Local Leaders Consider Options for Funding Affordable Housing

Jan 16, 2020

The Cape Fear Housing Coalition hosted the first Legislative Breakfast of 2020 on Thursday. Featured speaker Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan shared how her city passed a $25 million dollar affordable housing bond in 2016. WHQR reports local officials took note.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says affordable housing is a nationwide issue:

"It is a crisis and obviously this is one thing that we heard here today. It is a crisis not only here in Wilmington, but all over the state, all over the country.”

Saffo says there’s a lot more demand locally than there is supply, which is driving up home prices dramatically. And average salaries here aren’t as high as they are in Charlotte and Raleigh.

He also says the city is 98% built out, which means there’s not much land available to construct new homes. But he does say that New Hanover County has 41 square miles of undeveloped land left – the equivalent size of Wilmington.

Because of this, Saffo says the county and city should explore partnering on funding for affordable housing:

"But if a bond is passed in the future, it will be something that would be, have to be, discussed between the city and county because no one municipality or government agency going to be able to solve this problem by itself. We're going to need partnerships with our county brethren but also with the private sector, with nonprofit organizations."

The city and county have established a joint Workforce Housing Advisory Committee that meets monthly.