Charlotte mayor wants to increase city's affordable housing fund to $150M

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mayor Vi Lyles announced Thursday morning that she wants to make Charlotte’s affordable housing fund 10 times larger by increasing it to $150 million.

Lyles, speaking on affordable housing with former Mayor Anthony Foxx at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, said she wants the city to approve $50 million.

"We can have a referendum this fall to support the housing efforts in this community for $50 million,” she said.

She’s asking the private sector to match $50 million and hopes that the faith and philanthropic community will match another $50 million.

Jennifer Coble said she runs into problems every day when she tries to help single working women find a place to live.

She said the only way they can make it on minimum wage is to find several roommates and take on a second job.

“It’s a daily challenge,” Coble said.

Lyles said it's still too soon to say how the city will come up with the money to solve the affordability crisis.

Her office told Channel 9 the city won't cut any other programs, so one other possible option is raising taxes.

Foxx said Lyles’ idea was bold and could be transformational.

"I think Charlotte is filled with heartfelt people who understand that the community has challenges that it needs to take on,” Fox said.

The city's Housing Trust Fund is funded by $15 million worth of voter-approved bonds every two years.

Critics have said that amount of money is inadequate, especially as rent and home prices continue to rise.

Coble said she hopes everyone in the city will start digging deep for donations.

"If we want an integrated, inclusive community, we're going to have to try. We can't not try,” Coble said.

Lyles said she is asking the city manager to add it to budget discussions so the City Council can find a way to get this issue on the bond referendum in the fall.

Foxx was asked if the city is doing enough to develop housing near transportation hubs.

Foxx, the former U.S. Transportation Secretary who now works for a national developer in New York, said he thinks the city will pay a heavy price in the long run because it didn't find a way to build affordable housing near the blue line extension that recently opened in north Charlotte.

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