Organization looks at maximizing space to help families find affordable homes

CHARLOTTE — An organization in Charlotte that addresses the affordable housing crisis says maximizing space in the city is a way to get more families into homes.

Channel 9′s Elsa Gillis spoke with Tameka Gunn, the president and CEO of the housing nonprofit Community Link, to discuss solutions.

Gunn said space should be maximized as Charlotte continues to grow in population but not in size.

“There’s not going to be any more land out here, but we can maximize by changing the way some neighborhoods look,” Gunn said. “A lot of neighborhoods are just single-family but if you take a lot and you are able to divide it up and you put in a quadruplex, that’s four units on one lot.”

That is something Community Link is participating in.

Part of their work is to educate people to become and stay homeowners and to help find safe, affordable housing.

They’ve partnered with a builder to construct six single-family homes in a west Charlotte neighborhood. Two of them have accessory dwelling units in the back, which is a one-bedroom apartment for a tenant.

“What happens is, the owner of the home, they own that,” Gunn said. “But throughout this time, they are getting some ground lease, ground money. They are getting money every single month toward this home, so this is another way to help families build wealth. And again, those types of creative solutions are what’s going to be the answer.”

Gunn said another significant piece of the puzzle is public transportation.

Many people are moving out of Charlotte, or out of Mecklenburg County for more affordable housing.

What do they do if they work in the city and don’t have a car?

Gunn said talking with officials from surrounding towns, cities, and counties about coming together is important.

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