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County Investment Slated to Help Build Nearly 350 Affordable Homes

Buncombe County will help create nearly 350 new homes due to its investment in multiple projects aimed at diversifying the affordable housing landscape. On June 18, the Board of Commissioners approved the budget for fiscal year 2020. In that spending plan, there is $3.7 million appropriated to affordable housing, one of the Commissioners’ six strategic priorities. “This budget bolsters our investment to affordable housing with an additional $1.6 million for projects aimed at providing more affordable rental and homeownership opportunities throughout the County,” notes County Manager Avril Pinder.

A majority of this funding will supplement long time partners such as Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, Mountain Housing Opportunities, Homeward Bound, and the Asheville Housing Authority to build new, affordable housing units over the next few years.

“I’d like to highlight the prioritization of affordable housing,” says Commission Chair Brownie Newman. “I appreciate that we set priorities and worked hard to identify opportunities to really advance them in a meaningful way.”

The $3.7 million for affordable housing breaks down as follows:

  • $1.2 million for Housing Authority/Mountain Housing Opportunities Lee Walker Heights Grant. This is the final installment of three years of grant funding supporting the Lee Walker Heights project which includes 212 affordable units.
  • $925,000 for Mountain Housing Opportunities East Haven Apartments loan. This first in four years of loan funds supports the Mountain Housing Opportunities’ East Haven Apartment project which includes 95 affordable units.
  • $680,800 for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity Old Haywood Road Neighborhood. This down payment assistance loan supports Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity’s Old Haywood Road Neighborhood Phase I project which includes 38 affordable units.
  • $581,795 for Affordable Housing Services Program. This County-managed program supports affordable housing through low-interest construction loans, emergency repairs, down payment assistance, tenant-based rental assistance, permit fee rebates, and Buncombe County employee housing assistance.
  • $212,000 for Behavioral Health Programs. This funding supports A Hope Day Center Program, Project Rebound, and the City of Asheville Homelessness Initiative
  • $75,000 for HOME Matching Funds. This is a federal grant program through Housing and Urban Development (HUD) providing grant funds on a reimbursable basis to provide affordable housing to low-income households, expend the capacity of nonprofit housing providers, strengthen the ability of state and local governments to provide housing, and leverage private-sector participation. Buncombe County provides a local match to this federal grant program.
  • $49,250 for Manufactured Home Removal Program. This County-managed program provides for the removal of substandard manufactured housing at the request of the manufactured home owner who is unable to remove the home through their own means.

“Commissioners have made and continue making significant investments in support of the strategic priorities identified in December 2017,” says Community Development Division Manager Matthew Cable. “The fiscal year 2020 investment in these projects seeks to provide a multifaceted approach to meeting the strategic priority surrounding affordable housing.”

Learn more about Commissioners’ strategic priorities here, and about affordable housing here. You can explore the County’s overall budget with our interactive budget tool.