An event was held at the Hillsborough St YMCA to discuss Affordable Housing. The panel included non-profit affordable housing developer DHIC and City of Raleigh staff members.

City Councilors Stormie Forte, Christina Jones and Jane Harrison were in attendance. Councilor Harrison posted her thoughts on Facebook (see below) and provided some great data about what affordability means as it relates to housing in Raleigh.

Generally affordable is defined as requiring no more than 30% of a household’s income being spent on housing.

For the City of Raleigh, affordability is based on a percentage of the Area Median Income (AMI). Housing funded by the city is defined as affordable if it is in reach of those earning between 30% – 80% AMI.

Without knowing what Raleigh’s AMI is or what local salaries are, there really is no way of knowing who affordable housing is affordable for.

This is where Councilor Harrison provided the necessary data.

The AMI for a single person household is $79,400 and for a family of four it is $113,300. (These numbers are high because income levels in Raleigh are very high).

So 80% AMI, considered affordable, works out to an income of $63,520 for an individual and $90,640 for a family of four. The question you need to ask yourself is, Affordable for who?

Starting salaries in Raleigh are for a Teacher: $46,058; Police: $50,301; Firefighter: $46,540.

None of these salaries can support housing at the 80% AMI level for even a single-person household, let alone for a family. At best, a single person can afford housing at 60% AMI which requires an income of $47,600. But 60% AMI is still out of reach for a family having to earn $67,980 to afford the rent.

What we learn from this is that to truly be affordable, Raleigh needs to focus its housing efforts at 60% AMI and BELOW.

Livable Raleigh Editorial Team

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