships that strengthen their self-esteem. Watching things grow and producing food will give the children something to look forward to and be proud of, and even help them look forward to eating their vegetables. Building a community garden on the site is not a straightforward task. Hoover Road is a prime example of how environmental pollution disproportionately impacts communities of color and low income; Hoover Road has been identified as a site with drycleaning solvent contamination, which-- in addition to its adjacency to other industrial polluters-- makes the site’s soil and water unsafe for subsistence gardening. To account for this, instead of planting produce directly in the ground, raised beds and a watering system will be installed in the garden. The organizing process surrounding the planning of the garden has been a huge success because it has inspired residents to take control over what happens on their property and to imagine a better future. Even the removal of the old playground marked a huge step in building power in the Hoover Road community. By working together, the residents and leaders of Hoover Road, alongside Durham CAN, will continue to demand change until the power of our collective voices can no longer be ignored.

The lot that once contained a play structure will be the home o f th e n e w community garden

Community Garden Plan Raised beds will protect plants from possible soil contaminants








Housing | DHA Accountability


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

EAST LAKE MEADOWS VIEWING In April, CAN hosted two screenings of the PBS Documentary East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story. Durham Housing Authority (DHA) CEO, Mr. Anthony Scott, and Durham Housing Authority Commissioners Mr. Dan Hudgins, Mr. Bo Glen and Ms. Christine Westfall joined in these discussions. East Lake Meadows is the story of a public housing community in Atlanta that became nearly uninhabitable as a result of years of neglect and underfunding. Eventually, it was torn down to create a mixed-income community. After it was complete, however, only 15% of original residents returned to the property-- some because they were ineligible to return due to tighter restrictions. The story of East Lake Meadows could be a warning of 20

Housing | DHA Accountability

what is to come in Durham; there are many similarities between Durham’s public housing communities and East Lake in terms of architecture, landscaping, despair and infrastructure issues, underfunding, and the population served (Black women being the majority head of households). Additionally, all DHA properties are slated to undergo RAD conversion, which will involve demolition of many existing properties and reconstruction as mixed-income properties, similarly to what happened to East Lake. We also saw similarities in how residents of both East Lake Meadows and DHA communities take pride in their homes and communities, creating support networks, cooperative childcare arrangements, shared food, among other things. As our first action on members of the DHA Board, the screening provided an opportunity for an open discussion about displacement and

East Lake Meadows Viewing CAN leaders conducted a discussion with DHA officials

Issue Campaigns







519 E. MAIN







KEY Low Income Housing


Affordable Housing Mixed-Income


DHA Properties Map The Durham Housing Authority has plans to redevelop most of its properties in the coming years

systemic racism in housing, in addition to organizing residents and the future of public housing in Durham.

PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING ON PUBLIC LAND In 2015, Durham CAN launched a campaign to secure the use of publicly owned land for the construction of affordable housing in Durham. These sites include the 20-acres of the former Fayetteville Street Projects and two City-owned lots on Grant Street in the historic Hayti community; the 4-acre site of the former Durham Police headquarters at 505 W. Chapel Hill Street; the County-owned 300 & 500 blocks on East Main Street; and the Jackson/Pettigrew Street lot. Due to CAN’s successful negotiation with the City of Durham and Durham County, in 2019 we celebrated

Undeveloped Land

the groundbreaking of the Willard Street Apartments (the lot formerly known as Jackson Street), a mixedincome, mixed-use development that will offer 82 affordable apartment homes for modest wage earners working in downtown Durham with a mix of 30% and 60% Area Median Income (AMI) units. In September 2020, we won unanimous support from the Durham City-County Planning Commission and Durham City Council for the sale of the former Durham Police headquarters site, which includes a restrictive covenant that guarantees at least 80 units of affordable housing will remain on the site in perpetuity.

