“The lack of workforce housing in desirable areas like Asheville and Buncombe County often forces essential workers, such as teachers, nurses and police personnel, to seek housing in outlying areas far from where they work. The result: long commutes that have negative impacts on those workers … and on the local and global environments.”
So begins a new report from UNC Chapel Hill’s Center for Urban & Regional Studies: A Long Way from Home: The Impacts of a Limited Supply of Workforce Housing in the Asheville Metropolitan Area. Researchers unveiled the study at a Tuesday, June 15, morning press conference at the Governor’s Western Residence in Asheville.
A PDF of the preliminary executive summary of the report is available online.
Xpress attended, and here’s the collected Tweets (short notes) from managing news editor Margaret Williams
What’s the state of affordable housing in Asheville area?
UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Urban & Regional Studies has new report, whose results are being disclosed at today’s press conference at the Governor’s Western Residence.
Attending the meeting: NC Sen Martin Nesbitt, Asheville Vice Mayor Brownie Newman, Buncombe County commissioner Holly Jones, Mountain Housing Opportunity Director Scott Dedman, Chapel Hill researchers, WLOS, Citizen-Times & Xpress.
There’s a mismatch between where workers live & where they work, says Susan Perry Cole of NC Association of Community Development Corporations, a partner in study.
The study focuses on housing needs of workers: teachers, police, shop clerks etc, making less than $48,000/yr (the median income for area). About 8,000 of these middle-income workers commute to within 7 miles of downtown Asheville.
While Buncome County provides 67% of the jobs in the metro area, it provides only 54% of the housing for the workforce. If more of the workforce lived closer to jobs, we could reduce CO2 emissions caused by transportation.
Between 2000 & 2007, growth in lower-wage jobs resulted in an increase in households earning below the area median income ($43,819), the Chapel Hill study says.
Lack of workforce housing is Asheville area’s “dirty little secret,” says Buncombe Chair David Gantt. Everyone who works in Asheville should be able to live in Asheville, says Asheville Vice Mayor Brownie Newman.
Average worker who commutes to Asheville spends up to 250 hours per year in a car & uses 397 gallons of gas, the study says.
Scott Dedman of MHL: Mayor Bellamy taught me 13 years ago that it’s not just about building homes but about building community.
18,000 workrs commute to Asheville/Buncombe, according to a Chamber of Commerce chart, Dedman points out
Mayor Bellamy calls for action, advocacy for affordable housing.