Community Development - June 10, 2019
Winston-Salem is one of three cities selected by a national housing advocacy group to participate in a pilot project, called "ForEveryoneHome," to find ways to promote and preserve affordable, inclusive housing.
Grounded Solutions Network will provide $150,000 worth of technical assistance over an 18-month period to help Winston-Salem find innovative ways to create affordable housing for lower-income residents, and preserve existing affordable housing that is at risk of being lost through gentrification.
To participate in the pilot project, the City Council last month approved a $75,000 match for the grant, to be covered by the housing bonds voters approved last November.
Mayor Allen Joines said, "We are thrilled that Winston-Salem will participate in the ForEveryoneHome pilot project. Affordable housing is one of our top strategic priorities and we are looking forward to exploring innovative ways with Grounded Solutions Network to address this fundamental need for every one of our citizens."
Marla Newman, the city's community development director, said that the pilot project came along at an opportune moment. "This is a great opportunity to support the work of the newly created Affordable Housing Coalition, and help the city implement some of the key goals of the housing needs assessment that we recently completed," she said.
Those goals include closing the gap in the supply of rental housing that lower-income residents can afford, estimated at more than 16,000 units; ensuring that new rental housing construction matches the need based on household size; and preventing the displacement of low-income households through gentrification -- the process of investors buying low-cost housing and upgrading it for sale or rent to higher-income residents.
Newman said the study will explore a wide range of housing solutions that can be applied or adapted to achieve "inclusive growth with lasting affordability," which she defined as 30 years or more.
Solutions to be explored include strategies to preserve subsidized and non-subsidized affordable housing; non-traditional affordable housing models such as community land trusts and shared-equity home-ownership programs; land banks and public land disposition policies; and housing trust funds.
Along with Winston-Salem, Indianapolis and San Antonio have been selected to participate in ForEveryoneHome. All three cities are considered to be "mixed market" cities, which Grounded Solutions defines as cities with appreciable growth in some neighborhoods, disinvestment in others, and reason for concern that growth patterns threaten to displace low-income communities of color now or in the near future.
The initiative in each city will be led by a project team comprising local officials and community representatives who can speak for the communities at risk of being displaced. Winston-Salem's project team includes Joines; Newman; Council Member Denise D. Adams; James Perry, the president and CEO of the Winston-Salem Urban League; Paula McCoy, a member of the city’s Affordable Housing Coalition and the former executive director of Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods; and Aaron King, the director of planning and development services for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.
Grounded Solutions Network, based in Portland, Ore., is a national non-profit organization that promotes shared equity housing programs and inclusive housing policies to achieve long-term housing affordability. The network includes more than 230 nonprofit organizations and public agencies throughout the United States. For more information about Grounded Solutions and the ForEveryoneHome project, go to groundedsolutions.org.