Housing affordability is a major issue many people are facing in North Carolina as well as nationally. Between 2010 and 2016, the national stock of affordable housing apartments – rental units that cost less than or equal to 30 percent of income – declined 60 percent and North Carolina is one of the states with the largest decline in available affordable housing.

People tend to think of affordable housing as a poor person’s problem with chronic homelessness at the most extreme end. While it’s true these are the most vulnerable and affected populations, housing affordability directly affects a much greater portion of the population, including the working poor and even portions of the middle class. Indirectly, we are all affected by housing affordability, from waiting lists for senior living to rising property tax assessments squeezing middle class homeowners beyond their budgets.

In this toolkit, we’ll look at what affordable housing is, its history, and the challenges cities and counties in North Carolina are facing today. We’ll also identify some of the aspects of poverty that relate to housing affordability, and lead to people experiencing homelessness. Finally, we’ll provide concrete ways you can help advocate for more sources of affordable housing.