Tuesday June 22, 2010 | Affordable Housing in Charlotte

June 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Posted in Coming Up | 11 Comments

It’s a topic that has received a lot of attention this year, due to repeated attempts by the Charlotte Housing Authority to build more needed affordable housing in neighborhoods around the city. The very loud outcry by people already living in those neighborhoods has thwarted plans for such developments several times already this year and have caused the city council to re-think the policies by which they measure whether a neighborhood is a good fit for affordable housing. We’ll talk about those policies and how they may change, about exactly what affordable housing is, and how city leaders plan to remedy the housing problem.
Guests
Warren Cooksey
– City Council Member (District 7) and Member of the Housing and Neighborhood Development Committee
Pat Mumford
Director of Neighborhood and Business Services Division for the City of Charlotte and Former Member of the Charlotte City Council

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  1. Charlotte has an affordable housing occupancy problem. According to the Real Data March 2010 report there are more than 4,000 30+year old vacant units available with the average rent at $574 a month, There are 5,000 homeless, and these vacant workforce houses. How do we connect the dots? There is always talk about getting the homeless off the streets, there are more than enough vacant workforce housing available, how can we help them get placed and support them to stay off the streets? One successful organization is the WISH Program that encourages residents to live an independent, responsible and productive life. We believe that the support program will teach/refresh job skills, budgeting counseling, motivation to make positive changes, encourage the resident to seek higher paying employment, problem solving techniques to defuse daily dilemmas There is housing available for much less than $574. A quick Charlotte craigslist.com search for units under $575 found 1000 units posted for rent only as far back as June 7th. Two people making minimum wage qualifies for these units. We want to work towards ending homelessness but housing providers need help with the supportive housing element to keep our residents from becoming homeless again. It is evident that most of our residents are one paycheck away from eviction. Council members should be concerned about bringing more businesses to hire the unemployed or underemployed. Charlotte has many employable residents that are highly skilled and ready to work. They need the opportunity to work to their full potential, and their job growth is stunted with these low-wage jobs. We need to fill these vacant units before we build another unit.

    • Bo- You wouldn’t believe the upkeep costs on houses 30 years and older. US houses are built to crmble before the mortgage is paid.

      • Yes I would believe the upkeep cost. I live in a home built in 1939. My brother lives in a house built around 1800. I manage apartments built in the 60s and 70s. I would love to show anyone our model and units available at Oak Park at Briar Creek to see what work force housing is really like in Charlotte.

  2. I volunteer at a homeless community center and while there are many low-cost rental units already available in Charlotte, the biggest complaint I hear is that many are not near public transportation. How does the city move forward with this issue?

  3. There are plenty of housing on bus lines,for example, there are homes/apartments in and around the Plaza Midwood area and the I-85/Sugar Creek area, but we need supportive services for these individuals and families. These services will help with budgeting, job skills, education, family skills, resume writing, etc.

    • I can’t believe you think resume writing skills can improve a deprived person’s chances in this economy. That’s truly stupid.

  4. The big problem, the word no one wants to say, the elephant in the room, and the reason there is so much opposition to “affordable housing” is in a word… BEHAVIOR.

    There would not be so much opposition to “affordable”, rather subsidized housing, if it were not for the behavior of the occupants that inhabit most of them. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth.

    There are neighborhoods in the town I work in Shelby, North Carolina, where low-paid mill workers lived for several generations. The homes were very modest, with low rent for the workers, but the neighborhoods were safe, well-kept, and relatively crime free.

    Those very same neighborhoods, those very same homes, are now occupied as subsidized house, the children go to the VERY SAME schools, therefore they are afforded the same educational opportunities as everyone else in this county. Yet, the homes and neighborhoods are now littered, unkempt, and crime-riddled.

    Again, the problem is in the BEHAVIOR of the people who tend to occupy subsidized housing. A better alternative would be REAL affordable housing, small homes built for under $80,000, that had to be PURCHASED by low-income WORKING PEOPLE. Habitat for Humanity type homes. When people own their property, it helps a lot as well. We, the working poor who do not qualify for subsidized housing and the other government “hand-outs”, but who would like to live closer to Charlotte for the job opportunites there, but can’t afford it, are the ones who always seem to fall through the cracks.

    I own my own modest $70,000 home here in Cleveland county. I am a single working mother who makes $20,000 a year, which is TOO MUCH for any government assistance. But I would love to be able to move closer to Charlotte, because that is where the better jobs are. The jobs are dismal here in our small town. WE are the ones who should have the chance to purchase “affordable” housing in the nicer city areas. The working people. And the objections to this kind of affordable housing would be a lot less.

    Thanks for listening.

    • You’re half right Kim. Slumlords have crappy behavior. You as a homeowner will never experience the humiliation of Section 8 living. People at the bottom are the prey of everything coming and going. This country has a thriving poverty industry. Living waged jobs for everyone willing and able to work is the only answer. Dignity at work produces dignity at home. It’s disrespect of workers and exploitation that produces and maintains an underclass. Makework jobs to fix the community would be superior to the system we have. At present employers have almost a life and death control considering the economy. You should see some of the threatening and ridiculous memos I’ve collected from mistreated employees. Idiots and monsters are in charge everywhere in corporate business. Ever thought how a union would help out on your job, Kim?

      My estimation is that house prices are inflated with average wages so low, especially in NC. New homes are over-priced too. And quality small houses are not being constructed. Building human rat warrens produces human rats.

      • I manage apartments built in the 60s and 70s. I would love to show anyone our model and units available at Oak Park at Briar Creek to see what work-force housing is really like in Charlotte. We have onsite management and 24/7 maintenance.

      • Who owns and profits from the rentals you are managing? When you say labor force, what is the unit income per bedroom in your complex? (You have employment data on the application, analyze it.) I expect people have to double up to get by considering wages in Charlotte. They do in Gastonia and Mooresville; as I know from experience. I hope the big man throws you a tidbit for your backhanded advertising.

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