Housing | DHA Accountability


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

FORMER FAYETTEVILLE ST PROJECTS Just as residents of existing DHA properties have their repair problems ignored, defunded, and neglected, so too is the site of the Fayetteville Street Projects. The Fayetteville Street Projects was a public housing community developed by the Durham Housing Authority in 1967 located at the corner of Grant and Umstead streets. Before that, it was a block of single-family homes in the vibrant Hayti community. Usually referred to as the Fayetteville Street Projects, the 20 acre apartment site hosted 168 2-story brick duplex homes, all owned and operated by the Durham Housing Authority (DHA). In 2002, the Durham Housing Authority announced plans to renovate the Fayetteville Street Apartments. Families living in the housing community were forced to move out, uprooting their lives and their children. Many had minimal options to move elsewhere. Yet the DHA never followed through on their promises to renovate any of the properties, nor did the Philadelphia developer-- Campus Apartments-- who later purchased the property; the land has remained


Housing | DHA Accountability

vacant for nearly 10 years. In 2017, thanks to the organizing efforts of Durham CAN, DHA repurchased the property with the intention to redevelop the land to include affordable housing. Three years later, this promise again remains unfulfilled. The grass in the lot is overgrown, and the neglected site has come to symbolize the long history of unfulfilled promises to the community. And as recently observed by many members of the community, the property “looks even worse than when the Philadelphia developers owned it.” The $95 million Affordable Housing Bond that Durham passed last year includes funding for a number of redevelopment projects (including a new DHA office), but not funding toward redevelopment of this site. On Tuesday, June 2nd, as a follow up to our October 30, 2019 Public Assembly at First Chronicles Community Church, Durham CAN leaders met with Mayor Steve Schewel about his failure to fulfill the public commitments he made in front over 150 Durham CAN leaders to support and initiate a planning process for the redevelopment of the Fayetteville Street projects. Although the City is considering $5 million of funding requests for the Durham Housing

The Vacant Site Today All that remains of the 162 homes are their concrete foundations

Issue Campaigns

“You don’t even know George Floyd, but you know these people!” Authority (DHA) to support expenses related to its redevelopment plans, not one cent is designated for the pre-development planning of Fayetteville Street projects (or for completing outstanding DHA repairs).

Fayetteville Street Projects (Right) Photo taken following construction in 1967. (Left) The beginning of demolition in the early 2000s. Photos Courtesy of Durham County Library

Our June meeting came shortly after Mayor Schewel signed onto a statement with several North Carolina mayors pledging to make every effort within his power to fight systemic racism within his city. But as Rev. Tanya Johnson pointed out, “You don’t even know George Floyd, but you know these people! What about them?!” and proceeded to read the names of our neighbors in Durham Housing Authority communities. Schewel committed to future meetings with Durham CAN and Hayti community leaders and encouraged CAN to submit names of CAN leaders to serve on the accountability and advisory committee for the $95 million affordable housing bond. Our work to advocate for the redevelopment of the Fayetteville Street Projects is ongoing.

Housing | DHA Accountability


“Powerful” “Neglected” “Potential” SILENT VIGIL WALK To mobilize internal awareness and commitment to the redevelopment of the Fayetteville Street Projects, Durham CAN hosted the Silent Vigil Walk on October 14th. The action mobilized 150+ people from our member institutions and surrounding communities. As they walked, we asked them to reflect on the past injustices inflicted upon the community and to imagine a brighter future for the people and the property. In interviews and recorded statements, community members with ties to the Fayetteville Street Projects expressed their hopes for the redevelopment, including affordable or mixed-income housing that is accessible to everyone, a safe neighborhood environment where children can safely play, and services such as a grocery store. You can listen to their stories at the audio tour link above As a potentially prime piece of real estate right across the tracks from downtown Durham, many are concerned at the possibility of the property being used for gentrification. It is of the utmost importance that the existing community is consulted during the redevelopment process, and Durham CAN is constantly working to amplify their voices so that their visions become reality.

