Goal 3: Housing Access for All
Charlotte will ensure opportunities for residents of all incomes to access affordable housing through the preservation of naturally occurring affordable and workforce housing and increasing the number of affordable and workforce housing units through new construction.
- 3a)Increase housing opportunities for households with limited or no vehicle access by increasing the number of affordable rental and deed-restricted housing units, targeting households at 80% AMI or less, within ½ mile of Activity Centers and high performance transit.
- 3b)Retain the number of naturally occurring affordable and workforce housing units in the community by managing change within existing neighborhoods.
- 3c)Increase the number of affordable and workforce units targeting households at 80% AMI or less within mixed-income developments (e.g. affordable and workforce units mixed with market rate units).
- 3d)Reduce the cost burden on households spending more than 45% of household income on housing and transportation.
- 3e)Reduce the cost burden on households spending more than 30% of household income on housing.
- 3f)Increase the number of homeownership opportunities for low to moderate-income households, especially in areas with low Access to Housing Opportunity scores, as identified by the Equitable Growth Framework.
- 3g)Dedicate at least 10% of future housing trust funds to homeownership in areas with low Access to Housing Opportunity scores, as identified by the Equitable Growth Framework.
- 3h)Increase housing opportunities and supporting infrastructure and amenities for residents choosing to age in place.
Big Policy Ideas
- Lead the charge to pass enabling legislation for mandatory inclusionary zoning and implement throughout the community.
- Create a robust program of restorative justice targeting homeownership, creation and growth of small business, and equity building for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community, including strategic application of existing tools (e.g. low interest loans, small business assistance, etc.) and development of new tools (e.g. community land trusts, land banks, commercial lease assistance, etc.).
- 3.1Investigate new City-wide regulatory programs that require or incentivize development of affordable housing in mixed-income developments, in standalone affordable housing developments, and in targeted neighborhoods as defined by the Equitable Growth Framework and consistent with the Plan. This may include advocating changes to state law to enable conditional zoning to require the inclusion of affordable housing units in areas lacking affordable housing options, and applying the bonus program for affordable housing currently included in TOD districts to other Activity Centers and other targeted Place Types.
- 3.2Encourage changes to state law that hamper the development of affordable housing, or that block City efforts to increase the stock of affordable housing, such as allowing fee waiver programs for affordable housing, broadening the allowable uses of tax increment, or fee reimbursement for projects that meet affordability standards.
- 3.3Develop market-focused regulatory and administrative changes to encourage production of affordable housing.
- 3.4Implement neighborhood character overlay districts where appropriate to encourage preservation of existing smaller footprint and Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) units.
- 3.5Encourage development of a variety of housing product types, including affordable and workforce units, in Activity Centers by reducing or eliminating parking requirements and/or using shared parking, increasing height or density allowances when these units are built, or providing other development incentives (applies to Regional Activity Center, Community Activity Center, Neighborhood Center, and Campus). (cross-reference: Goal 1, Goal 4)
- 3.6Use the Place Type Manual (in the Manuals and Metrics) to guide design transitions within neighborhoods to more intense use types that can accommodate affordable and workforce housing (applies to Neighborhood 1 and Neighborhood 2).
- 3.7Encourage and address barriers to the development of transit-oriented housing. (cross-reference: Goal 4)
- 3.8Explore ways to encourage housing developments to include childcare facilities or that provide funding for such facilities through Community Benefits Agreements or financial or regulatory incentives.
- 3.9Ensure continued viability and regulatory compliance of naturally occurring affordable housing, including manufactured housing (i.e. mobile homes).
- 3.10Support an increased Housing Trust Bond Allocation to expand programs and develop more units.
- 3.11Investigate ways the City and other public agencies can leverage financial resources or debt capacity to support incorporating affordable housing (for rent and/or ownership) into new development projects, such as use of tax increment revenues.
- 3.12Continue using publicly owned land (the City, County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) etc.) for development of affordable housing, especially in areas with low Opportunity for Housing equity metrics.
