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Raleigh’s affordable housing bond proposal, explained.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Raleigh Convergence is no longer publishing, as of April 1, 2022. Read more.
Photo by Elijah Mears on Unsplash

Affordable housing is a central issue for a growing Raleigh, and now it’s on the Nov. 3 ballot. The $80 million proposed bond could help fund affordable housing for our neighbors making the least, “missing middle” housing, first-time homebuyers and longtime residents.*

The budget recently presented to the Raleigh City Council also focuses on future affordable housing development around planned transit.

Since many people are voting by mail or during early voting for the Nov. 3 election in Wake County, this guide will continue to be updated as we receive your questions. Email editor@raleighconvergence.com with questions that you want the answers to, and we’ll respond, clarify and track down the answers. 

Where will the affordable housing investments be located?

One of the bond priorities is to invest in projects across different areas. 

However, you can expect investment around Bus Rapid Transit development, the new transit project in the works that will create faster and more reliable public transportation.

The New Bern BRT, which goes east, is furthest along. The Western Boulevard BRT, which connects to Cary, is next. North and South BRT lines are anticipated in the future. 

Defining affordable housing

The September outline of the proposed bond would serve residents of different income levels, compared to the midpoint for a household income in Raleigh. 

Specifically, it’s the percentage AMI — the percentage of the Area Median Income, calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). That data is released yearly. 

The affordable housing bond will benefit Raleigh residents who are below 30%, 50%, 60% and 80% AMI levels.

The levels, according to the city’s data (see larger family numbers here):

City of Raleigh site

The affordable housing bond could address not only different income levels, but city leaders want to see a range of housing types, working with the county government. 

How the money would be spent over 5 years:

Of the $80 million, September’s budget breakdown shows:

  • $16 million would go toward site acquisition
  • $28 million would go toward public-private partnerships, which would include:
    • Permanent housing for households making less than 30%, including housing insecure Raleigh residents.
    • Partnerships with nonprofits to develop small projects
    • Development of more affordable rental units (aimed at AMI 60% or less) or development of “missing middle” homeownership opportunities. 
  • $24 million would go toward Gap Financing and Rental Development
  • $6 million to Down Payment Assistance for first-time homebuyers
  • $6 million to owner-occupied rehabilitation programs

See more of the details, and more of the math, from the September city council presentation by Larry Jarvis, Raleigh’s Housing and Neighborhoods director.

Who is served by what?

A Yes vote is encouraged by the DHIC, a nonprofit that builds affordable housing for low-income residents: “This bond could allow DHIC to receive more gap financing to advance future developments and provide more affordable apartments in Raleigh for households at 60% AMI and below.  The bond would also provide the increased fund sources needed to serve those at 30% AMI.”

Longtime residents who need financial help with their property, such as generational homes where older adults hope to age in place, are the target population for the homeowner rehabilitation program. 

Rental prices and home prices are rising in Raleigh. The average one-bedroom apartment is more than 30% the monthly budget for a single person making 60% of the AMI. The down payment assistance will help those making 80% or less AMI, and initiatives for rentals priced for those making 60% or less AMI is part of the public-private partnerships activity in the bond.

More info here on Raleigh’s city website.

*Editor’s note: A previous version omitted “million” from the bond’s $80 million amount.

VOTER GUIDE: More of your questions on voting in Wake County, answered.

Author: raleighconvergence

Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen is the editor of Raleigh Convergence.

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