Charlotte’s history of affordable housing includes broken promises and empty gestures. Now that the city’s chronic shortage has become a crisis, leaders are responding with unprecedented resources. Will this time be different?
Anyone who’s lived in Charlotte for a minute knows that the Ballantyne area, wealthier than Mecklenburg County as a whole, isn’t the place to find an affordable apartment if you’re a hotel housekeeper, a fry cook, a landscaper — anyone making less than $15 or so an hour.
Like most major American cities, Charlotte is suffering from a severe shortage of affordable housing. More than a third of households in Charlotte are “cost-burdened,” which means they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, according to a city report.
In a courtroom usually set aside for the violence adults unleash on each other, the names of two dead children hung like ghosts. Then detail by wincing detail, a Mecklenburg prosecutor brought Drakeford Watts and Mariya Owens back to life as he told the public for the first time how they died.