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Council Members: Don't Expect City To Completely Solve Affordable Housing Crisis

Charlotte City Council Members Lawana Mayfield and Ed Driggs are responding to a report that finds Charlotte's need for affordable housing far exceeds the 5,000 units city council has pledged to create in the next three years.

City council was informed by city staff on Monday that at least 34,000 units of affordable housing are needed, especially for low-income residents.

In an interview with WFAE's Charlotte Talks, Mayfield said the city should concentrate its efforts on low-income residents, but urged the public to know that government plays "a limited role." Mayfield is the chair of the council's housing and neighborhood development committee.

"It's not up to government to have the total solution," Mayfield said, "It is a joint conversation that has to happen within the nonprofit community, all the churches that have land and have access to land - we need them to come to the table so that we can start having some real conversations about how we impact our residents."

Driggs, the committee's vice chair, similarly said it would be "unreasonable" to expect the city to fix the affordable housing problem in its entirety, citing a scarcity of city resources.

"We're not going to build 30,000 units," he said, "It would cost about $150 million to completely solve this problem."

Driggs says he's instead focused on pinpointing the most efficient way to deploy city resources.

Listen to the full Charlotte Talks discussion here.

Nick de la Canal is the host of Weekend Edition on Saturday/Sunday mornings, and a reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal