Our goal: Increase the number of apartments and homes affordable for working parents
Research confirms what we’ve long known – the neighborhoods and communities that families call home have enormous impacts on their children’s health, well-being and educational success.
Pediatricians, city planners, social workers, and teachers are all talking about the benefits of affordable, safe housing. Investing in proven affordability strategies – like down payment/rental assistance, public-private development loans, and repair/rehab – allows families to put down roots close to jobs and schools and raise our county’s next generation of innovators.
In Buncombe County, like many growing areas in the US, the increased costs of renting or buying a home have outpaced local wages. Many households in Buncombe County have difficulty affording their homes: 47% of renters and 23% of homeowners are considered “cost burdened” - paying more than 30% of their income on housing. The high costs of land, materials, and labor in our county make it challenging to build new units that are affordable. Local government can be part of the solution - adding resources and incentives to leverage private & nonprofit construction.
Our proposal: Increase the County Housing budget to a minimum $5M ($1.2M increase)
FFAB celebrates the new $1.4M in the County budget for housing and the creation of the new Affordable Housing Committee. And, the new committee is already having to make impossible choices with funding requests to the Affordable Housing Services Program (AHSP) exceeding available resources. Recently, the committee was unable to fully fund important home repair and new construction proposals that are essential to addressing our local housing crisis.
FFAB supports increasing the county allocation to an annual minimum of $5M as well as creating separate funding application process for new construction loans/grants from the other AHSP funding areas. As the County finishes its funding commitments to the Lee Walker Heights redevelopment, the County should set targets and develop a funding stream to help leverage construction using the 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.
City Housing Trust Fund allocation of $600,000, with additional funds for other non-construction initiatives that support housing affordability and access (minimum $300,000 increase).
FFAB recognizes the support City Council provides to the Housing Trust Fund and implementation of the City’s $25M affordable housing bond that will wrap-up in 2024 with expanded homeownership and rental investments. FFAB proposes increasing the allocation to the Housing Trust Fund by $100,000 for a total of $600,000. Additionally, the City should have funds ($200,000 minimum) available for innovative efforts that could increase utilization of Housing Choice Vouchers and provide general operating support to support the Asheville Buncombe Community Land Trust in creating permanently affordable housing, among other ideas.
What this investment provides:
- 200-300 new affordable apartments/homes approved to begin construction.
- 100+ existing homes renovated to keep existing residents in a safe, affordable home.
- 20+ new families able to find a place to rent with Housing Choice Vouchers – there are over 200 Housing Choice Vouchers in our county that go unused because of low vacancy rates and unwillingness from some landlords to accept the voucher for payment.