Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles marked the end of 2018 in office Monday morning. Lyles said in a news conference she counts the year as a success and highlighted the more than $200 million of bond money passed in November to address a shortage of affordable housing and city infrastructure needs, and the 3,500 jobs brought to Charlotte in December alone.
But Lyles said there’s still more work to be done in 2019, especially in the areas of affordable housing and workforce development.
Creating quality affordable housing was a top priority for Lyles when she took the oath of office in December 2017. In the past year, she and the city council have passed a housing framework that outlines how the city will spend the $50 million in housing bonds voters approved in the midterm election.
But those steps are just the beginning, Lyles said.
“That’s not enough. There’s more to do,” Lyles said. “I expect in early 2019 to actually have a metric that you’ll be able to hold us accountable for when we talk about what kind of housing we are going to build and where we will locate it.”
By “metric” she means a concrete way citizens can measure the city’s success in meeting the demand for affordable housing. Lyles said those metrics will fall under three key categories.
“New construction. Keeping people in their existing apartments. Actually helping people stay there when they have a crisis,” Lyles said. “Those things are going to be what we’re going to measure.”
As for the $50 million in bonds, Lyles said the goal is to have private organizations match the money approved by voters. She said the city will announce how much private money it has raised toward its $100 million goal in early January.
But housing isn’t the only issue on Lyles’ mind for the New Year.
“My hope for the entire year of 2019, just like we’ve been talking about affordable housing, is that we’ll be talking about jobs and we’ll be talking about how to bring jobs,” she said.
Through a two-pronged approach of workforce development training and job recruitment, Lyles said she plans on making Charlotte the “hub for jobs” for the region.