US Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) announced Wednesday, Sept. 9 that North Carolina would be receiving $46.9 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for affordable housing.
The money is from the CARES Act, which was passed in part to help alleviate the economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 related shutdowns.
Of that $46.9 million coming to the state, Greensboro is set to receive $1.6 million, which should be welcomed news to the Greensboro City Council.
The City Council has held two virtual work sessions lately to hear about and discuss a plan for affordable housing for the city that had been over a year in development. That plan, Housing GSO: Creating Opportunities to Build a Better Community, was developed by HR&A, an economic development, real estate and public policy consulting firm.
Housing GSO is a comprehensive plan for Greensboro to move forward with affordable housing, both rehabbing current housing, building new affordable housing, helping people become first time home owners and bringing back neighborhoods in distress, and comes with a price tag of an additional $50 million spent on affordable housing efforts over the next 10 years.
The plan notes that the unemployment spike caused by the COVID-19 shutdowns caused incomes to go down while rent prices increased, exacerbating a problem that already existed.
According to the plan, prior to COVID-19 Greensboro had the highest eviction rate of any large city in North Carolina, and the seventh highest eviction rate in the country.
The $1.6 million is, according to the report, much needed and is more than a drop in the bucket, but it still leaves Greensboro far short of the estimated $50 million in needs.
By comparison, Winston-Salem will receive $1.4 million, High Point $588,000, Durham $1.5 million, Charlotte $4.9 million, and Raleigh $2.7 million. It’s also worth noting that Mecklenburg County receives $850,000, Wake County $1.6 million, Cumberland County $850,000, Union County $540,000 and Guilford County $0.
Good to know our eviction rates are so high. The Housing GSO plan is very well presented and does address some of the questions I have regarding our affordable housing goals.
I do find it odd that one member of our city council, Michelle Kennedy, got to participate in the stakeholder focus groups in addition working on it as a city council member. It feels like a lack of independence and/or conflict of interest, but that’s just me.
Here’s a link for convenience if anyone else wants to look at the presentation. Page 2 has a list of stakeholder focus group participants & their respective organizations.
Logic would lead me to believe that rents are increasing because of the evictions moratorium. Landlords need rent/funds to cover the mortgage payment and operating expenses. The unpaid rentals against which they have no current recourse (to evict and rent again) have left them short of the necessary funds, so they raise the rents on all units in an attempt to alleviate their deficit.
For every action, there is an opposite but equal reaction.