Cole McMullin, an active member of Raleigh Democratic Socialists of America spoke to City Council on September 12, 2023:

At the August Council meeting, Councilor Branch mentioned that he would like there to be more focus on home buying opportunities in Raleigh and pointed out that much of the affordable housing efforts by the city are rental properties.

I agree that home ownership is an increasingly important issue and needs to be more accessible to low-income individuals and families.

Traditionally, home ownership has been associated with single family housing which runs contrary to the housing density that the city strives for to meet our climate goals.

The missing middle text change seeks to increase opportunities for ownership of dense housing but is unable to deliver housing that is affordable to middle class buyers in most cases, let alone low-income families. Not to mention the myriad of concerns that have been raised by the community in the past year regarding the missing middle text change.

So how can housing density, home ownership, and affordability be combined?

Limited equity housing cooperatives offer a potential solution for low-income buyers to build equity at an affordable price.

Limited equity housing co-ops are designed to be more affordable than market rate housing by limiting the equity (or amount of money) a member can make when they sell their share. This helps keep the price of shares affordable to low-income residents.

I would like to see the city of Raleigh aggressively pursue opportunities for limited equity housing cooperatives. When the city puts out a request for proposals when developing affordable housing on city owned land, I think it is worthwhile to have scoring criteria that would incentivize the formation and creation of limited equity housing co-ops.

Additionally, I think the city should look for more opportunities to purchase existing apartment complexes for conversion to limited equity housing cooperatives to provide more ownership opportunities to home buyers in Raleigh.

On another note, I wanted to know if City Council has or will formally vote to add ranked choice voting to their legislative agenda requesting permission to use RCV (Ranked Choice Voting) for municipal elections. I know that at a past work session several councilors spoke positively about RCV, but with feedback from the board of elections feel that permission (and more resources) is needed from the state government to properly implement RCV. I think it is worthwhile for this issue to be pursued at the general assembly for an improved election format.

Finally, I’d like to voice my support for the Human Relations Commission’s demand for the creation of a commission of qualified community members who would study issues of systematic racism for 180 days and make recommendations of concrete steps to remedy the impact of racism on the African American community in Raleigh.

Cole has provided a more detailed presentation discussing the topic of: Housing Cooperatives

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