Hired in 2016, David Paul Rosen and Associates presented its findings to the Chapel Hill Town Council earlier this month on the issue of affordable housing.
The firm presented financial analysis and recommendations on what the council should do with two public housing units – 2200 Homestead Road and the Craig Gomains Public Housing neighborhood.
“We do want to create more affordable housing,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger. “So if we can find the best ways to go about it that would get us to those ends, that’s what we’re looking for.”
The report, presented by DRA principal Nora Lake-Brown, focused on three main potential areas for affordable housing funding.
Low-income housing tax credits provide money for local governments operating affordable housing units.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s RAD program converts subsidies into a larger, single payments, making it easier to redevelop specific properties.
The last funding option presented is HUD Section 18, which provides additional funds for demolishing old public housing buildings and provides vouchers for the current residents of those buildings.
Lake-Brown also suggested selling land on some of the public housing properties as a means of financing future projects.
“Any public sale of any public housing sites, the proceeds have to be used for additional affordable housing in the community,” she said.
Given the scarcity of publically owned land in Chapel Hill, members of the council said they didn’t like the idea of selling any property. Hemminger and councilwoman Maria Palmer expressed their disagreement.
“Why on earth would we want to sell land – valuable land – if we don’t need to,” Palmer said. “Why would we even start with the premise that we’re going to sell town-owned land?”
The council accepted the recommendations from DRA and is continuing to evaluate its options for all public and affordable housing units in the town.