Support for Homeownership
- 3.13Continue preserving existing naturally occurring affordable housing, focusing on housing located in areas experiencing growth, through the creation and expansion of programs and efforts such as those available through Housing and Neighborhood Services and other community stakeholders.
- 3.14Continue to strengthen and expand access to homeownership opportunities for residents.
- 3.15Continue investing in improving the quality of existing affordable housing units.
- 3.16Increase efforts to make homeowners aware of the Mecklenburg County property tax relief program for elderly homeowners1 and consider working with the County to develop new programs to mitigate the impacts of rising property values on lower-income households, particularly in neighborhoods where housing costs are rapidly appreciating 2.
- 3.17Raise awareness of existing City programs supporting homeownership such as the Down Payment Assistance Programs through HouseCharlotte and Community Heroes.
- 3.18Coordinate and streamline existing programming that aids homeowners who desire to stay in their homes.
- 3.19Support the creation of affordable housing through strategic acquisition, land banking, and use of public land, and through the use of organizations such as community land trusts to purchase vacant land, land going into foreclosure, or land in other forms of receivership.
- 3.20Work with regional housing partners to ensure that City goals and policies guide implementation of affordable and workforce housing developments within the City’s planning area.
- 3.21Create sustainable homeownership in vulnerable communities through partnerships with banks and other financial agencies.
Recommended Projects and Programs
- 3.22Include provisions similar to the Bonus Menu included in the TOD Zoning Ordinance in some or all new zoning districts associated with Neighborhood 2, Community Activity Center and Regional Activity Center Place Types. A Bonus Menu is a system in a UDO allowing adjustments to development standards if select provisions are provided, typically benefiting the public.
- 3.23Develop an affordable housing nexus study to determine the relationship between new development and the demand it creates for affordable housing units.
- 3.24Provide regulatory incentives for mixed-income developments.
- 3.25Explore new and support existing public-private partnerships to build affordable housing on City-owned land, especially in areas with low transportation costs such as near high-performance transit stations.
- 3.26Use the Equitable Growth Framework metrics to evaluate privately initiated rezoning applications and their impact on affordability.
- 3.27Create an ombudsman office to support developers of affordable housing and the implementation of benefits to the community from development projects.
- 3.28Explore policies and programs to encourage inclusion of childcare facilities in all neighborhood types and Activity Centers.
- 3.29Support and expand the existing Housing First model and collective impact approach to providing housing and other support services to unsheltered residents.
Case Study: Restorative Justice in Asheville
Asheville, North Carolina is shifting from business as usual in launching their Resolution Supporting Community Reparations for Black Asheville, through which the City acknowledges systemic racism locally and nationally and how it has affected its Black community members. To make amends for the extensive racial injustice in the community’s history, Asheville is offering its Black community members new opportunities. The resolution directs the City Manager to establish a process to develop short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations to specifically address the creation of generational wealth and to boost economic mobility and opportunity in the Black community. It also states that “the resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority homeownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice.”
Case Study: Housing an Inclusive Denver
With reasonably priced and accessible housing becoming harder to come by in Denver, Colorado, the strategic document Housing an Inclusive Denver outlines approaches to create and preserve strong and opportunity-rich neighborhoods with diverse housing options that are affordable to all Denver residents. The goal is to create affordable housing in vulnerable areas in addition to areas of opportunity, while preserving affordability and housing quality. In addition, the City has focused on stabilizing areas with the highest risk of involuntary displacement while supporting the homeless population by providing them with a network of temporary and supportive housing options.
The City of Denver’s role includes:
- Coordinating housing investments with the City’s other affordability resources;
- Strengthening the City’s Preservation Ordinance;
- Supporting land-use regulations that incentivize affordable and mixed-use housing;
- Exploring additional forms of tax relief for low and moderate-income households struggling to keep up with rising property taxes; and
- Exploring a rental registry that would require landlords to register their rental properties and participate in regular inspections for health and safety standards.