Charlotte looks at affordable housing funding options

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new report to Charlotte City Council shows the city is in need of 21,195 affordable rental units.

A report prepared by Enterprise Community Partners indicated the city has a surplus of housing for people who earn 80 percent of the city's average median income. There's a gap of 21,195 units for low- and extremely-low-income residents.

Activists called for Charlotte City Council to find creative and effective solutions to what they call an affordable housing crisis.

Sunshine Cunningham said she is struggling to find a place to live. She's being kicked out of the Twin Oaks apartments because her landlord sold the property to a developer.

"I shouldn't have to call my family," she said. "I am 41-years old. I shouldn't have to call and ask them can I sleep on the couch."

Cunningham is one of the thousands of people struggling in Charlotte trying to find an affordable place to live.

The city has a goal of building 5,000 units in three years and so far, funding has been committed to 44 percent of those projects.

Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera said the hard work is just beginning.

"We are taking some aggressive steps," she said.

The city has a Housing Trust Fund they can use for these projects.

Next month, the city is going to vote on spending more than $20 million to build 769 units throughout the city.

This will nearly deplete that fund but activist and City Council candidate Braxton Winston said it is the smart thing to do.

"We have to think differently," he said. "The way we do things has to change."

If all 769 units are approved, the Housing Trust Fund will only have $1.4 million. Councilwoman Lawana Mayfield said this will not hinder the city's ability to invest in affordable-housing projects.

The fund will have to be refilled with a voter approved bond resolution in 2018.

The 769 units would be placed in Grier Heights, west Charlotte, southwest Charlotte and University City.

Cunningham hopes the city goes further so no one has to experience her struggle.

"The city needs to show they care," she said.

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