September 9, 2019
There is no doubt, Asheville is facing an affordable housing crisis. This is punctuated by the seemingly constant stream of hotels being built downtown and the massive numbers of vacation rentals available. But the city of Asheville is working on several affordable initiatives – housing. What are they and how can they benefit those looking to buy homes in the area? Let’s take a closer look.
Many people are growing increasingly concerned that Asheville is running out of affordable options for residents. This can impact so many people, including artists and service industry workers, who find it necessary to move farther outside of Asheville to find anything they can afford.
But there are some affordable initiatives – developments in the Asheville. Near Target and the Regeneration Station, you’ll see a unique development of small, red apartments on stilts. The Swannanoa Bend Apartments were developed by Kirk Booth and designed to be rented for just over $500 per month. Other projects are also in the works with an intention of increasing the number of affordable units in many developments.
The city is also working on an idea to develop the Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust. This would allow for individuals to own their own homes at an affordable rate. The concept has been used with great success in many communities around the country, so there’s an expectation that it can fit perfectly within the Asheville landscape.
The project is still in the developmental phase, but expect to see updates from the city soon.
Citizen Advisory Committees
The Affordable Housing Advisory Committee is an action group made up of community leaders and supported by the city. The current chair is Asheville business owner, Barry Bialik, and the committee meets monthly to discuss affordable housing initiatives that can benefit the community.
The committee was formed to give voice to the community in presenting matters on affordable initiatives – housing to the city council. The public is encouraged to attend the meetings.
The counterpart within the city council is the Housing and Community Development committee led by councilwoman Julie Mayfield. Council members Shanika Smith and Keith Young are also on the committee. City staff are also represented.
The committee meets on the third Tuesday of each month, and much like the AHAC, the public is encouraged to attend.
Down Payment Assistance
The city also has a down payment assistance program that can help more buyers get into houses throughout Asheville. Over $1.4 million dollars has been made available for qualifying buyers. $1 million of the fund is for first time home buyers and the other $400,000 will be for city employees such as police, fire fighters, and some Asheville City School employees.
To learn more about affordable initiatives or to see if you qualify, talk to a local independent mortgage lender like Zachery Adam of Go Prime in West Asheville.
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