Business

Lack of workforce housing hits close to home

Workforce housing is a challenge in some high-growth areas

Feb. 1. By Dave Yochum. Housing in and around Cornelius has a split personality: There are multimillion-dollar homes within less than a mile of substandard properties, not to mention homeless people tucked away in a few wooded areas here and there.

County-wide, the number of people experiencing homelessness continues to increase. As of June 2023, there were 2,704 people in Mecklenburg County actively experiencing homelessness, an 11 percent increase from 2,428 people in June 2022.

Permanent, affordable housing is expensive. The lowest-price home—a 1,024 square foot condo—is priced at an astonishing $275,000. The highest price home—a lakefront mansion—is priced at $16 million.

According to Zillow, the average Cornelius home value is $496,847, up 1.5 percent over the past year.

It means that many of the types of people who make a community vibrant and diverse can’t afford to live here, hence the growing support for Habitat for Humanity and, more recently, the Lake Norman Community Development Corp. whose goal is to create workforce housing and affordability for housing.

Low-cost rentals are disappearing

According to Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, low-cost housing for low-income households now accounts for 12 percent of the total housing stock, down from 45 percent in 2011.

Lagging incomes are the chief contributing factor to the number of rental households in Mecklenburg County who are housing cost burdened.

Meanwhile, evictions are increasing

Sixty percent of eviction cases filed in FY2023 were granted in full or part. Eviction filings increased by more than 40 percent in the last year, resulting in nearly 7,000 additional Mecklenburg County households losing their homes In the most recent fiscal year, 33,507 eviction cases were filed, nearly a third more than 2020.

Woody Washam

The need for a regional approach

With the boundaries between Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville invisible, the effort to build workforce housing “desperately needs to be region-wide,” Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam said.

Lake Norman Community Development will work with the town to seek grants and contributions to protect the workforce, which includes making sure there are affordable options for a wide range of workers.

Quotable

“Without a proper and adequate workforce and the ability for them to live where they work, the economic viability or our region could be in jeopardy,” Washam said.

High cost of housing hits close to home

• 90% of the people who work in Cornelius cannot afford to live here

• The fact that they can’t afford to live here puts more traffic on our streets

• The average rental rates are well above $2,000 per month

Discussion

One Response to “Lack of workforce housing hits close to home”

  1. The correct name for the organization is the “Lake Norman Community Development Corp”. It is also known as the “Lake Norman CDC”. It is a 501(c)(3) approved organization making all donations tax deductible.

    Posted by Michael 'Dr Mike' Miltich | January 22, 2024, 2:49 pm

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