Youtube Video

Silent Vigil Walking Route Over 150 supporters walked the half-mile loop around the former Fayetteville St. Projects

Audio Tour

“Complicit” “Motivated”

Signage Created by DHA Residents

Live Stream

Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

EVICTIONS While our work to prevent evictions began long before the onset of COVID-19, residents faced additional struggles to pay rent as a result of the pandemic. According to Dataworks NC, 46.3% of Durham renters were already considered cost-burdened before the pandemic, meaning they were spending 30% or more of their income on housing. Increased layoffs, small business closures, scheduled hours cutbacks, and loss of self-employment opportunities disportionately affected cost-burden renters, placing them at even greater risk of eviction. The Durham Housing Authority is both the largest provider of low-income housing in Durham and the largest evictor. In 2019, there were 9,561 evictions filed in Durham County, and approximately 10% (867 evictions) of those were filed by the DHA. For reference, the DHA manages just over 1600 units. The DHA files so many evictions that it even has its own dedicated day for eviction filings at the courthouse each month. On July 24th, we wrote the Durham Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and CEO, urging for an extension on the eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent. The DHA failed to do so, but thankfully, the CDC enacted their own eviction moratorium, which greatly slowed the eviction process in 2020. Evictions were not entirely stopped, however; In Durham County 3,347 evictions were filed between January 1 and November 30, 2020. Thanks to the passage of four different federal and state protective orders, this number is less than a third of a typical year’s filings. However, there were still around 1,500 evictions between March 15 and September 30 due to policy deficiencies that continue to leave tenants vulnerable. With just under 45,000 Durham County unemployment claims filed between March and October, 2021 could bring an unprecedented wave of evictions as economic conditions continue to worsen for poor and working people. Thousands of Durhamites, particularly Black and brown people, will be harmed by the looming crisis unless swift action is taken (Dataworks NC). As covid-related eviction moratoriums are set to expire, the Durham Housing Authority needs to make permanent progress in eviction reform, including rental assistance coordination, regular training of property management staff, delays in eviction filings for non-payment of rent, required communication between property managers and tenants, and to credit $37,926 in court fees charged to DHA residents whose eviction filings were voluntarily dismissed. To pressure the creation of such policies, Durham CAN engages in various actions including court watching, policy advocacy, research, and meetings with elected officials.


Housing | Evictions

Eviction Court Watching Eviction notice (left), in the courtroom (right)

Issue Campaigns


Court Watching Data The number of DHA eviction filings declined after we began our eviction court watching campaign

In August of 2019, we began observing DHA’s eviction hearings. In the courtroom, we simply observe or take notes. Not only have we been able to meet residents from other DHA properties and hear how eviction filings affect them, we have also gotten a sense of other variables: that cases in which the resident has representation (usually by Legal Aid) have better outcomes; that different judges approach cases differently; and the fact that the amount of money owed is often as little as $50. The pandemic put a pause in most evictions and our court watching, but prior to the pandemic, the average number of filings per month declined, likely due to a combination of factors: an increase in Legal Aid tenant defense, court watching, demands like the moratorium, and the DHA policy change. We continue to monitor DHA eviction filings and have made requests of DHA to

offer restitution on filings they voluntarily dismissed and to make permanent the Eviction Prevention Pilot, a pilot program to further reduce evictions. We would like to acknowledge and thank the residents of the Hoover Road Community, a Durham Housing Authority property. This work would not have been possible without their courage and trust.

Housing | Evictions


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

“There is no way they could care about us and let us go through the things we are going through” POLICY REFORM Whether or not an eviction is upheld in court, the eviction filing stays on a person’s record for 7 years. Thus, the simple act of filing for an eviction can cause harm for years to come by making it nearly impossible for a family to find housing. If Durham is to solve its eviction crisis, the DHA must change its policies to avoid the harmful effects of eviction filing. Specifically, we ask that DHA: (1) change the policy on the “time of filing” to extend the court filing date to at least 90 days after the rent is due; and (2) require direct and documented communication between the property manager and resident prior to filing an eviction notice. The current time of filing is only fifteen days after rent is due, which is not enough time for residents to access community resources, such as rental assistance or legal aid. Increasing the time before filing will allow for recently proposed eviction interventions to take place and will decrease the long-term harm for some residents as well as


Housing | Evictions

lower overall evictions which many elected leaders -- including our Mayor -- have repeatedly referred to publicly as “a crisis.” We found that the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem, which has a similar demographic profile and percent of payment received as DHA, does not file any court action until after 90 days. At 30 days of non-payment, property managers meet with the resident to discuss their payment situation. At 60 days, a rent conference is scheduled by the property manager to develop a promissory agreement by the resident for repayment. Their policy requires communication between the property manager and resident with the primary responsibility on the property manager. With the adoption of a similar policy, the Durham Housing Authority could reduce the harmful effects of eviction filings on an already vulnerable population and save themselves, residents, and the city thousands of dollars.

