Finding Home

Charlotte has an affordable housing crisis. We hear that a lot and for good reason. Consider these numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau: Since 1990, home values have increased 36 percent, while median household income has only gone up 4 percent. The appearance of prosperity with new development masks the fact that people are being priced out of their neighborhoods.

The city has made some progress in the last few years. It’s added about 5,000 affordable housing units. But there’s still a shortfall of roughly 24,000.

WFAE is taking a year-long look at this problem through our series, Finding Home. Every Monday in 2019, we’ll have stories that examine the problem, seek solutions, and bring you stories from neighborhoods small and large, both in and outside Charlotte.

Alex Olgin / WFAE

Third-grader Naveah Taylor bounds out of Reid Park elementary school in a pink jacket and backpack. Her favorite subject is math.

“I learned about adding fractions,” she said. “You only can add the numerator but not the denominator.”

Camp North End is transforming an old factory complex off Statesville Avenue, and changing the neighborhood.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte's North End is a collection of new and old neighborhoods just north of uptown with about 9,000 residents. It's seeing a flood of new investment driven by its proximity to uptown and the buzz around the redevelopment of a massive factory complex off Statesville Avenue.

City of Kannapolis

The city of Kannapolis northeast of Charlotte has seen wrenching change in recent decades. More than 4,000 jobs disappeared when the last textile mill closed in 2003 and its downtown has struggled. But in 2015, the city took matters into its own hands by buying the entire downtown. Now, residents and leaders hope a $300 million redevelopment project will bring the city back to life.

Finding Home: The Fight To Save Smithville

Feb 24, 2019
Failed NC DOT Smithville traffic diversion proposal
N.C. Department of Transportation

Residents of Cornelius’s Smithville neighborhood have endured segregation, sewage problems, civic neglect. Last year, when the state proposed a road through part of their community, few people – not even Smithville residents – would have predicted what would happen next.

Homes in Charlotte's Cherry neighborhood.
Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

A bleak picture was painted of the Charlotte region’s housing market in terms of affordability in a new report released Thursday at a UNC Charlotte-sponsored housing summit. Low-priced homes are hard to find as the population continues to outstrip the area’s housing stock and with fewer homes available, more people are renting at higher rates.

Sarah Delia / WFAE

Throughout the course of WFAE's Finding Home series, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing gentrification and the people who are displaced from their homes and neighborhoods as a result of it. On this installment of the series, we head to a little city west of Charlotte known for its quintessential Americana downtown and Mayberry feel. 

Steve Harrison / WFAE

This is what gentrification often looks like: New $400,000 homes. Maybe a new coffee house. An influx of white people. But in Washington Heights, the early signs of gentrification have come in the mail.

Mecklenburg County’s new property assessments arrived last month, and homeowners in this northwest Charlotte neighborhood off Beatties Ford Road saw some of the largest percentage increases in the county.

Davidson Housing Coalition built The Bungalows on Davidson's West Side to provide affordable housing.
David Boraks / WFAE

As north Mecklenburg County and the Lake Norman area have grown over the past few decades, newcomers have brought higher incomes — and skyrocketing housing prices. That's a challenge for those who don't fit the area's new demographics — especially longtime residents in older African-American neighborhoods in Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson. A new study has some leaders acknowledging they need to do more to create housing for lower-income residents.

The Opportunity Atlas allows you to look at economic mobility at the neighborhood level by parent's income, race, and gender. This map looks at mobility based on all races and men and women.
https://www.opportunityatlas.org/ / Opportunity Insights

The neighborhood around Kilborne Park in east Charlotte doesn’t look so different than those that surround it. It has a couple of apartment complexes and some wide streets lined with small, brick ranch-style homes, tri-levels and big trees. Its affordability, many homes are now priced around $200,000, attracted Tim McManus to the neighborhood ten years ago. 

Houses on South Hill Street in the Smithville neighborhood of Cornelius.
David Boraks / WFAE

A new study of north Mecklenburg County shows a need for more housing aimed at people making less than $40,000 a year. UNC Charlotte's Urban Institute looked at population growth, employment patterns and housing in the towns of Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville.

Charlotte Observer

A new study of north Mecklenburg County shows a need for more housing aimed at people making less than $40,000 a year.  

In 1993, when I first moved to Charlotte, I moved into an apartment in Dilworth. The rent was $385 a month.

I doubt you could rent a doghouse for that price in Dilworth now.

It’s not just our city’s fancy neighborhoods, though. All over Charlotte, we have a serious problem: Thousands upon thousands of people who work here and contribute to this community, can’t afford to live here anymore.

Alex Olgin / WFAE

It’s some of the most typical signs of gentrification: Multiple breweries, a gym, a few coffee shops, doggie daycare and a fancy convenience store that sells CBD products. All of those things are on North Davidson Street, north of Interstate 277. But rewind 32 years ago to July 1987.

DYLAN BINGHAM / HTTPS://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY/2.0/

Last week, three big financial companies in Charlotte pledged $70.75 million to help the city remedy a lack of affordable housing. It includes below-market-rate loans, grants and something else the city desperately needs — land for affordable housing uptown.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

Growth, development and gentrification have all contributed to the affordable housing shortage in Charlotte. As upscale apartment complexes and expensive homes are increasingly being built, low- and middle-income residents are being priced out of many neighborhoods. One example is the community of Cherry, where it’s now common for newer homes to sale for $700,000-$800,000, sometimes more.

Charlotte skyline.
Pixabay

Three of Charlotte’s largest financial corporations are planning to invest more than $70 million to increase the affordable housing stock in the city and its surrounding areas.

A longtime Charlotte housing expert has been named to lead private-sector efforts to spur development of affordable housing in the city. Ralphine Caldwell will start work in March as executive director of a new Charlotte office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC.

New homes under construction on South Bruns Avenue show how close Seversville is to Uptown.
David Boraks / WFAE

Growth and development have brought an affordable housing shortage in Charlotte. You can see it in neighborhoods all over the city, especially those closest to uptown. In WFAE's series Finding Home, we're examining those challenges every Monday in 2019.

Flickr/lexie.longstreet

Charlotte city leaders are fine-tuning changes to the policy the city uses to decide where new, subsidized low-income housing can and can’t be built.

City staffers last fall proposed a new “scorecard” system to rank proposed developments according to several criteria, such as proximity to public transportation, jobs and schools. 

Lisa Worf / WFAE

Charlotte has an affordable housing crisis. We hear that a lot and for good reason. Consider these numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau: Since 1990, home values have increased 36 percent, while median household income has only gone up 4 percent. The appearance of prosperity with new development masks the fact that people are being priced out of their neighborhoods.

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