Booming population forces Knightdale to expedite affordable housing development plans

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Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Knightdale population growth makes need for affordable housing evident
"I've seen it go from sleepy, little tiny town to like a bustling sort of place," one Knightdale resident looking for more affordable housing said.

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Town of Knightdale currently needs more than 650 affordable housing units to help bridge the gap with the booming population.

Leaders who are pushing an affordable housing plan held an open house Monday to highlight some of the goals and inform people living in the area what the plan would entail. After the open house, the plan was officially presented to the Knightdale Town Council.

Victoria Pruitt moved with her family to Knightdale more than 20 years ago. She has witnessed the town's extensive transformation.

"I've seen it go from sleepy, little tiny town to like a bustling sort of place," she said. "We saw the beltline be built from Hodges Road, so that didn't even used to be there."

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The 30-acre mixed-use development off the Ellis Road exit is just 20 miles from downtown Raleigh and five miles from downtown Durham.

Pruitt is the primary caretaker for her parents and lives in their home, along with her fiancé.

They all need more space, but they can't afford to move with the booming population driving up the price of homes in the area.

"We all kind of work in Raleigh, so it's kind of hard to decide what's more important," Pruitt said. "Right now where we live is pretty good for working in Raleigh, even if the house itself isn't great."

Census data showed that Knightdale's population went from 11,000 people in April 2010 to more than 19,000 in July 2022.

The median household income is more than $79,000.

That same Census data also revealed that the number of people living in poverty is 6.9%. Knightdales' poverty percentage is higher than the nearby communities of Wake Forest, Garner, and Wendell.

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Knightdale leaders said the town's housing plan is looking to add an affordable housing component with each development project that comes online during the next decade.

Additionally, there are plans to improve how people get around.

"How people get to work, school and have the ability to live -- walk, bike, transit or drive if they chose," Knightdale Development Services Director Jason Brown said.

Knightdale is working with the UNC-Greensboro Center for Housing and Community Studies to build an inclusive, affordable housing plan.

Pruitt is hoping her parents can benefit.

"I wish there was a place that I could be sure that they were to be safe and comfortable in," she said.

The town will be looking for funding or partnerships with nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity to bring even more options to the table.

BOOMTOWNS: Click here for more ABC11 stories about the incredible growth in our region.