The City of Asheville allocates over $4.3 million to affordable housing projects via the Housing Trust Fund

Press release from the City of Asheville:

The City of Asheville Housing Trust Fund (HTF) exists to support the development and preservation of affordable housing within the city. The HTF provides financial assistance in the form of loans, grants and other types of funding to developers, nonprofit organizations and individuals to help create and preserve affordable housing units.

Established in 2000, the HTF is administered by the City’s Community Development Division. The fund receives its revenue from a variety of sources, including developer contributions, fees and taxes, and private donations. Since its inception, the HTF has provided funding for a wide range of affordable housing projects, including the construction of new units, rehabilitation of existing units and the provision of rental assistance to low-income residents.

“The goal of the Housing Trust Fund is to ensure that people of all income levels have access to safe, decent, and affordable housing in the city of Asheville,” said Sasha Vrtunski, Affordable Housing Officer with the Community Development Division. “By providing financial assistance to developers, the HTF helps to create and preserve affordable housing options for low- and moderate-income families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities, among others.”

On April 18, the Housing and Community Development Committee (HCD) reviewed the 2023 HTF proposals.  What follows is a summary of the five proposals and recommendations from HCD and staff:

At their April 25 meeting, City Council voted unanimously to  approve the recommended HTF allocations for 4 development projects to produce affordable housing. The result will create 239 affordable units according to the staff report. City Council also directed staff to continue negotiations for affordable housing on City property on Oak Hill Drive.The HTF has provided funding for a wide range of affordable housing projects over the years. Some examples of past projects:

Laurelwood Apartments:  In 2022, City Council allocated $1.5 million of Housing Trust Fund dollars to construct Laurelwood Apartments which included 50 new apartments and the rehabilitation of 52 apartments in the Shiloh neighborhood.  Laurelwood Apartments are for seniors, offer one and two bedroom apartments and serve households with incomes at or below an average of 60% of the area median income.

Starpoint Apartments:  In 2022, the HTF provided $850,000 to Mountain Housing Opportunities to acquire land on Restaurant Court to develop Starpoint Apartments.  This project will have one and two bedrooms, and twenty percent (20%) of the units will be reserved for youth aging out of foster care.

Amaranth Apartments:  In 2019, the HTF provided a $1,200,000 loan to finance the development of Amaranth Apartments, a 70 unit apartment complex in Candler.  The development has a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units, and serves households with incomes at or below 60% of the area median income.

“Overall, while the HTF has made a significant contribution to the creation and preservation of affordable housing in Asheville, more work is needed to address the city’s housing affordability challenges,” said Vrtunski. “This will require a multi-pronged approach that includes not only financial support from the HTF, but also zoning and land-use policies, public-private partnerships, and other strategies aimed at increasing the supply of affordable housing in the city.”

Find a copy of this press release on the City News website.

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