In an event sponsored by Bank of America, Raleigh Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin met with local business owners to discuss issues of affordable housing and availability.
With an influx of new residents, Raleigh is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. However, that flood of new residents poses a serious housing issue. Mayor Baldwin sought to address the affordable housing problem in a meeting Tuesday night. Raleigh’s Chamber of Commerce collected the area’s prominent business owners in a summit to brainstorm solutions.
Developers and professors spoke to the gathered crowd offering answers.
One such suggestion, fielded from Thomas Barrie of North Carolina State University, mentioned zoning changes. He cited other cities’ rezoning as supportive to new housing development. A lack of available space allotted for residential units stifles housing construction.
While Baldwin indicated interest, she also noted the solution required cooperation from state officials. North Carolina law dictates local zoning. “We’re going to need cooperation from the state/federal government in new ways,” she said.
Affordable Housing Hinges on Supply
An additional solution proposed building along public transit lines. By establishing a strong public transit system, residents could live further from the city center and commute with ease. “We can start to build housing in high use transit lines,” said Baldwin.
However, she also recognized the necessity of funds for any provided solution to achieve affordable housing and its availability. She noted the lack of supply in the housing market.
It’s a complaint echoed across the country, as urban centers face individual housing crises. Since the Great Recession, construction slowed, and supply dwindled. Now, as more and more move into cities, a lack of available units drives prices up.
Additionally, many cities experience burgeoning homeless populations as a result of gentrification. Many new developments target higher income brackets, leaving little housing for low-income renters. Thus, those previously living in low to moderate-income neighborhoods suddenly find cost of living exceeding their means.
Raleigh joins the ranks of US cities faced with today’s preeminent urban issue: a dearth of affordable housing.