Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Investing in the Future of Affordable Housing in N.C.


This is the twenty-eighth in a series of informative monthly articles for North Carolina businesses from PNC in collaboration with BUSINESS NORTH CAROLINA magazine. 

As North Carolina continues to attract tremendous business growth and recruit the workforce necessary to deliver on the state’s tremendous potential, rising costs and increased demand for housing are exerting significant pressure on the supply of affordable
rental housing in communities throughout the region.

Venus Myles

While the affordable housing challenge is not unique
to North Carolina, it represents a significant area of
concern – and not only for households dependent on
access to reasonably priced housing, but to the economy
at large, says Venus Myles, senior vice president and PNC Community Development Banking market manager for
the Carolinas.

Myles, who leads a North Carolina-based team that is
laser-focused on helping improve the quality of life in
low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, points to research from the National Low Income Housing Coalition that calculates the shortage of affordable housing as costing the U.S. economy approximately $2 trillion per year in lower wages and productivity. That reality alone, she says, brings validation to the multi-stakeholder efforts underway to help improve access to affordable housing.

“All of us at PNC recognize the imperative to bolster the supply of affordable housing throughout the country and right here in North Carolina,” says Myles. “And as a national main street bank, we are uniquely positioned to help support the various pathways to build and preserve affordable housing in our communities.”

In North Carolina, PNC Community Development Banking’s investments and initiatives to enhance the supply of affordable housing vary by community, based on the housing infrastructure and needs unique to local populations – from preserving Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) in Charlotte to building new supportive housing units in
Rocky Mount.

Preserving NOAH in Mecklenburg County
A relatively new strategy to bolster the supply of affordable housing in Mecklenburg County, NOAH preservation represents a less expensive and faster alternative to building new construction, particularly in areas with existing housing infrastructure, and also mitigates the loss of affordable housing units and displacement of low- and moderate-income residents, says Myles.

To help activate this strategy, PNC Bank recently invested $8 million in Housing Impact Fund II (HIF II), a $66.8 million social impact equity fund raised to preserve NOAH in Mecklenburg County.

Managed by Erskine Bowles and Nelson Schwab and operated in partnership with
Ascent Housing, HIF II acquires, renovates and sets long-term affordability covenants on
large-scale apartment communities vulnerable to gentrification. Following on the heels
of the success of the initial Housing Impact Fund, which preserved over 800 apartments in opportunity-rich areas of Charlotte, HIF II is setting aside 30% of its portfolio for households earning less than 30% of area median income (AMI), 50% of units to households earning less than 60% AMI and 20% of units to households earning less than 80% AMI.

“Housing Impact Fund’s NOAH preservation strategy is two-fold: Protecting existing residents from rising rents and creating new opportunities for low- and moderate-income households when units become available through natural turnover,” says Mark Ethridge, principal at Ascent Housing.

With the support of PNC and other local investors, HIF II recently completed its first investment: The acquisition of Charlotte Woods, a 266-unit apartment property located near Myers Park and Park Road Shopping Center.

Current residents of Charlotte Woods will be protected from displacement through rent stabilization, and the adoption of long-term covenants will help ensure housing remains affordable for households of various income levels over time. 

“We’re grateful for PNC Bank’s investment in HIF II and for its commitment to be part of the solution to Mecklenburg County’s affordable housing challenge,” says Ethridge.

Contributing to the development of supportive
housing in Rocky Mount
In August, PNC and community stakeholders joined Rocky Mount Housing Authority (RMHA) and RMHA’s development arm, South Eastern North Carolina Community Development Corporation (SENCCDC), to celebrate the grand opening of Vance Street Homes, an affordable housing development for which PNC Community Development Banking helped finance construction.

Consisting of eight new single-family homes designed for residents with disabilities and low- and moderate-income families who qualify for supportive housing, the Vance Street Homes development was built on land donated to SENCCDC by Edgecombe County – and made possible by a multitude of agencies, funders and business leaders.

PNC’s support for Vance Street Homes builds upon its significant investments and engagement
in Rocky Mount, including
previous collaboration with SENCCDC and its development of supportive housing.

“Delivering on the region’s housing challenge requires collaboration and a shared vision among public and private sectors, and Vance Street Homes is a classic example of what
that collaboration looks like in practice,” says Myles. “All of us at PNC are confident this development will create positive and lasting impact, and we are grateful to be part of this important effort.”

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