Affordable housing panel to look at public/private approaches on Nov. 14

The view inside a home built by Wishbone Tiny Homes. Teal Brown, the company's owner, will be a panel member at an upcoming affordable housing discussion. Photo courtesy of Chris Tack

Demand for purchasing and renting a place to live in the region has outstripped the supply, driving up sales and rents — a situation experts say likely will persist for years. But Bob Swanson and his fellow members of the Carolinas Real Estate Investors Association are determined to do something about it.

The Asheville-based nonprofit invites the public to attend a discussion on affordable housing on Monday, Nov. 14, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park hotel. “We owe it to the community to let people know how severe the shortage is and what the need is,” Swanson says.

The event will feature a panel of four speakers who represent different approaches that could help alleviate what those like Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith have called a crisis. According to Swanson, CREIA members believe builders “may be able to bring new housing online faster” than most local leaders have proposed.

Panelists will include:

  • Barry Bialik, founder of the Compact Cottage Company in Skyland. The company specializes in building small homes that are “affordable to just about anyone,” according to its website.
  • Allan Clark, founder of Mars Hills-based Iron Castles that designs and manufactures homes from shipping containers.
  • Teal Brown, owner of Wishbone Tiny Homes in Asheville. The company builds residences “behind” existing homes that are up to 70 percent the size of the existing house, according to its website.
  • Marianne Kilkenny, author of the book Your Quest for Home: A Guidebook to Find the Ideal Community for Your Later Years. The Asheville resident also is creator and founder of Women for Living in Community, a network that “focuses on the power of women as advocates and leaders for alternative housing choices,” according to Kilkenny’s website.

A question and answer session moderated by Swanson will follow the panel discussion.

“We would like to see our members recognize the trend toward smaller, more cost-effective housing is not a fad and begin to innovate business models that create a new style of supply,” Swanson says. “Ideally, we would like to see the real estate investment community contribute a significant source of supply toward satisfying needed housing.”

That way, they “can develop a more collaborative relationship with the public sector,” he says.

“Our interest goes well beyond our ability to generate income from our investments, as doing so benefits our entire community by helping to sustain economic growth as it’s easier to retain workers who are better able to support their families,” CREIA board members said in a prepared statement.




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12 thoughts on “Affordable housing panel to look at public/private approaches on Nov. 14

  1. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    Habitat for Humanity has a system that WORKS. One thing bureaucrats CAN’T do to encourage and optimize such a non-profit paradigm is think outside of the box, because doing so risks their enjoyment of privilege.

    • Lulz

      LOL yep. If the issues were solved, these people wouldn’t have jobs.

      As written in another post, the swamp here will be drained. Especially as the latest con, which was the bond passing, equates to nothing getting done. The money will be misspent only to ensure that the insiders and cronies, who don’t pay their fair share, get their pet projects done while we of course are fed more BS about there not being enough. For some odd reason, there never is enough money yet the lavish spending on things we don’t need sure does have priority, Again, in an area of economic growth and outside interest making off like bandits, there shouldn’t be a need for continued revenue increases via tax rates and fees, The growth alone should be enough. So if we’re seeing more businesses here, that also means more revenue streams coming in, Where is the money lacking? Or where is it going? Obviously not where it should be. Gentrification is the temporary answer so far but that isn’t a long term solution.

    • luther blissett

      “Habitat for Humanity has a system that WORKS. ”

      I feel sorry for feeding that nut to the blind squirrel. Habitat works because it works on a small scale.

      I’m ambivalent about some of the suggestions, because they tend towards gimmickry. There are already smaller, low-cost housing options, but they’re called single-wides. At what point is a shipping container home a smaller, more durable single-wide versus a single-wide for people who don’t want to say they live in a trailer?

      Smaller private homes go hand in hand with more expansive shared and public spaces. New Yorkers can live in 450 sq. ft. apartments because they’re not cooped up and don’t need to own a bunch of toys. (Think about the acreage in Asheville and the county that’s devoted to self-storage facilities for people with too much stuff for their own homes.)

  2. Jeff Fobes

    In this case, we have private investors — not bureaucrats — looking for ways to solve or ameliorate the housing shortage. The CREIA event seems like an interesting initiative.

    • Lulz

      LOL, seriously? Your friends just got a nice gift handed to them with the bond. But of course if the media wasn’t nothing more than the mouthpiece for it and like actually posted the facts of just who was pushing it, we’d see different results. But of course that isn’t your concern.

  3. Bob Swanson

    Thank you to all who are interested enough to reply. Participating in this panel discussion are private individules who are innovating new concepts in smaller housing on there own dime to create a new supply of affordable housing. There are no bureaucrats to make decisions or public money for these entrepenuers projects. They take the risk and get the reward if the housing they build is desired and well received by the home buying public.

    • Lulz

      While you are trying something different, nothing changes here until the local establishment is kicked to the curb. They’re are the cause of this mess and they will not be anything but a stumbling block to fixing it. Do you drive the Smokey Park bridge AKA Jeff Bowen? You know why it’s still like that? Talk to Gordon Smith because there’s plenty out there of that crony standing in the way of fixing it. Same with Bothwell. These people don’t want it fixed. They want it to continue in order to force as many out as they can who can’t afford the Boutique city they intend to make the are into. The one’s they want to live here won’t question continued tax and fee increases or stand in the way of their agenda. Good luck but you’re not going to accomplish much until the local cronies are gone and a more pro-freedom and less regulatory council is put in its place.

  4. Bob Swanson

    A further thought on my comment, regarding the public sector; City Council and various city departments are making a good and bold effort to change zoning, reduce regulatory burdens, innovate incentives and streamline the process that will encourage homeowners and the private sector to create smaller more affordable housing.

    • Lulz

      LOL, if that were the case the bond issue would be a moot point. Again, with so much economic growth and revenue streams available to them, the tax burden is placed on the residents and those making the money are also getting all the benefits. Bothwell says that property taxes are relatively cheap. But the bond just passed which is going to add to it. And let’s not forget that re-evaluations come in next year which will add to them. And the fees which are hidden taxes. When one uses 5 bucks worth of water and pays a 95 buck water bill because of fees, something is very wrong.

      Again, you won’t get anywhere with the local establishment in place.

      • luther blissett

        “let’s not forget that re-evaluations come in next year which will add to them.”

        Not proven. You keep dodging, so I’ll keep asking: would you sell any real estate you own at its current assessed value? If not, why not? Do you think it’s okay for your own property to be assessed at less than its fair value, but not Hotel Indigo?

        “When one uses 5 bucks worth of water and pays a 95 buck water bill because of fees, something is very wrong.”

        Yet another blatant misrepresentation from a proven liar. It’s $3.99 per CCF, $14.06 in city fees, and $64 in sewer fees. (Turns out you need sewers, especially for someone so full of you-know-what.) Who’s in charge the sewers? Not Cecil Bothwell, you dimwit.

      • luther blissett

        “Again, with so much economic growth and revenue streams available to them”

        Spell out exactly what those “revenue streams” are. If you can’t do so, then they probably don’t exist.

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