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.

Renaissance West sits on 41 acres off West Boulevard where the Boulevard Homes housing project once stood.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte leaders spent 2018 talking about how to speed up development of new affordable housing units and save existing ones. In 2019, there will be more money, new partners and new processes for achieving that goal. City leaders now are discussing how to carry out the unprecedented $125 million plan and what it's paying for.

Gracious Hands has moved from West Charlotte to a renovated house in north Charlotte it bought thanks to an anonymous donor.
David Boraks / WFAE

It's been a happy new year so far for the Charlotte transitional housing program Gracious Hands. Since the summer, the group home for formerly homeless women and children has fought eviction from its west Charlotte rental house. But now a donor has stepped in to buy them a new home.

CHARLOTTE MECKLENBURG HOUSING PARTNERSHIP

Construction has begun on a 185-unit mixed-income apartment project in west Charlotte. Officials say it could be a model for how Charlotte might spend $50 million in affordable housing bond funds approved by voters in November.

Sonja Chisholm runs Gracious Hands, a transitional housing program for homeless women and children. The program has lost its lease and is seeking a new home.
David Boraks / WFAE

A transitional housing program for homeless women and their children is fighting eviction from its rental house in northwest Charlotte, while also raising money to buy its own home. An update on Gracious Hands, as part of our ongoing series "Finding Home."

Lyn Alexis, 25, lives at Gracious Hands with her daughter, Iori, 5.
David Boraks / WFAE

Today, an update on a Charlotte housing story we’ve been following since March in our series "Finding Home."

Gracious Hands is a three-year-old program in northwest Charlotte that helps homeless women and children get back on track and into permanent housing. One of those women is Lyn Alexis, who was living out of her car with her daughter before moving to Gracious Hands.

David Boraks / WFAE

The path from homelessness to permanent housing is about more than just a place to live. For many people on that road, it's about achieving financial and personal stability.

Sonja Chisholm runs Gracious Hands, a transitional housing home in northwest Charlotte.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte native Sonja Chisholm was working as a supervisor at a soft-drink distributor when she and a friend founded the non-profit, Gracious Hands, in 2015. It's what's called a "transitional home" - a place for homeless women and their children to stay while they're working their way toward permanent housing.

Lyn Alexis, 25, lives at Gracious Hands with her daughter, Iori, 5.
David Boraks / WFAE

Affordable housing is a top priority for Charlotte city leaders.  It takes many forms - from workforce housing for moderate-income residents, to subsidized housing for those with very low incomes. There's also transitional housing, aimed at helping people move from homelessness to permanent housing.

Gracious Hands is one of a handful of low-cost temporary housing programs in the city.

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