With an estimated 60 people moving to Charlotte every single day, it is no secret that the Queen City has been growing rapidly in recent years. But with more residents comes a bigger demand for affordable housing, one that Charlotte has not been able to supply, causing a crisis. Before we dive into this month's focus, we have to first understand what we are talking about when we talk about affordable housing. The definition of affordable housing is "housing for which the occupant(s) is/are paying no more than 30 percent of his or her income for gross housing costs, including utilities."
Other key terms as we talk affordable housing:
Red Lining: the systematic denial of various services to residents of specific, often racially associated, neighborhoods or communities, either directly or through the selective raising of prices.
Gentrification: the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.
And while the city has tripled its spending to address the affordable housing shortage, as of now there are still an estimated 34,000 individuals and families in our area who are priced out of a home. There are police officers, government workers, teachers and many others who work so hard in our community who cannot afford to live in the Queen City.
Because of this incredible need for more affordable housing in Charlotte, this month we will be using our Spotlight Series, #SpotlightOnCLT: The Affordable Housing Crisis, presented by Ally, as a platform to address not only this need, but to shine a light on those who offer resources. In partnership with Ally, we will be highlighting our nonprofit partners who work to provide more affordable housing options for the Charlotte community as well as support those in our community who are most impacted by this issue.
Ally is one of three of Charlotte's largest financial corporations—alongside Bank of America and Barings— that recently revealed a combined investment of $70.8 million in affordable housing in Charlotte and the surrounding area. This initiative is the largest private-sector commitment to affordable housing in Charlotte’s 250 year long history (Source: Multi-Housing News).
Specifically, this combined committment by Ally, Bank of America and Barings includes $50 million in below-market loans to finance affordable-housing developments, $11 million to the Foundation for the Carolinas' Housing Opportunity Investment Fund, $2.5 million to economic-mobility programming and grants over the next five years, and $7.25 million in land donation for affordable housing (Source: Charlotte Business Journal).
Check out the list below to meet our nonprofit partners who are working to alleviate the Affrodable Housing Crisis.
CrossRoads Corporation’s mission is to revitalize Grier Heights neighborhood by working with Myers Park Church and stakeholders in Grier Heights. Their vision is that Grier Heights will be transformed residentially and economically, and the quality of life dramatically improved with a constant focus on justice to its residents throughout the process. CrossRoads Corporation also offers youth programs and job preparedness training to the Grier Heights Community.
Supportive Housing Communities mission is to provide affordable housing to alleviate homelessness and and to help end human suffering through supportive onsite services. Their vision is to develop and operate permanent supportive housing for men, women and families overcoming homelessness; especially veterans and those with mental illness, substance abuse, and medical or other disabling conditions.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, Inc. (The Housing Partnership) is a broad-based, nonprofit housing and economic development organization that has sought to expand affordable and well-maintained housing within stable neighborhoods for low and moderate-income families since 1989. To date, they have revitalized nine neighborhoods in Charlotte and created more than 2,600 units of affordable housing for families. Their vision is that everyone in Charlotte lives in a safe, affordable home in a vibrant community that supports opportunity and economic mobility!
Habitat for Humanity strives for a world where everyone has a decent place to live. They build strength, stability and self-reliance by partnering with families and communities in
new home construction, critical home repair, and neighborhood revitalization. Habitat Charlotte builds new homes with community volunteers, and also completes critical repairs to older, owner-occupied homes.
Renaissance West Community Initiative (RWCI's) mission is to promote a collaborative community centered on quality housing, education, health and wellness, and opportunity. Their vision is to end intergenerational poverty through a holistic community revitalization effort. RWCI opened a Pre-K through 8th grade school, Renaissance West STEAM Academy, in 2017 and jointly governs the school with Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. Through a plan guided by the residents needs and vision for their neighborhood, RWCI is a consistent support system in all areas of their lives.
Socialserve.com provides web- and call-center-based services locally and nationally to connect people to community-based housing. Their services link hundreds of thousands of people annually to safe, stable housing, from market-rate rentals to subsidized, accessible, veterans, senior, assisted, and disaster-relief housing. Socialserve.com is also a second chance employer, and is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by growing internal support for their employees.
Community Link’s mission is to enable individuals and families to obtain and sustain safe, decent and affordable housing. Most of their services are designed for low-to-moderate income wage earners and they provide a variety of resources to help them find stable housing. Community Link’s housing programs are comprehensive in that they include homeless services, homeownership, and financial literacy programs.
Rebuilding Together’s mission is that every person have a safe and healthy home. They strive to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities by providing free home modifications and repairs, making homes safer, more accessible and more energy efficient. Rebuilding Together aids disabled and aging homeowners in remaining in their homes for as long as possible, helps those displaced by natural disaster get back into safe housing, adapts veterans homes to meet their needs and more.
Vision Beyond The Eyes Inc is a referral service that links community resources to displaced and homeless families through community partnerships. Their ultimate goal is to obtain affordable housing and home ownership programs for their clients. Vision Beyond the Eyes works to close the gaps (food referrals, clothes, employment opportunities, financial literacy classes,entrepreneur classes, homeownership workshops) to meet the needs of those they serve.
The mission of Charlotte Family Housing is to empower families experiencing homelessness to achieve long-term self-sufficiency through shelter, housing, support services and advocacy. Charlotte Family Housing holds a deep belief in the strength and capability of the families they serve and build upon those strengths. Their empowerment-driven model produces lasting change, 91% of families who graduate from their program are still housed using their own earned income two years later.
Veteran’s Path Up’s mission is to provide affordable, stable housing to Veterans and Veteran families through the use of shared living, single family residences, and ultimately a path to home ownership. Their emphasis is to provide housing for homeless, working, and disabled veterans many of whom do not qualify for long term support from any government agency.
Urban Ministry Center is dedicated to bringing the community together to end homelessness, one life at a time. They provide basic services for our neighbors experiencing homelessness including a soup kitchen, laundry, showers, mail, telephone, and counseling to take specific steps necessary to end homelessness. They also have an array of enrichment programs including art, gardening, soccer, and a choir to build relationships with neighbors. They founded and facilitate Room In The Inn, providing temporary shelter during the coldest months and at their facility, Moore Place, they provide affordable, supportive housing to the chronically homeless.
The Relatives is a system of resources that helps children and youth find shelter and support. Their Youth Crisis Center, On Ramp Resource Center and Housing programs keep kids safe and families together. The Relatives serves as the Safe Place agency for Mecklenburg County and the surrounding area, partnering with local businesses to ensure young people in need have access to immediate help and supportive resources.