Asheville Recognized for Addressing City’s Need for Affordable Housing

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorAsheville, N.C.–The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have named Asheville, N.C. an Ambassador city for expanding affordable housing. Asheville is receiving the designation in recognition of the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force, aimed at addressing the city’s growing need for affordable housing. The city, Asheville Board of Realtors (ABR) and more than a dozen other groups joined forces to help create the city’s first affordable housing plan.”Realtors build communities and care about the lack of affordable housing in many of our towns and cities,” says Pat V. Combs, NAR’s immediate past president and vice president of Coldwell-Banker-AJS-Schmidt. “Successful partnerships like this are crucial to developing comprehensive affordable housing plans that will help Asheville’s residents successfully obtain and maintain quality, affordable housing.”U.S. Census data shows that two-thirds of Asheville households make less than the area’s median income. As a result, more than 40 percent of renter households cannot afford their monthly rent payments and nearly one-third of homeowners struggle with their mortgage payments. In addition, of North Carolina’s major cities, Asheville has the lowest annual median income but the second-highest average monthly rent.To address many of these challenges, the affordable housing plan created by the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force recommends zoning changes, incentives for building affordable housing and redeveloping public housing, a free tax-preparation collaborative, an employer-assisted housing initiative and an affordable housing public awareness campaign.