New Hanover County is asking for-profit and nonprofit developers or agencies to submit proposals pursuant to potential affordable and workforce housing projects.
Earlier this year, the Board of Commissioners approved a new budget initiative that went into effect earlier this month, adding four new dedicated positions and committing $15 million over a five-year period to address affordable housing.
The county pledged to spend at least $3 million annually to address the problem.
An initial framework informed by a local needs study and survey will guide the county’s eligibility criteria, according to a county news release issued Monday.
“With this Workforce Housing Services Program, we can be intentional with the county’s funding and really evaluate the needs of the community. The county will be able to fund the projects and programs that can have a meaningful impact now for our residents and also adapt the program and investments as market conditions change,” senior long-range planner Rachel LaCoe said in a release. “This is an important commitment by the Board of Commissioners, and the county will be working to leverage this local funding with that of the private sector to create even more affordable housing opportunities over the coming years.”
The initial goals of the program are to increase the supply of affordable housing units, retain existable affordable housing stock and increase residents’ access to those homes, according to the county release.
Eligible projects being solicited include construction of new single- or multifamly housing units, conversion of rehabilitation work of existing units, down payment or rental assistance and emergency repair services, according to the request for proposals. Among the criteria considered, financial feasibility is the most valued category. Other priorities include the ability to break ground before July 2023, an emphasis on the number of new units, a range of price points, a period of affordability that exceeds 15 years, accepting housing choice vouchers and targeting an average median income of 80%.
"Strong preference will be based on the ability to create an immediate impact to New Hanover County residents," the proposal states.
The county opened its request for proposals period on Monday, which will close on Aug. 8 at 5 p.m. Funding recommendations are expected to be reviewed in October.
Audrey Elsberry - Sep 22, 2023
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