Meck County leaders want to take steps to battle affordable housing crisis

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County wants to take steps to battle the affordable housing crisis. County leaders are poised to make significant investments in this issue.

"We've talked about it long enough -- the sooner we implement the better," Commissioner Mark Jerrell said.

County Manager Dena Diorio is proposing numerous possibilities commissioners can pursue to help bring more affordable units.

[Click here for the list of possibilities]

Possibilities include a $3 million grant for the Smithville neighborhood in Cornelius. Providing this cash would allow nearby land to be purchased for new homes and for the existing ones to be revitalized. Another option is modeled after Denver, Colorado.

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Channel 9 has reported on it in the past that in Denver, there is a private-public partnership to fill vacancies at premium apartment complexes.

Participants pay 35 percent of the rent, while the county and public partners pick up the rest.

In a city like Charlotte where luxury apartments are easy to find, Commissioner Mark Jerrell said this may be something to explore.

"We certainly have the talent to be creative and take best practices from other areas," he said.

Jerrell is most excited about an effort to try to bring a new mixed-income community to Grier Heights.

The county wants to put a request for qualifications out to developers to bring an affordable housing complex to the old Tom Ray Center property.

Another proposal would create a county rental subsidy fund.

Diorio is gathering commissioner feedback and will include affordable housing options in her proposed budget.