In 2019, North Carolina’s poverty rate was 13.6 percent, meaning 1.4 million people live in poverty, without adequate or affordable housing options. In rural areas, this problem is even worse, with one in of five children reported to be living at or below the poverty line. In the last 20 years, a radical demographic transformation has occurred in certain areas of North Carolina. The boom of recreational development and gated communities created an influx of wealthy, part-time residents. This has driven the cost of real estate up so high that most middle- and low-income families can’t afford to purchase homes. As a result, many have had to relocate to mobile homes. In response to the increasing cost of land, local manufacturing industries relocated to other counties. This industry was the backbone of the community and employed many of the middle class, who followed them in the change. As the cost of living has skyrocketed, job opportunities have decreased drastically. The “housing wage”* is now up to $10.50 per hour, but most of the working lower class earns closer to minimum wage ($7.25 per hour). At this rate, residents working at or near minimum wage would have to work nearly 100 hours per week in order to afford a two-bedroom home in the area. This summer, HumanitarianXP Builders will be constructing homes for those in need of affordable housing. Builders will have the opportunity to build homes from the ground up, and see the life-changing difference that safe, secure housing makes for families. *Housing Wage: The amount a person working 40 hours per week must earn per hour in order to afford a two-bedroom unit in a given area.