Microblog #95: Charlotte leads the way.

Charlotte Leads the Way with $100 Million for Affordable Housing

In May, over 300 people attended HousingForward Virginia’s HousingX: Rethink the Box “unconference.” That event highlighted innovation in the affordable housing sector from design to construction to finance to public policy. Last week, HousingForward Virginia launched its xChats series—the next step in bringing innovative ideas to our industry. HousingForward Virginia will sponsor xChats periodically around the state over the next year, leading to the next HousingX conference in 2021.

The inaugural XChat was held in Richmond last week and brought four leaders from Charlotte, North Carolina to describe that city’s journey to creating a $100 million affordable housing initiative that is now underway.

Brian Collier with the Foundation for the Carolinas told the story of the genesis of the project—fueled by Charlotte’s last place standing in a Raj Chetty study of income mobility that coincided with community activism sparked by a police shooting.

Dan Letendre with Bank of America described his technique for making complex housing finance simple enough for all of the partners to get on the same page.

Pam Wideman with the City of Charlotte talked about the year she spent building support one community meeting at a time, resulting in a 69% approval by voters for a $50 million housing bond issue.

Jeanne Milliken Bonds, a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School recently transplanted from the Richmond Fed, guided the conversation and the Q&A. Every community is different, but Charlotte’s story is inspirational and there is something in it for all to learn from.

Don’t worry: if you missed it, HousingForward Virginia livestreamed the event and you can find the video on our Facebook page. Stay tuned for information about the next xChat.

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