“Affordable Housing: The Musical” blends powerful stories and good-humored political satire to reset the conversation about affordable housing in our community (and have some fun while doing it!).

Over the course of 15 months, our 30-person cast collectively created this musical. The show is set in the fictional town of Church Mound, but it’s fair to say that from start to finish in its development, the production is based on realities that people have faced living here in Orange County, North Carolina.

We were brought together by our shared belief that all members of our community deserve a safe place to call home. This musical is rooted in the lived experiences of workshop participants, many of whom have faced immense challenges finding affordable and safe housing in Chapel Hill. Alongside stories portraying the realities of living on the streets or in the shelters here, our cast took our experiences witnessing local debates about affordable housing, combined them, stirred them up, and put a magnifying glass to them — specifically, a magnifying glass held by those who are facing the consequences of the lack of housing here.

In Orange County, there is a gap of almost 5,000 housing units for households earning less than $20,000. And while 1 in 5 residents make less than 30% of Area Median Income, there are 0 available units of any size affordable to these families.

This is the crisis we are facing — in Chapel Hill as in countless towns across the country. This musical is our collective response: an outpouring of stories to illustrate this crisis in a new way, an outlet for dismay at the pace of change, and an outcry for a greater sense of urgency.

So, “Welcome to Church Mound” — a fictional town that may feel familiar, and whose issues are all too universal. We thank you for visiting!