The Costs of Evictions It costs more to the city, the landlord, and the resident to evict someone than what is owed in rent



Evictions filed by DHA


More filings than Charlotte or Raleigh’s Housing Authority

14 IN

Residents of DHA faced an eviciton filing

9948 filed in Durham Total evictions

43% Of Durham renters were considered cost-burdend

Created by AmruID from the Noun Project

Many residents brought to court owed as little as $




Created by Three Six Five from the Noun Project

5,478 $ 3,732,000 $

Cost of one eviction to a resident

Yearly cost of all evictions to landlords

Amount of time an eviction filing stays on a person’s record

Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

COVID-19 RESPONSE MASK BRIGADE Leaders spent time sewing and delivering masks to our Durham Housing Authority friends and neighbors at McDougald Terrace, Hoover Road, and Oxford Manor. In total, CAN crafted and delivered over 600 masks to DHA residents between March and April.

FOOD BOXES While formal listening sessions were not possible during COVID, we found other ways to connect with and build power in our local communities. One way of doing that was by delivering 100 boxes of fresh food and vegetables to Nehemiah Christian Center members and Oak Grove residents struggling with food insecurity during these challenging times. As a result, not only were we able to be a resource for these neighbors, but we were also able to checkin on residents from a safe distance during drop-offs. Food box deliveries were one way CAN succeeded in continuing to build power and relationships during the pandemic.


Housing | Covid-19 Response

RENTAL ASSISTANCE BY FIRST PRESBYTERIAN One of our member organizations-- First Presbyterian Church-- is assisting with rent and utilities payments for many of our neighbors in Durham facing COVIDinduced evictions. Lower-income workers have faced strains brought by the virus disproportionately to their higher-earning counterparts; they are more likely to have either lost a job, or taken a cut in pay, and as a result, are more likely to struggle to make rent or mortgage payments. FPC responded to this crisis by securing multiple grants and large amounts of donor funding, for a rent and utility assistance program, but the problem is more than just financial; property managers, magistrate judges, and public organizations do not have the organization or the resources to adequately serve tenants. By prioritizing building relationships with the community, FPC’s work has become a model for how public service organizations should operate, and enabled them to be more successful at providing aid than public organizations. Thanks in large part to donations and referrals by CAN institutions and members, FPC was able to provide rent and utility assistance to 544 families from the end of May till December 2020--a total of $75,710.52. DSS, DHA, and Legal Aid need to recognize the value of community-based organizations like FPC as partners and replicate their emphasis on collaborative, rather than transactional, community relationships in order to bring Durham into a reality that truly reflects the values of its people.

COVID Responce Nehemiah food box distribution (left), Mask deliveries (center and right)

Issue Campaigns

Housing | Covid-19 Response


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report


Our jobs campaign entered 2020 at a crossroads. Our primary focus to that point had been on developing enough power for an action focusing on Duke Health/Duke University and creating living wage jobs for Durham’s returning citizens following an excellent model of action from our sister organization in Baltimore (BUILD). Our organizing in DHA properties and the onset of the pandemic in early spring has inspired some reflection regarding an expansion of the scope of our action. On the ground in several DHA properties, we rapidly learned that our neighbors in these communities were experiencing an unemployment rate of above 60%, even before the outbreak of Covid-19. The jobs team reconvened in the spring for several meetings making a commitment for a summer of relational meetings with potential partners organizations working in living wage job creation and training for those commonly overlooked in the Durham jobs market. Our research also revealed that Durham has more jobs than those seeking jobs, revealing a shameful gap between job providers and job seekers in our city. We have also continued to see little training at scale for job seekers like returning citizens seeking living wage jobs. The jobs/living wages team is now reconvening again this January with the goal of translating our research and relational work into an action plan. We have a strong sense of opportunity that our work will dovetail with ongoing CAN actions

“I was fighting, I was about to give up… and C.A.N. helped me keep it together.”


