Affordable Housing Tipping Point in Charlotte

Charlotte saw the writing on the wall, and decided to act decisively in addressing its lack of affordable housing options.

2 minute read

February 20, 2019, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Downtown Charlotte

Ed Florentino / Shutterstock

J. Brian Charles reports on the city of Charlotte's ambitious efforts to address it housing crisis, most notable by tripling the amount of bond funding for the city's affordable housing trust fund.  

"Typically, Charlotte has gone to residents every two years and asked for support in the form of $15 million in bond funding. But in 2018, Charlotte asked for and received voter approval for $50 million in bond funding," according to Charles.

"The city will use some of its additional bond money to acquire property adjacent to transit and commercial centers, pair the housing trust fund dollars with federal Community Development Block Grant funds to create mixed-income housing, expand the development of rental housing through Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and ensure that publicly funded developments set aside at least 20 percent of units for families earning less than 30 percent of the area’s median income."

According to Charles, two events caused the city's more ambitious approach to affordable housing in the city: 1) a 2014 study [pdf] ranking the city dead last among the nation's 50 largest cities in economic mobility and 2) a 2016 killing of an African-American man named Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte police officers.

As a result, "[t]he city and its surrounding county formed the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Opportunity Task Force. The work of the task force culminated with a report released last summer [pdf], which called for a new, more multipronged approach to increasing affordable housing."

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