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'Rent's too damn high' | Former City Councilman says Charlotte is no longer affordable

On WCNC's Flashpoint, the former councilman explains why city leaders are helpless to make transformative change.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Billy Maddalon was Charlotte's first openly gay city councilman. He briefly served after being appointed to fill a vacancy on the council. He's now running for the District 1 seat. 

"Some of the problems that existed back in 2013 still exist today," Maddalon said.

Maddalon said affordability is the biggest issue facing Charlotte residents.  

RELATED: Charlotte officials make $250 million pledge to make city more equitable

Rent has been steadily increasing in Charlotte over the past 12 months. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Queen City is $1,273 while a two-bedroom is typically at $1,423. Beyond rentals, the exploding Charlotte real estate market has become prohibitively expensive for many first-time homebuyers.

"People in Charlotte just can't afford to live here anymore, unless you work in a certain socio-economic strata," Maddalon explained.

Making matters worse, Maddalon said city leaders are limited in how they tackle the increasing cost of living in Charlotte. 

"I think the 2040 plan slows it down substantially," he said. "And my hope is that that'll give us enough time, maybe one of these days to have statutory authority to actually fix the problem."

Maddalon said transformative change will involve the cooperation of all levels of government.

"We simply don't have the statutory capacity, the tools in our toolbox if you will, from the legislature to effectively change the market forces that are driving, driving a lack of affordability in our community," he said.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW, SUNDAY AT 11 A.M. ON FLASHPOINT ON WCNC CHARLOTTE!

Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly.
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