Jobs | 2020 Update

Commute Times Via Bus Travel Time by Bus from Hoover Rd. to the top 23 employers in Durham

Issue Campaigns

KEY* 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1310 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Duke University DPS IBM Fidelity VA Hospital Blue Cross Creel Inc. City of Durham RTI International IQVIA GSK NCCU AW NC Amazon EPA Labcorp BASF Durham Tech Food Lion Target Walmart Harris Teeter Lowes

40 min 20 min No Access 58 min 67 min 56 min No Access 17 min 89 min 70 min No Access 35 min No Access 21 min 69 min 59 min 29 min 27 min 36 min 41 min 36 min 37 min 45 min

2 Buses 1 Bus 2 Buses 3 Buses 2 Buses 1 Bus 2 Buses, 2mi Walk 2 Buses 2 Buses 1 Bus 3 Buses, 1mi Walk 2 Buses 1 Bus, 1mi Walk 1.5mi Walk 2 Buses 1 Bus 1 Bus 1 Bus 2 Buses

*By car, the longest travel time to any listed employer is 16 min or less

1 8





19 6 16 23












Minutes of Travel 10



5 10 90

2 mi

Jobs | 2020 Update


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report


The Criminal Justice Reform (CJR) action team had a very busy 2020. Most of our work was in reaction to the COVID pandemic. We exchanged letters and met with District Attorney Satana Deberry, thanking her for helping keep the jail population low and asking that she consider agreeing to early releases of Durham residents serving state prison sentences. We were grateful that, at least in part through DA Deberry’s consent, more than 20 of our brothers and sisters have returned home early and were spared the worst of the pandemic that is ravaging our state prison population. We hope more will be coming home in 2021. We also exchanged letters and met with Sheriff Clarence Birkhead, asking him to adhere to the strictest and safest guidelines for managing a congregate setting during the pandemic. While we remain concerned about the transparency surrounding testing at the facility, we acknowledge that the Sheriff has a difficult job maintaining the safety of the jail and the courthouse and we are grateful for his ongoing engagements with us this year.

Timeline of CJR Actions Key actions centered on the Durham detention center alongside Durham Covid case counts (graph courtesy of DCoDPH)

Second letter to Sheriff Birkhead

May 20

April 27

April 25

Second letter to DA Daberry

Detention Officer Alexander Pettiway dies of COIVD-19 after exposure at the Durham Jail

First letter to Sheriff Birkhead

April 3

Meeting with DA Daberry

April 2

First letter to DA Daberry

Criminal Justice | Detention Center

March 27


Issue Campaigns

DECARCERATION With the raging Covid-19 pandemic, it is of utmost importance to decrease jail and prison population density to protect the health of our incarcerated brothers and sisters. To promote decarceration in Durham, we escalated our efforts to release people from the jail who do not need to be there; measures included advocacy for lower or no bail for misdemeanants and non-violent drug users in addition to lowering/eliminating cash bail for vulnerable people and people without means. Our March 27 letter to District Attorney Satana Deberry insisted she expand this proposed scope of decarceration to include prisoners who are over the age of 65, with pre-existing

health conditions, who have served 75% or more of their sentence (for lower-level crimes). Due to the work of our leaders, in collaboration with community organizations and the leadership of Durham County District Attorney’s Office, at least 20 individuals who met that criteria received modifications to their sentences and were released. This is the highest number released by any district atourney in NC. From January to March, the jail population was decreased from 500 to 360, and from March to April the population was decreased to 260. We will continue to hold Justice officials accountable to these numbers as the pandemic rages on into 2021.

June 30 September 16

Darrell Jersey dies from being exposed to COVID-19 in the Durham Jail

Second letter to Rodney Jenkins

August 26th

Eight detainees test positive

August 9th

Letter to Rodney Jenkis the Director of Durham County Department of Public Health

