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In the 2014 study conducted by Harvard economist Raj Chetty, Charlotte, NC, was ranked last in upward economic mobility among the 50 largest cities in the U.S. The study found that a child born into poverty in Charlotte was likely to continue to live in poverty throughout adulthood. At the Unlocking the Market conference sponsored by the Urban Institute and Fannie Mae, local changemakers discussed how the city is tackling the problem.

Ralphine Caldwell, Executive Director of Charlotte’s Local Initiatives Support Corporation, said, “It’s going to take more than just the city to be able to accomplish the goals that we want to accomplish in the next few years when it comes to housing.”

A private-public partnership

In 2018, the Foundation For The Carolinas created the privately financed Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund with a $5 million investment to build affordable housing and a commitment to raise $50 million. The city also dramatically increased its publicly financed Housing Trust Fund allocation to $50 million. That was the start of a unique partnership in which the city government, businesses, banks, the healthcare system, the energy company, developers, community organizations, and philanthropists all worked together.

A positive impact

Pam Wideman, Director of the City’s Housing & Neighborhood Services, reported, “Multi-family growth is on the rise [in] our center city [and] in areas just right outside of our downtown. People are coming back to those neighborhoods. [They] want to be able to live close to where they work and where there’s transportation.”

Learn how Charlotte is providing more affordable housing for its residents as well as increasing access to homeownership education, workforce development, and transportation options. Watch the full presentation.