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Cornelius News

CDC initiative connects landlords, tenants


June 21. The need for affordable housing in Lake Norman continues to increase. While Cornelius is known for affluence, there are many limited income employed people who struggle to find affordable housing in the town where they work.

A robust economy and in-migration have driven up housing prices and rents making it more difficult for low and moderate-income families to afford housing in the communities where they serve others.

The rising costs of rent has outpaced income increases. Renters are finding it more challenging to find stable and affordable housing. Essential workers such as teachers, firefighters, police officers, medics, dental assistants, nurses, hairdressers, and store managers often are forced to live in other communities.

To help address this issue, the Lake Norman Community Development Corp. (CDC) is launching a new initiative, known as the Rental Bridge Program.


“The goal of the program will be to connect property owners of homes or apartments with approved program tenants” said Executive Director Michelle Hoverson. “The CDC will partner with property owners through a master lease arrangement – a two-year fixed, fair-market price agreement.”

The CDC can sublease a home or apartment at a reduced rate to qualified participants – and provide coaching services to them move toward home ownership.

Who will benefit

Both the property owner and program participant benefits.

• The master lease arrangement protects the owner against vacancy risks and turnover costs while participating in an affordable housing solution with no reduction in rent revenue.

• The rental participant is able to live in the community where they work, allowing them to financially stabilize for two years while receiving financial coaching to move forward towards homeownership.

Each program participant can earn between 60 percent and 100 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), the midpoint of a region’s income distribution – $39,600 to $66,000 for a single person.

When to apply

The Lake Norman CDC’s goal is to begin receiving renter applications starting in June. Currently they are seeking property owners who want to place several apartments within a complex in the program, or those who have just one property.

Centralina: The region

The Charlotte region has been impacted by rapid growth and increasing housing prices over the past several years, making it challenging to find affordable, local options. “It is important to have a mix of different levels of affordability to accommodate these individuals and allow them to live closer to their place of employment. Currently half of the region’s workforce lives in one county and commutes to another, adding traffic congestion into the mix,” said Emily Hickok of the Centralina Regional Council.

“By incorporating a mix of housing price-points, this will not only give cost-burdened families more options to live closer to where they work, but it will also help to reduce commute times,” she said.

A recent study ranked the three Lake Norman towns of Huntersville, Mooresville and Cornelius as some of the top future retirement destinations in the country. More older adults are moving to these towns to take advantage of our climate and healthcare options, as well as to be closer to children and grandchildren.

Given the growth and housing needs in northern Mecklenburg, Centralina Regional Council is in preliminary discussions with community leaders to explore strategies to increase housing supply through improvements to existing housing stock. Hickok expects the council to announce program details and grants to address the issue within the next several months.

For more information about the CDDC, contact Michelle Hoverson at 704-897-7340 or michelle@corneliuscdc.com.