After 5 years of advocating for housing for working and poor people, I understand that deeply-affordable housing is going to require creative, collaborative solutions. Consider this a menu of ideas:
- When the Unified Development Ordinance is reviewed, we need to ensure planning and policies that allow greater density along transit corridors for access to jobs, groceries, education, health care, and community without a car. The Urban Place zoning is a step in that direction, but we need high standards for affordability percentages and to lessen the need for parking by ensuring robust multimodal infrastructure.
- Equity-building solutions like the BeLoved Community tiny home village is something we can get behind by making sure zoning supports tiny homes for housing, not short-term rentals. This will be part of expanding zoning use for community centers and faith community properties.
- The Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust needs major support of land and money as part of local reparations to ensure resilient neighborhoods that include housing, food, and access to jobs and education. I will continue to invite the community members taking the lead on this work to guide decision making.
- Cooperative-ownership models need to be explored and supported as community-led solutions.
- Affordable housing means keeping people in their home, and that means investing in a eviction protection fund and home repair fund, which will save taxpayers, vulnerable neighbors, and our community from the high costs of evictions and homelessness. A dental emergency shouldn’t be what puts someone on the street, and a busted water heater shouldn’t be the final straw for foreclosure. These kinds of solutions should be built into an anti-gentrification toolkit for the City and County.
- We need to ensure that all incentivized housing is required to accept vouchers, which means addressing class stigma in our community while resulting in rent being paid automatically on time for landlords.
- We must build coalition across the state to update our renters rights and legislation around mandatory inclusionary zoning. Asheville is overdue in passing a resolution for a non-discrimination ordinance for housing, so let’s get to work on that asap.
There is much work to be done, and new ideas around the corner. I invite neighbors to bring their experience to the conversation: firstname.lastname@example.org