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3 Mecklenburg Affordable Housing Programs Up For Consideration


The Mecklenburg County Commission is poised to consider three new affordable housing programs this week. Each is focused on helping the county's poorest or most at-risk populations, including seniors and people with disabilities who are chronically homeless, and victims of domestic violence.

The programs were first outlined during the county commission's Sept. 24 meeting by representatives of local homeless shelters and support groups, including the Salvation Army, the newly merged Urban Ministry Center and the Men's Shelter of Charlotte, and The Relatives.

Most commissioners have signaled their support for the programs, but haven't yet taken a vote on funding them.

Here's a look at each of the three programs up for consideration:

MeckHome - Estimated Cost: $6.3M

The first proposed program, nicknamed MeckHome, would offer short-term rental subsidies to people making less than 30% of the area's median household income. That translates to less than $16,600 for individuals, or $23,700 for families of four.

The program would aim to get those people into apartments typically available to someone making at least 60% of the area's median income. Renters would pay 30% of their income with the rest made up in subsidies, and the county would connect them with case workers and other support services.

In some cases, the county would sign leases on behalf of tenants — a practice known as "master leasing" — to assuage skittish landlords who might otherwise not lease to renters with bad credit or patchy employment histories.

The Link - Estimated Cost: $2.1M

Another program dubbed The Link would connect chronically homeless seniors and people with disabilities to temporary housing while they await approval for subsidized housing.

The program would target seniors or disabled people who have spent more than six months in a homeless shelter and are on a waitlist for subsidized housing. Their rents would be subsidized at temporary housing locations and they'd be connected with medical care and disability income.

Representatives with the Men's Shelter and the Salvation Army said this would help free up beds in the county's overburdened homeless shelters.

Program For Domestic Violence Victims - Estimated Cost TBD

The final program would help victims of domestic violence and their children find emergency housing and get connected to support services. Exact details are still pending.

A county spokesperson said the program could cost in the ballpark of $800,000, however that total could change depending on a final proposal.

If approved by commissioners, each program would be paid for under an $11 million allotment set aside for affordable housing iniatives in this year's county budget.

The commission will take up the proposals at their regularly-scheduled meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.

Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal