Housing Affordability in Local Government
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Housing Affordability in Local Government

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Housing Affordability in Local Government

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Housing Affordability in Local Government

Aspen Romeyn

Senior Planner, Triangle J Council of Governments


Our Approach

Education is critical

Emphasize that affordable housing is a spectrum

Affordable housing strategies need to be comprehensiveSet the contextShare what we hearProvide an overview of the role local governments can playAddress perceptions to help local governments engage in affordable housing in a positive way


Get on the Same Page


Understand the Language


What “Affordable Housing” Looks Like

Image sources: apartments.com,

Google Street View, dhic.org, communityhometrust.org


Why Is This An Issue Now?

Key Trends


Rapid Population Growth

The region’s growth is visible on our roadways

Similar “congestion” in the housing market


Population Growth vs. Building Permits

For all TJCOG counties

High demand, slower construction since the recession

3,720 more new households than new units

Data from the American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates and U.S. Census Bureau Building Permit Survey.


Tight Real Estate Market


Rapid Increase in Housing Values

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/wonk/housing/overview/

20%+ increase in home values in last 13 years


Slower Increase in Incomes

Source: Equitable Growth Profile of the Research Triangle Region

2010 Dollars






Lower-wage workers have only seen a 7-19% wage increase since 1979


What we’ve heard

“Our public works employees live in Lee and Harnett Counties.”

– A small town in Wake County

“Any time a tax credit project is proposed we hear a lot of negative stereotypes.”

“The last affordable apartment complex that was built has 75 units and filled up in a week.”

“Our strongest need is finding housing for families, and that will be more acute when 700 more move in with this new employer.”

“I’m going to have to move away if I can’t find a place in the next few months.”

“My elderly mother wants to move closer to me, but there’s a 12-18 month waiting list for any place that caters to the elderly.”

“We don’t have a lot of land left so it’s hard to create new housing, but demand is high.”

“Our waiting list for rehab and repair projects in Chatham County is about 4 years.”

“We can’t build our way out of this.”


Why Local Governments May Want to Engage in Affordable Housing

Local governments have influence over development policies, pay policies, and can leverage state and federal resources

Cross-jurisdictional commuting contributes to traffic congestion, impacts quality of life for residents and workers

Quality housing at different income levels contributes to better health outcomes, educational outcomes, and builds communityWith decrease in state and federal funding for affordable housing, local governments are increasingly choosing to put their own resources towards addressing the issue Consider: what percentage of your local government staff has incomes that would make them eligible for affordable housing?


What Can Local Governments Do?


educate public, elected officials, developers about benefits and consequences of different types of development.


provide infrastructure in appropriate places, streamline the development review process, etc.


Provide financing, land, or grants to fill the financing gap of an affordable housing project.


Set policies about development size, parking, quality, etc. that help produce and maintain quality affordable housing


Infographics for a Local Government

Definition of Affordable Housing

Cost-burdened data

How local incomes compare to affordability thresholds

Housing stock

Does it provide options?

How does it impact affordability?


Income Data Analysis

Created to help elected officials respond to public perceptions about a proposed workforce housing development.

The income limits for the project: $30,000 - $50,000

The median household income in Princeton: $35,55625-30% of resident households in Princeton and Johnston County would be eligible to live in the proposed apartments.


Opportunity Sites Analysis

Chatham County Housing Committee


Housing & Transportation Costs

Proportion of income spent on housing & transportation, with 45%+ considered cost-burdened

Median Income Household

80% AMI Household

Data from the Housing & Transportation Index.


Link between Land Use, Housing, & Transit

Durham-Orange Light Rail

Wake Transit


Link between Land Use, Housing, & Transit


Address Perceptions


Address Perceptions


Effective Value Statements

“We need to remove the barriers that Triangle residents with low incomes face in finding housing they can afford, close to work and schools.”

“Children deserve an opportunity to succeed in school and life, which is tied to having a stable home.”

“We can live in a region where everyone has access to opportunity and a decent, stable, affordable place to call home. By investing in housing opportunities, we can create communities with a better future for all of us.

“It is only fair that everyone has a safe, decent place to live.”

“Hardworking people should be able to afford housing and still have money for groceries and other basic needs.”

“Housing gives people an opportunity to build better lives. To succeed you need a place to call home.


Thank You



Aspen RomeynSenior PlannerTriangle J Council of Governmentsaromeyn@tjcog.org