CHARLOTTE-- Policy and city leaders gathered at UNC Charlotte aiming to get a better understanding of the housing landscape in the Queen City. It's a landscape that may literally be leaving many people without a place to stay.
Tuesday marked the UNCC Urban Institute's second annual Data Day. Leaders are trying to convert volumes of city, state and national statistics into policy changes that can help make housing more accessible. The biggest issue is that much of Charlotte's new development is simply out of reach for most, particularly many young professionals and those with low paying jobs.
“There are whole segments of our workforce that don’t make enough to afford what housing costs. And so when you really kind of peel away the layers, you can discover that Charlotte can be a very expensive place to live,” said Chris Estes, president of The National Housing Conference.
“On the rental side, we are seeing a lot of apartments being built. The question is at what price point? And you're not seeing a lot of more affordable rental. You're seeing it at the mid to upper range” said Matthew Martin, regional executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
Some leaders want more affordable housing units throughout the city and say increasing mass transit options will be the first steps to making this region's prosperity a reality for everyone.
“The flip side of rising housing values is that many of those who are less fortunate have seen what is really one of their greatest financial burdens in terms of housing costs rise,” said Jeff Michael, Director of the Urban Institute.
City leaders say solving Charlotte's housing issues is something that will take time and lots of work.
“It's not just the city's job or the job of the towns. It's not just the nonprofits' responsibility. Closing the gap between wages and housing is going to require that both of those things move towards the middle,” said Rebecca Hefner, community research manager for the City of Charlotte Neighborhood and Business Services Department.
Learn more about UNC Charlotte's Urban Institute here
To see the city's Quality of Life Study presented at Data Day visit their website
To learn more about PlanCharlotte visit their website