affordable housing

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North Carolina’s moratorium on evictions expired in late June. The federal moratorium ended a month later. As a result, housing advocates are bracing for a wave of evictions in the upcoming months -- and local governments and non-profits are stepping in to help.

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It’s been a tough year in the world of municipal finance -- with the pandemic making it difficult if not impossible to predict how the economic crisis will affect localities. Nonetheless, the Wilmington City Council will vote Tuesday, June 16 on whether or not to adopt its proposed 2020-2021 fiscal year budget.

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.

Katelyn Freund

The lack of affordable housing has become an important public issue in New Hanover County. On Tuesday, the joint City of Wilmington/County Workforce Housing Advisory Committee met to approve a draft Request for Proposal to identify a consultant who will conduct a comprehensive housing study, along with a public opinion survey. Those in the field say the problem may finally be getting the attention it deserves.

Hannah Breisinger


 Wilmington’s City Council has a new addition. Kevin Spears was sworn in December 3, 2019, alongside Neil Anderson, Mayor Bill Saffo, and Mayor Pro Tem Margaret Haynes. 

Affordable housing.  It’s a phrase that towns and cities are attempting to define – and it’s a sector of the real estate market that local leaders are struggling to foster.  


Niki Cutler is one of six candidates on the ballot for Oak Island Town Council. She’s a musician and piano teacher, and in 2014, established a town service to address the issue of overflowing trash carts. She’s running because she thinks the current council’s priorities are in the wrong place. 

Vince Winkel

In the run-up to the 2019 municipal elections, we find most candidates have the terms, “affordable housing” and “workforce housing” in their vernacular and high on their list of priorities. There is growing demand. But is there growing supply? 

Kimberly Spader is running for Wilmington City Council. She works as a licensed clinical social worker, and wants to use her listening skills to create open dialogue between city council and residents.

Vince Winkel

The cost of affordable housing in the Cape Fear region keeps on rising. Average rental prices jumped more than 5 percent in Wilmington last year, according to rental aggregator Apartment List. That’s above the rest of the state, and the country. The Cape Fear Housing Coalition addressed the issue at its annual housing and legislative breakfast this morning.

Good Shepherd Center

A third of the population in New Hanover County pays more than they can afford for housing.  That’s true for both homeowners and renters, but in the rental market, it’s worse.  Nearly half -- about 46% of people who rent in New Hanover County pay more than a third of their income for housing.  Some community leaders call that a clear sign of a shortage of affordable housing. 

Gentrification is a loaded word.  It typically connotes a rise in property values in a traditionally low-income neigborhood.  Wealthier people move in.  Those who’ve lived there and are already struggling to pay bills from month to month can no longer afford to live there due to rising rents and property taxes. 

WHQR/gg

Paul D'Angelo is the Chair of the Cape Fear Housing Coalition. His passion for affordable housing inspired him to create The Real Households of North Carolina tour, an event on Saturday, September 9 that will bring participants in contact with 8 affordable homes and the organizations that made them possible. Listen to Paul talk about the event above, and read our extended conversation below.

Harold K. Jordan Contractors/Tise Keister Architecture

Wilmington Good Shepherd Center provides many services to the hungry and homeless in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties. It's the largest provider in the Cape Fear Region. Services include meals, a night and day shelter, soup kitchen, and employment assistance. The Center has worked on a project for years for expansion on property near Greenfield Lake, and it's finally becoming a reality. Senior Development Director Jane Birnbach says that over 3/4 of the capital campaign goal for this project has been raised; listen above for details. 

North Carolina Housing Coalition & Cape Fear Housing Coalition

Recently, the topic of affordable housing has been in the spotlight in the Cape Fear region, and in North Carolina as a whole.  Just last month, Wilmington City Council established a committee to investigate solutions to the lack of affordable places to live.  At a recent public hearing held by the Cape Fear & North Carolina Housing Commissions, attendees tossed around ideas for solutions. 

Good Shepherd Center

Most Americans look forward to a feast on Thanksgiving Day.  It’s a day of gratitude, time with family, and let’s be honest – unbridled consumption.  But for more than half a million people, the question of what to cook for the big dinner is overshadowed by much more basic concerns:  where to spend the night, how to stay warm, where to find food – any food.

Plan New Hanover County / http://planningdevelopment.nhcgov.com/plan-nhc/plannhc/overview/

To tackle the divide between high home prices and low wages, regional business leaders suggest increasing incomes through targeted economic development.  But at a recent roundtable discussion, local government representatives came at it from a different angle: lowering housing costs.

The heads of Wilmington City Council and the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners agree that partnerships between local government and developers are part of the solution to the region’s lack of affordable housing.  Here’s Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo:

Flickr Creative Commons -- https://www.flickr.com/photos/11032456@N08/

At a recent roundtable focused on the lack of affordable housing in the Cape Fear region, local representatives suggested ways of lowering the high cost of housing.  But some business leaders proposed a different route: raising incomes to meet housing prices.

City of Wilmington

In the Cape Fear region, there’s a large and growing gap between high home prices and low wages.  At a recent roundtable, regional government and business leaders discussed this disparity.  Who is affected by the lack of housing affordability?  And how does it affect the community at large?

City of Wilmington

In New Hanover and Pender counties, almost 40% of homeowners are cost burdened, meaning they spend over a third of their income on housing. That’s not even factoring in renters, who are about half of the local population. This lack of affordable options leads to housing instability, which hits those who’ve already had a hard knock—like imprisonment and illness—especially hard. 

http://www.wilmingtonnc.gov/

Over five thousand New Hanover County residents are in need of affordable housing assistance. This week, community leaders came together to discuss solutions at the Mayor’s Roundtable on Housing Affordability.

The roundtable’s panelists agree that a major barrier to bringing more affordable housing to Wilmington is the stigma surrounding the term, which many citizens equate with public housing.

New Hanover County Chairman Jonathan Barfield, Jr. says people need to be educated about what affordable housing really means: 

A Wilmington program is helping low-income families find affordable, safe housing while also boosting the local economy by supporting small business.

The Wilmington Housing Authority is accepting applications for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program waiting list for the first time in three years. Under the program, the housing authority pays a subsidy to the landlord while the renter pays the difference. When a voucher becomes available, the housing authority gives it to those on the waiting list.

City of Wilmington

It’s taken eight years of planning, but within the next twelve months, work could begin on a new permanent supportive housing facility near Greenfield Lake. WHQR’s Isabelle Shepherd reports the space would provide affordable housing for 40 disabled people. 

Permanent supportive housing resembles ordinary rental agreements. The difference: It is geared towards the disabled, including veterans and the elderly.

Scott Davidson

The Wilmington Housing Authority is cracking down on crime in public housing communities. At Monday's monthly board meeting, a UNCW graduate student is presenting a study on criminal activity in affordable housing. And the Authority is proposing sweeping policy changes in an effort to get public housing residents and their visitors off the streets late at night.