Oct 19, 2022 - News

The Triangle's affordable housing targets

The front of an apartment complex made out of brick, stone and vinyl siding.

The Willard Apartments in downtown Durham. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

In the past few years, Triangle leaders have made ambitious plans to add affordable housing to their cities to combat rising rents and a rapidly growing population.

What's happening: "We've had some cities take more action than they've ever taken and do historically big things for them," Samuel Gunter, CEO of the N.C. Housing Coalition, told Axios. "And yet it's still not enough."

  • One study by the United Way of the Capital Area pegged Raleigh's affordable housing shortage at nearly 20,000 rental units. The number is large, but the nonprofit reported it was actually better than most large cities.

Why it matters: Rising rents push low-income residents out of town and push some of the most vulnerable residents into precarious situations.

  • Wake County has seen a dramatic increase in homelessness in the past year, Axios previously reported.
  • Several Durham neighborhoods have witnessed large drops in Black population as those neighborhoods have become hot commodities for buyers, Indy Week reported.

Zoom in: Raleigh aims to create or preserve 5,700 affordable units in the city by 2026.

The Willard Apartments included 82 affordable units. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios.

Raleigh and Durham have also increasingly tried to leverage zoning requests and public-owned land to add affordable housing.

Gunter said the surging home prices of the last few years has made affordable housing more of a priority than it was in the past.

  • "The reason folks are paying attention is because cost burden is creeping further and further up the income ladder into the middle income range," he said.

What's next: Raleigh's next big affordable housing decision will be what to do with land it owns around Moore Square, like the parking lot at 225 East Davie St., which it hopes to sell to fund more affordable housing.


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