CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A new report said housing costs are increasing quicker than wages for low-income renters.
The study said people in Mecklenburg County who make less than $18 per hour cannot afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment.
“I don’t feel like safe and affordable housing should be a privilege afforded to the few,” one man said at a city council meeting. “I feel like it should be a right to every citizen of this community.”
Erica Carter with the Greater Charlotte Apartment Associations said tens of thousands of people in Charlotte are left without help.
“There are 150,000 people living in Charlotte below the poverty line, and only about 25 percent of them are receiving any kind of government subsidy,” Carter said.
The report released by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition uses “housing wage” to determine what a person must make to afford a modest apartment without spending more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent.
In high-rent zip codes near South End and uptown, the report said a person must make about $22 to $28 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
“The only way you can guard against that, is through intention,” South End developer Terry Shook said. “The market forces will only drive prices higher.”
Affordable housing is discussed regularly at city council meeting, but the fact remains there’s not enough supply to meet the needs of Charlotte’s poorest residents.
“It’s been the case for a while,” former Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx said. “We know that there are thousands and thousands of housing units that are needed in this city.”
In April, Mayor Vi Lyles said the city should ask for $50 million for the housing trust fund. That’s more than triple the usual $15 million that voters are asked to approve every two years.
The city council has not yet approved putting it on the fall ballot.
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