Building for Opportunity

The Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund: Two Years Later

Affordable housing is a critical component for fostering upward mobility and creating vibrant communities. Yet, Mecklenburg County faces a deficit of tens of thousands of affordable housing units, and nearly half of its residents are cost-burdened – meaning housing costs exceed 30 percent of income.

Two years ago, the City of Charlotte and Foundation For The Carolinas came up with a plan to address this crisis. The City would place a bond referendum on the ballot to boost its publicly financed Housing Trust Fund. If this passed, the private sector would raise $50 million for the cause.

The referendum passed overwhelmingly, and Foundation For The Carolinas started the privately financed Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund with a $5 million program-related investment. Thanks to generous donors, the fund exceeded its $50 million fundraising goal.

CHOIF: Making a Difference

The goal of Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund was to lessen the growing affordability gap to develop housing that serves residents in a range of incomes – including moderate, low and extremely low-earning households. Local Initiatives Support Corporation, also known as LISC, holds and manages the Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund, working in tandem with the City’s trust fund.

As of April, all private funds have been allocated and have been used to to acquire 1,214 affordable units, as well as to preserve NOAH apartment complexes. More than $19 million in public funding has been leveraged to double the amount of affordable units that could be built without the partnership.

In sum, LISC believes it will reach 2,064 affordable units – more than 40% above their original goal. All units will be affordable for those earning between $22,000 and $88,000 a year (for a family of four), and more than one-fifth will be affordable for those who earn below $22,000.