At its March 15 regular meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners heard funding recommendations from the Affordable Housing Committee. After six months of work on the draft plan the subcommittee made up of Chair Brownie Newman and Commissioners Amanda Edwards and Parker Sloan presented funding goals and recommendations focusing on:
- Increasing supply of affordable rental housing
- Affordable home ownership opportunities, especially minority households
- Preserving naturally occurring affordable housing, such as mobile homes
- Support of emergency home repair programs
- Support activities that would encourage utilization of all vouchers that our community is eligible for and promote their use among landlords
- Homelessness – county to support achieving functional zero homelessness
Additionally, specific goals are estimated to impact 2,800-3,150 affordable housing units by 2030:
- 1,500-1,850 rental units for households at or below 80% area median income (AMI)
- Average at or below 60% AMI across all households
- 1200-1480 units should leverage the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program (will leverage an estimated $100-$120 million in tax credit equity to Buncombe County)
- 200 units for at or below 80% AMI
- 500 repair units for households at or below 80% AMI
- 400 ownership or rental units for households between 80% to 120% AMI, or the moderate income/workforce
Based on estimates from the best available information and averages the investment level needed to achieve these goals would require a substantial investment of $99 million over the eight-year period. Noting that we are not alone in this, Newman stressed funding from other sources and strong public partners could alleviate $45 million, requiring a County investment of $54 million between now and 2030.
Currently the County invests $2.3 million annually, generating $18.4 million by 2030, as well as $8 million allocated from ARPA funds. Additional funding could be sourced from county-owned land, round 2 ARPA funds, and a possible bond referendum.
“While these are ambitious but achievable goals, we do not want to represent that this will solve the affordable housing challenges in our community. We do think this would reverse some of those affordable housing trends, but the need would still exceed this,” said Newman, noting it would be optimal to track these needs and goals. There are other needs as well as they relate to issues around homelessness and the need for emergency shelter beds. More time is needed for the Committee to develop these goals, but the committee felt it was important to bring this forward now.
“I feel like we’ve found the spot where it’s both achievable and ambitious,” said Commissioner Parker Sloan. Commissioner Terri Wells noted it really will take a community effort and hoped that the County will continue to learn about more programs that will help us do this work. The Board approved the affordable housing goals and objectives unanimously.
See the entire presentation here.