Wake County Approves a Twenty-Year Affordable Housing Plan, But Funding Questions Linger | Triangulator | Indy Week

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Wake County Approves a Twenty-Year Affordable Housing Plan, But Funding Questions Linger

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As many as thirty-seven hundred new households a year in Wake County need affordable housing, yet the supply is slashed by nine hundred units annually, county commissioners heard Monday.

The math means that today's shortage of 56,000 households that can't afford housing will eventually rise to a countywide shortfall of 120,000–150,000 households a year.

A twenty-year affordable housing plan won unanimous approval Monday from the Board of Commissioners. The series of proposed solutions was created by a border-crossing task force at the instigation of Commissioner Jessica Holmes.

"A lot of good ideas get put on the shelf, and a lot of good ideas don't get funded," Holmes said, urging follow-through.

No price tag accompanied the presentation. The next step, said board chairman Sig Hutchinson, is finding funding.

The plan sets out three main directions for change: land use, leveraged programs, and additional public resources.

Under land use, the plan recommends relaxing development ordinances to allow higher density, especially in areas near current or planned mass transit; the use of "housing incentive overlays," which would let affordable housing developers follow "alternative standards" when building projects; and a focus on more use of alternative dwelling units, including "granny flats."

Leveraged programs include building or preserving subsidized affordable housing. In addition, programs can be designed to bring together public, private, and nonprofit sources to increase the number of affordable units.

In terms of additional resources, that means more money for affordable housing production and preservation from the government.

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