June 8

Birkhead attends CAN’s Criminal Justice Meeting

Criminal Justice | Detention Center


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

SHERIFF BIRKHEAD As another approach to protecting our incarcerated brothers and sisters-- who are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks-- from Covid-19, Durham CAN used our power and relationships to exert pressure on city leaders. Our April 3rd letter to Sheriff Birkhead outlined suggested precautions to protect the incarcerated members of our community, including free remote visits, prevention and health safety education, free cleaning or sanitizing supplies, and regular cleaning of facilities. We inquired of their plans to treat sick and quarantine sick patients, what their capacity was to do so, and how that care would be provided to those with and without health insurance. In a conference call with CAN on June 8 centered around preventing a COVID-19 outbreak in the detention facility, Sheriff Birkhead agreed to follow CDC recommendations


Criminal Justice | Detention Center

for combating COVID-19, making testing available to staff and residents if given sufficient resources, adding a link to county COVID-19 data on the Sheriff’s website, and working with CAN leaders to organize a meeting with NC Department of Public Safety.

Meeting with Birkhead On June 8th, Sheriff Birkhead committed to COVID-19 protection measures in the detention center

“As closed environments, jails and prisons presen the highest risk of illness from a viru

Issue Campaigns

NCDHHS Reporting Data

s nt

While some sties report outbreaks in congregate facilities, the data is erased after the outbreak ends

PUBLIC TESTING INFORMATION On June 30th, we sent a letter to Rodney Jenkins-the Director of Durham County Department of Public Health (DCoDPH)-- requesting that he publicize the Covid-19 testing and results specific to the Durham County Detention Facility. An infection within the Detention facility would have dire consequences on the residents, who occupy the closed buildings in close proximity. We also requested that he designate a portion of the CARES Act funding for Durham County specifically for testing for all residents of the Durham County Detention Facility. In response he, (1) falsely claimed that the requested testing information was available online, (2) Was unclear in how he planned to allocate CARES Act funding for staff and resident testing, and (3) agreed to a meeting in the next few months. As it exists now, news reports the

most up-to-date way to keep track of how many cases have been reported in the detention center. But lack of news coverage also does not mean there are no virus cases. There are also a couple of NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) sites that report on the outbreaks in congregate facilities, but the sites are only updated twice weekly, and after an outbreak is over, the cases are no longer reported. We continue to push for transparency on outbreaks and procedures from our criminal justice officials.


Criminal Justice | Detention Center


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

GUN VIOLENCE Durham has seen a rise in gun violence since the start of the pandemic placing an even greater toll on neighborhoods and communities already disproportionately struggling from job loss, poor housing conditions, and COVID-19 complications. According to WRAL, shootings rose 48% in 2020, and claimed the lives of 33 people and injured 319 more. In the fall of 2020, the Criminal Justice Reform team initiated conversations about gun violence and how to put a stop to this existential threat to Durham. As part of those conversations, we had a public meeting with City Councilmember Mark Anthony Middleton in addition to a smaller meeting with Councilmember Freelon Pierce. We also began a listening session campaign with residents of the neighborhoods, including public housing properties, that are some of most affected by violence. We listened to community leaders recount their experiences of ducking from bullets being shot into their home, and teaching their children to do the same. We learned that the police respond either slowly or not at all when called in about gun violence in these communities. As a result, people living in these Durham neighborhoods feel terrified and unvalued, yet remain determined to find a solution. It is CJR’s hope to raise up the voices of the most affected, Listening Sessions Quotes from DHA residents and community leaders who persevere through gun violence

You have to teach your kids and your grandkids to jump to the floor when you hear gunshots… you have to worry if it was your kids that got shot walking home from the park.

My nephew was killed by gun violence. Someone shot him in the park and left him there… He was only 22.

A young man died in my arm [because] when the police got there they treated us lik animals… they really just le him die... We kept him alive f as long as we could, but wh the paramedic and the polic came [they did nothing] an the end result he died. 38

Criminal Justice | Gun Violence

ms e ke et for hen ce nd

We’re not bad people. We Issue Campaigns know some of [the police] are not bad people. They don’t never once take the chance to get to know the community. They look at all the bad things happening in the community. They don’t look at what we’re trying to do in the community to try to stop the violence.

I felt like I had to do something because there are a lot of kids in the community.

An officer said to me… ‘Oh it’s just a shooting’ Like you just live here and you’re supposed to accept it.

I don’t have my daughter go outside…. I made a spot in the house where she can jump rope. When I first moved there there was shooting every night. Me and my kids would eat on the floor, sleep on the floor, and family time on the floor… The first three years were terrifying.

