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Brunswick Co. Housing Costs Rising Faster Than Wages

By Peter Biello

Wilmington, NC – A study out of U-N-C Chapel Hill says the number of families in Brunswick County paying more than 50% of their income toward housing is on the rise.

Study authors William Rohe and Spencer Cowan of UNC Chapel Hill presented their findings to a packed conference room at Brunswick Community College. Rohe says the increase in housing costs are forcing working professionals like teachers, cops and nurses from living where they work.

We're talking about an increase in housing value that's over 10 times the increase in household incomes. I mean, that's startling. That's absolutely startling.

In the study, Rohe says regulations, mandates and financial incentives will pave the way for developers to create more affordable housing in Brunswick County.

Resea Willis, program director of Countywide Community Development Corporation and organizer of this year's summit, says she hopes to use the data to form the Brunswick Workforce Housing Coalition.

Of all the tools that we're going to have, the Coalition will be the most powerful. The Coalition will get us to inclusionary zoning. The Coalition will get us to having more developers come on board. When the people speak, people tend to listen.

Willis says the Coalition plans to hold monthly meetings, where both volunteers and politicians can work together to create more affordable housing in Brunswick County.