Affordable Housing in Wake County
Wake County Board Approves $35 Million for Affordable Housing
November 21, 2022
The mission to create more affordable housing in Wake County received another significant boost today after Wake County Board unanimously voted to appropriate $35 million from the county's existing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to address housing instability.
This appropriation was possible because the U.S. Treasury Department recently adjusted ARPA guidelines in an effort to spur the development of more affordable housing at time of rising rents. The new rules give counties more flexibility in using the rescue funds to address this critical national issue. Now, Wake County can use some of the $216.7 million in ARPA funds received in 2021 to finance additional building, repair or operation of long-term affordable rental housing.
"Stable and affordable housing is a foundation for the health and well-being of everyone in our county," said Wake County Commissioner Vickie Adamson. "Addressing this need has been a top priority for me and this Board, and we need to keep this momentum up in the coming years. Federal funding opportunities like this, paired with our ongoing preservation efforts through the Wake County Affordable Housing Preservation Fund, are vital in ensuring people here have a safe roof over their heads."
Wake County received the largest ARPA award in the state and has already expended or appropriated $172.6 million to support COVID-19 response, economic recovery, housing and community projects. About $44 million remained unbudgeted. After learning of the rule change, the Wake County Housing Affordability and Community Revitalization Department worked with the Finance Department and identified $35 million that could be used for several housing projects, harnessing existing federal programs like HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) Grants and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.
"Since 2018, Wake County has funded nearly 3,000 affordable units within our county. However, we're also the third fastest growing county in the country, so we can't stop there, and we can't wait for the housing market to stabilize itself. We need to be aggressive in our attempts to create and preserve our affordable housing, and these federal dollars are yet another step that Wake is making toward that end." said Wake County Housing Affordability and Community Revitalization Director Lorena McDowell.
The ARPA funding now eligible for these affordable housing projects will need to be spent by Dec. 31, 2026. The board also approved transferring $18.5 million from the Housing Fund for use in the County Capital fund, resulting in $16.5 million in net new funds for affordable housing.
The board's actions support its community health and vitality goal of creating affordable housing opportunities and supporting efforts to end homelessness.