Raleigh mayor meets with business owners to brainstorm affordable housing solutions

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- With nearly 60 people moving here every day, the Triangle is one of the fastest growing areas in the country--but be clear, we're in a crisis.

"If people can't afford to live here, they're not going to work here," Raleigh Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin said.

Tuesday, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce rallied business owners to discuss affordability and affordable housing. The event was sponsored by Bank of America.

"If the tide is going to rise then all ships need to rise with that tide, and we need to be able to help folks get from one economic level to the next," said Virginia Parker with Bank of America.

The packed house heard from high profile developers and local professors.

Thomas Barrie from NC State zeroed in on zoning solutions, explaining how other cities relax their rules on zoning to allow for more housing construction. Mayor Baldwin took copious notes but told ABC11 that Raleigh couldn't take on the idea so soon.

"Unfortunately we can't do that. So it's one of those things where we keep talking about this there's a lot of things we can't do due to state law. So if we're going to tackle the housing affordability issue, we're going to need cooperation from the state/federal government in new ways," Baldwin said.

Badwin also added that the fix goes beyond the feds. She said the main feeder to housing instability is low inventory.

"Supply and demand. A lot of people forget we're recovering from the recession a few years back. So the recession cut the supply," Baldwin said.

Baldwin hopes that Raleigh will capitalize on housing access with emphasis on public transportation.

"We can start to build housing in high use transit lines," Baldwin said.

But in order to do all these things, it will take money.

"Charlotte has been a great example of how the business community is supporting housing affordability. They have an affordable housing fund. We're going to create the same thing," Baldwin said.
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