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The Daily Tar Heel

Orange County aims to have 1,000 affordable housing units by 2020

The Orange County Housing Authority identified Johnson Street as one of ten parcels of land suitable for affordable housing.

The Orange County Housing Authority identified Johnson Street as one of ten parcels of land suitable for affordable housing.

The proposal is open to anyone who can complete the form in order to allow as many projects as possible to use bond money.

“There’s a growing need around the country for affordable housing we’ve been aware of,” said Annette Moore, director for housing and community development. “We are making an aggressive push to meet our goals.”

The bond aligns with the county’s goal to reach 1,000 affordable housing units before 2020.

“Affordable housing provides options for homeless and for middle-class type of folks such as school teachers or those in the sheriff department,” said Todd McGee, community relations director for Orange County.

Currently, the income needed for a two-bedroom apartment in Orange County is $33,720. The lowest 30 percent median income of two people would be $17,000.

Proposed projects will be scored based on building design, developer experience, the practicality of the project, household income and community support.

The level of household income for people that will be living in the proposed affordable housing and whether or not organizations requesting bond money can also use their own funds are both important factors in deciding the allocation of the bond.

The town held two information sessions on Tuesday. At the workshop, there were five nonprofit companies and five developers in attendance.

“The problem (people raised at the workshop) is they may not have a project together right now, but will down the road a few years,” said David Cannell, Orange County’s purchasing agent.

Cannell said that allowing organizations to apply for bond funds through this type of proposal is relatively new. A similar process was completed in 2001.

There are 10 possible parcels of land that could be used for housing. Projects can apply to use one of the parcels of land. Cannell said the property could be leased or sold by negotiated sale with the proceeds used for affordable housing.

There are four land parcels in Hillsborough, three in Carrboro and one in Chapel Hill. The other two are close to Mebane.

“It’s a prescribed method to give everyone a chance to bid on this money,” Moore said. “The best people, the best ideas and the most housing for the money we have.”

Once the March 31 project submission deadline passes, a team will score organizations that want bond money based on established criteria. The team will include housing board members, a finance director and a deputy county manager.

Moore said the Orange County Board of County Commissioners will make a final decision after the organizations are scored.

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