Home, cheap home? Affordable housing essays, part two

LOOKING UP: Mountain Housing Opportunities homeowner Anika Ervin takes part in constructing her own home in MHO's Self Help program in Weaverville. MHO, a private, nonprofit housing and community development corporation, is the largest producer of affordable housing west of Charlotte. MHO produces over $10 million each year in affordable and workforce housing development, home lending, housing preservation and neighborhood revitalization. This year, MHO is completing 109 new affordable homes in Leicester, Swannanoa and Mars Hill and preserving over 100 homes for low-income homeowners this year in Asheville and Buncombe County. Photo courtesy of MHO

There’s no doubt about it: For growing numbers of residents, finding affordable housing in the area is a daunting challenge.

Increasingly, people not only want to visit Asheville: They want to live here. But the high demand for housing across all sectors, the high cost and limited availability of land, the challenges of building in the mountains — together with the harsh reality of wages that aren’t keeping pace with rising housing costs — add up to a grave issue facing this community.

What would it take to solve the Asheville area’s affordable housing problem?

In hopes of sparking dialogue that might help move us beyond mere collective hand-wringing, Xpress posed that question to assorted local nonprofit leaders, government officials, builders, developers, academics and folks who’ve struggled to find affordable housing themselves.

We got back a range of thoughtful essays — so many, in fact, that we couldn’t fit them all into a single issue. In this second of three parts, five writers offer their diverse views and suggestions.

Here are links to this week’s essays (updated as they are posted online):

“Let’s Subsidize Real Affordability,” by Cindy Visnich Weeks, Vice President, Director of Community Investments, Mountain Housing Opportunities Inc.

“Affordable Housing or Affordable Living?” by Pat Whalen, President, Public Interest Projects Inc.



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