June 20, 2023
In about 90 minutes, three practitioners in the housing assistance space outlined some of the many barriers in the way of ensuring that every Charlotte-Mecklenburg family unit can find a safe, affordable place to live. Among those barriers:
– Demand is vast and supply is paltry.
– Land costs have risen exponentially.
– There isn’t enough money to subsidize mortgages or rents– or construction costs – to a level that families can afford.
–NIMBY (“not in my back yard”) remains alive.
There were some messages of hope. Perhaps the UDO (Charlotte’s new unified development ordinance) will unlock some land for multifamily development. Perhaps the city will double its biennial housing bond ask to $100 million, and maybe the voters will approve. Monthy rents have ballooned so much that some families will be able to finance their own home for less than renting an apartment. Education programs are helping prospective home buyers not only be prepared to manage home ownership’s challenges, but to help them clear some of the underbrush of credit card or student loan debt that makes some families ineligible for assistance. Perhaps, maybe, possibly, lenders will create a loan program that combines mortgage and student loan debt into a single, more manageable instrument.
Julie Porter is president of DreamKey Partners, the nonprofit formed in 1988 as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership to “to expand affordable and well-maintained housing and promote stable neighborhoods for low- and moderate-income families in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.”
Laura Belcher is president and CEO of Habitat Charlotte Region, launched in 1983 by seven church as an affiliiate of Habitat for Humanity.
Shannon Burns is homeownership program manager for Inlivian, the former Charlotte Housing Authority, formed in 1939 as a conduit for federal investments in public housing. Burns filled in on short notice for Inlivian President & CEO A. Fulton Meachem, who has headed CHA/Inlivian since 2012.
The video below includes a wealth of detail for residents young and old who are exploring their housing options. The detail is a bit overwhelming. Those entering this maze would do well to seek a very knowledgeable guide.