A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
2020 was an unprecedented year in which we all faced new challenges. The biggest of these being COVID-19, which has had profound impacts on our health, sense of security, and our economy. Neighborhood Improvement Services (NIS) quickly pivoted to help to face these new challenges brought on by a global pandemic. We began hosting virtual community meetings, distributing masks and other needed supplies in the community, and we worked to disseminate information about rent, housing, and utility emergency assistance. We did all of this and more while continuing our work in the community, even if we must be six feet apart. While we may be distanced, we are not disconnected from Durham residents.
This past year also presented us with new opportunities to serve the community. COVID-19 highlighted the disparities facing many residents, particularly communities of color and essential workers. Our opportunity, then, is not only to support neighbors through these difficult times but to reimagine what equity looks like in our communities. The efforts of NIS this past year to support residents facing extraordinary challenges demonstrated that innovation and resilience are essential qualities of our department.
Our programs and services are always evolving to improve the quality of life for Durham residents. In this report, you will find Our Story—who we are, how we serve Durham residents, and how our work changed in 2020. At NIS we know that the small good deeds we do for one another can have a huge impact on our neighborhoods and the City of Durham.
Thank you for allowing us to serve you!
- Residential Property Code
- Non-residential Building Code
- Unsafe Buildings (NC Statute) Citations
- Trash and Overgrowth Ordinance
- Junk Vehicles Ordinance
Neighborhood Preservation - Housing Security for Low-income Homeowners
- Assist low-income homeowners with code violations to improve their homes to minimum housing code standards
- Create and expand neighborhood cohesion by utilizing multiple resources to achieve code compliance
Community-Centered Code Enforcement
- Educational outreach through neighborhood canvassing in partnership with community
- Volunteer project support
It is our vision to end discrimination in any form and our goal to instill mutual respect and civility among all people and to make Durham into a model community for our state, nation and world. Our mission is to improve race and human relations in the City of Durham by enforcing the federal Fair Housing Act and the Fair Housing Ordinance of the City of Durham and prioritizing community outreach and educational activities to meet the needs of our citizens.
- Enforce Federal Fair Housing Act; Durham’s Fair Housing Ordinance
- Fair Housing Investigations/Outreach
- Liaison to the Mayor’s Hispanic/Latino Committee and Human Relations Commission
EQUITABLE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: A PARADIGM SHIFT
Equitable Community Engagement is the Hallmark of the City's Community Engagement Division
Building trusting relationships with community members is foundational. It begins long before initiative or project implementation and starts with 1:1 resident connections and grows to community-wide trust. It must be consistently and continuously nurtured. Relationships and the resulting trust between residents and City government is both the root and sum of all equitable engagement activities.