Using Bonds to Fund Affordable Housing : As states work to create and pass budgets for current and subsequent fiscal years, they’re having to find creative ways to fund important projects. One of the projects that few cities or states want to cut is affordable housing. The economic recession has increased the number of people who need inexpensive housing, and few communities can meet the demand. Charlotte, North Carolina is attempting to encourage housing development with a new bond package.
Earlier this year, the Charlotte City Council discussed plans for a $204 million bond package. The Council planned to vote on the package shortly after the meeting. If passed, it would allocate about $15 million specifically for affordable housing projects, which, according to Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon, are much-needed. The city’s executive committee has already debated and approved the bond package, clearing the way for tonight’s vote. If passed, the bond issue will appear on the city’s November ballot, where city residents will have the final say.
The biggest challenge in passing the bond measure is overcoming the public’s perception that Charlotte already has too much debt. But the City has consistently set aside tax revenues, which will be used to pay for the bond, meaning there’s no need to raise tax rates. If passed, the city of Charlotte will have some disposable income to invest in affordable housing, which means potential business for developers.
The City is already being contacted by construction companies eager to work on projects ranging from road improvements to affordable housing. There’s an opportunity here for developers and construction companies to work together and persuade Charlotte officials to fund their affordable housing projects.