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Marketing & Communications

Posted on: June 17, 2021

Policy Recommendations Presented to Address Housing Needs

Creating an affordable housing trust fund, changing zoning law to allow more flexible housing options, establishing a land bank to counter gentrification pressures and developing an eviction prevention plan are among the new policy recommendations in a report presented to the City Council’s Community Development/Housing/General Government Committee on Tuesday.

The report, developed by a team of city officials and community representatives, is the culmination of a two-year collaboration with Grounded Solutions Network to find innovative ways to promote and preserve affordable, inclusive housing for lower-income residents and preserve existing affordable housing that is at risk of being lost. Grounded Solutions Network is a national housing advocacy group that selected Winston-Salem as one of three cities in the nation to participate in the pilot project for its “ForEveryoneHome: City Solutions for Housing Equity” initiative.

Over the past two years the team has conducted a needs assessment to identify current and emerging housing challenges, developed policy proposals to address these challenges, and put together a detailed plan of immediate steps the city should take to prevent displacement and promote inclusive, affordable housing.

The policy recommendations and action plan will be considered for adoption by City Council at its meeting Monday. If adopted, the Affordable Housing Coalition – a commission established by the City Council to recommend strategies to meet Winston-Salem’s affordable housing needs – will incorporate the items into the multi-year housing plan it is developing.

Funding to implement the ForEveryoneHome recommendations would come from a portion of the 2018 housing bonds that was set aside for the initiative.

A 2018 study by Enterprise Community Partners on behalf of the city estimated that the city had a need for more than 16,000 housing units that lower-income residents could afford. The study also identified a mismatch between new housing construction and housing needs based on household size, and a need to prevent 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.

Indianapolis and San Antonio were selected along with Winston-Salem to participate in the ForEveryoneHome pilot program. 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.

Winston-Salem’s project team included Council Member and Mayor Pro Tempore 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; Marla Newman, the city’s community development director; 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

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