You can’t go in Hope Valley and [shoot]… and it shouldn’t have to happen in Black or Brown or Indigenous communities

It’s become routine. You know when you hear shootings you duck, crawl, and head to the back of your house. We teach our children this everyday.

A young man got shot in the arm right outside my door...Someone had to pick him up and put him in their car and take him to the hospital because the ambulance and the police never came. … if that young man was still waiting for help, he never would have got help; he would have died right there in his mama’s arms. Criminal Justice | Detention Center






2. 3.







Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report


2020 LISTENING SESSION CAMPAIGN Our work at CAN always begins with relating and listening. Thus, listening sessions drive and decide our mission, actions, and resource allocation. In 2020, we hosted listening sessions with many of our member institutions to set our focus for the year. Listening sessions provide a space for people to tell stories and identify changes they want to see in their community. The top issue identified across institutions was affordable housing. It was closely followed by health, education, gun violence/safety, and criminal justice reform. Other issues identified were food insecurity, jobs, and voting. In addition to setting our issue priorities, listening sessions also provide an opportunity to develop leaders and strengthen our relationships. It is through our relationships with leaders across neighborhoods that Durham CAN organizes people and power to effectively resolve issues facing families and their communities. Top Issues of Institutions Affordable Housing was the top issue across our member institutions


Listening Sessions | Listening Campaign


Listening Sessions | Listening Campaign


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

BUDGET 7 26 202


Issue Campaigns

Direct Actions

Member Institutions

Leaders Trained




69 49



Created by Elizabeth Lopez from the Noun Project




Budget | Income


RELATIONAL MEETINGS Created by Silvo from the Noun Project


















Created by trang5000 from the Noun Project




Created by Silvo from the Noun Project


23 7 Key Actions


Durham CAN conducted actions that built power and relationships in our communities

