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Charlotte Area

Housing CLT Makes Step Toward Combating Homelessness

Crystal Hogue
Kirby Davis, an executive at Freeman Webb in Nashville speaks to apartment operators about releasing units for affordable housing.

The City of Charlotte wants landlords to be part of the effort to reduce homelessness. Part of the plan is to convince them to set aside one percent of affordable units in their buildings. That process started Wednesday.

Charlotte’s goal is to get 100 landlords to give homeless people a place to live in their apartment complexes through a program called Housing CLT. A meeting was held with a group of apartment operators to persuade them to rent their units to homeless people. Housing CLT is modeled after a program in Nashville. The group brought in Kirby Davis, an executive with a property management company in Nashville who promoted the city’s program. He explained many landlords in Nashville relaxed their screening standards and agreed to set aside one percent of their units for affordable housing.

“We’ve got roughly 5,000 to 6,000 units in the greater Nashville area. We’ve got 54 of them at a discount of about $375,000 as the total annual value that’s a discount. The government’s paid half and then the landlords opening their doors to it,” he said.

Davis’ plan was met with skepticism from an apartment operator in the audience.

“My quick math on your $375,000 worth of discounted rent equates to about 6 and a quarter million of economic value in your apartments,” said the apartment operator.

Credit Crystal Hogue / WFAE
Ken Szymanski, executive director of the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association.

The executive director of the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, Ken Szymanski said additional incentives would persuade landlords to join the initiative

“Helping with rent subsidies. Some sort of incentive where there would be tax abatement or something like that can make it more appealing. Where someone might be on the fence and they’ll say ‘Well gee, if I had this incentive that might help me get to yes,’ ” he said.

Housing CLT intends to establish two funds, one that would help pay for any damage residents caused, and another for vouchers to help pay the rent.