A lack of affordable housing options is a problem faced in many communities, including the City of Raleigh. The City’s rapid population growth has driven up the cost for land, and in turn, has led to higher rental rates, home prices and property taxes. Many residents have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, making the need for affordable housing even greater.
The City is committed to delivering more affordable housing solutions for residents, especially those with incomes at 30, 50, 60, and 80 percent of the area median income. In addition to increasing the affordable housing supply, the City is also looking to decrease commute times for the local workforce and offer more options for people experiencing homelessness. To address these needs, affordable housing has been identified as a key area of focus in the City’s Strategic Plan.
Beginning in 2016, the City established an aspirational goal to create 570 affordable housing units a year for 10 years, with a grand total of 5,700 housing units by 2026. This production goal includes area rental production, new construction of single-family homes, homebuyer assistance, and homeowner rehabilitation funded by both local and federal sources. The City has created or preserved over 2,900 affordable housing units so far.
In November 2020, the Affordable Housing Bond was passed with 72 percent of Raleigh residents voting in favor of the bond referendum. Following guidance from City Council, the approved $80 million bond includes five elements:
- Public-private partnerships with developers and nonprofit organizations to add more affordable housing units, as well as facilities for people experiencing homelessness;
- Transit-oriented site acquisition to be able to provide housing near future transit corridors;
- Low-income housing tax credits to initiate the development of 700 new affordable housing units, including homes that serve residents with 30 percent of the area median income;
- Homeowner rehabilitation to help residents to keep and repair their homes; and
- Down payment assistance to enable eligible residents to buy their first homes.
Bond funding will be utilized in stages over the next five years, with Council members approving the tiered budget in January. Starting this year, the City will begin working to:
- Secure City-owned sites near transit corridors;
- Continue the acquisition and preservation of affordable housing units throughout the City;
- Support Healing Transitions and other local nonprofit organizations; and
- Facilitate the process for low-income housing tax credit gap financing.
The current bond is just one of the ways the City is addressing the need for affordable housing. The City also utilizes local, federal, and emergency federal funds for housing initiatives and services. Each year, the City receives entitlement funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to support programs for limited and major home repairs, as well as down payment assistance and resources for first-time homebuyers. These programs are already in place and have been successful in helping many residents secure their homes.
As the City continues to address housing needs, resources have been made available to residents in need of emergency housing assistance. Such resources are available for renters living in Wake County through the House Wake! COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program, which offers up to 15 months of rental and utility assistance. CARES Act funding, which provides mortgage and other financial assistance to residents experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness, is also available.
The City will provide updates to its affordable housing plan every step of the way. For more information, please visit our Affordable Housing page.