Budget | Expenses


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report



Jonathan Abels

Brad Fulton

Stephen Schewel

Marian Abernathy

Bobi Lee Gallagher

Shanon Schuster

Rosa Anderson

John Grimm

Joan Seiffert

Caroline Armacost

Rachel Hardy

Linda Sherck

Michael Bacon

Polly Harris

William Shingleton

Thomas Bacon

Tom Harris

Jessica Singagliese

Daniel Barco

Catherine Hopkins

Kathleen Stasser

Lorelie Bingham

Robin Eason Irving

Spruce Creative Studio

Lanier Blum

Philip Jakes

James & Claudia Svara

Luke Bretherton

Jancy Johnstone

Susan Taylor

Mikael Broadway

Robert Kellogg

Ketty Thelemaque

Kristen Brooks

Robert & Jeanne Kruhm

David Thiessen

Frank Brown

Heather Ladd

Becky Winders

Larry Bumgardner

Elinor Landess

Rebecca Winders

Elizabeth Byrd

Fran Langstaff

Elizabeth Wintermute

Fidelity Charitable

Rick Larson

Molly Brummett Wudel

Margaret Chotas

Jonathan Lauffer

Clare Adkin

Timothy Conder

Lisa Lewis

Sally Adkin

William Rhett Davis

Eugene Lofton

Stu Albirght

Hayden Dawes

Theodore Luebke

Jenni Albright

Robert Dilworth

Wilma S. Mack

Timothy Allen

Atinuke and Joshua Diver

Gair McCullough

Kathy Asencio

Andrew Doll

DiJuana McDougal

Aimee W. Bellows

Ellis Driver

Alan McNamee

Laura Benedict

Susan Dunlap

Joel Jostin Music

Susan Benfield

Mark Evans

James Petrea

Judi Bishop

Jourdan Fairchild

Church of Reconciliation

Virginia Brendlen

Martin Feinstein

Timothy Riggs

Phyllis Briggs

Joanna Fogle

Joseph Roso

Ada Brown

Carolyn Fryberger

Jessica Russell

Keith Brown

Donors | Individual Donors


Tim Scales & Abby Cannon

Cornell Harris

Edward & Caroline Pritchett

Nancy Carstens

Rheba Heggs

Alice Ratliff

Alexander Charns

Martha L Henderson

Erica Ridderman

Kimberly Chavis

Brian Heymans

Carol Rollins

Alex Cho

Donna Hicks

John Rublein

David Connelly

Steven Hill

Mark Rutledge

Corynne Corbett

Sharon Hirsch

Guendalina Shaw-Pieters

Beverly Council

Theresa & James Hoke

Melissa Simmermeyer

Maryann Crea

Dabney Hopkins

Lila Singer

Katie Crowe

Derrick Horton

Matt Soffer

Gail Austin Curry

Lynne Howard

Casey Stanton

Amy Daniels

Davon Howell

David Stein

Carolyn Davenport

Douglas James

Ann Stock

Laura Marie Davis

Tanya Johnson

John Tallmadge

Nancy Davis

Jeffrey Johnston

Zakilya Taylor-Thompson

William & Margaret Dolbow

Rose Jones-Boyd

Patricia Townsend

Nancy Donny

Charles Kimpel

Barbara VanDeworstein

Anne & Jim Drennan

Kristen Kruhm

Edna Vann

Maketa Dunn

Clarence Laney

Sandra Walker

Sarah Fishback

LaSherri Leathers

Richard Whitaker

Felicia Flanders

Jenny Loome

Deborah Williams

Matt Flooding

Margaret McCann

Mel Williams

Marcia Flooding

Ralph C. McCoy

Tony Williams

Christina Folger

Shajuana McMillan

Jane Williams

Amanda & Craig Fratik

Kathleen McNamee

Katrina Williams

Melissa Fretwell

Ellen Metcalf

Betty Wolfe

George & Austin Family Fund

Mark-Anthony Middleton

Melinda Keenan Wood

Kienetra Garcia

Cortney Morgan

Ajax Woolley

Susie Gilbert

Pamela Morrison

Joseph Woolley

Deirdre Gordon

Alexander Motten

Emily Yeatts

Gregory Green

David & Donna Musgrave

Tommy Grimm

Anthony Nicholson

James Gudaitis

Teressa Parkinson

Richard Hails

Ivan Kohar Parra

Heidi Hannapel

Ruth Petrea

Jane Harper

Alice Poffinberger

- Indicates Friend of CAN - Indicates Turkey Trot Donor

Donors | Individual Donors


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

TURKEY TROT FOR JUSTICE In 2020, Durham CAN hosted its first-ever Turkey Trot for Justice. Members were encouraged to run, walk, or donate to earn points for their institutions as part of a friendly competition. This mini power-building exercise brought our members closer at a time when we have never been further apart. Together, we mobilized ninety-seven people across fifteen institutions, walked 962 miles, and raised $5505-- more than double our fundraising goal. Congratulations to St. Philips, Trinity Avenue, and Abundant Hope for coming in first, second and third, respectively.



Susie Gilbert (and Family)

Heather Ladd

Matt Flooding

Sally Adkin

Edna Van

Molly Wudel

Zakilya Taylor-Thompson

Frank Brown

Jenni Albright

Tony Williams

Katrina Williams

Phyllis Briggs

Carolyn Davenport

Kathy Asencio

Cortney Morgan

Lynne Howard

Davon Howell

Teressa Parkinson

Robin Irving

Pator Clarence Laney

Robert Kruhm

Kathleen Stasser

Robert Kruhm

Katie Crowe

Shajuana McMillan

Stu Albirght

Nancy Carstens

Clare Adkin

Barbara VanDeworstein.

Judi Bishop

Ketty Thelemaque

Susan Taylor

Patricia Townsend

Ruth Petrea

Ada Brown

Rachel Hardy

Phil Jakes

Kirsten Kruhm

Deirdre Gordon

Corynee Corbett

Marcia Flooding

Donors | Turkey Trot

Turkey Trot Results We more than doubled our original fundraising goal


Donors | Turkey Trot


Durham CAN 2020 Annual Report

GRANTS The Durham CAN team thanks the following organizations for their support of our work and their continued positive impact within our community.


Financials | Grants




(919) 627-1769


732 Ninth Street, #604, Durham, NC 27705



DESIGN Erin Light (919) 937-0041 erin@durhamcan.org

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