What are Asheville’s housing challenges? How will a changing population affect Asheville’s housing stock? And what needs must be met to ensure affordable housing is available in the future?
Addressing Asheville’s housing conversation requires answers to those and other questions, which is why, every five years, the City of Asheville commissions a Housing Needs Assessment for the city and the surrounding four counties.
“Affordable housing continues to be a critical part of the city’s strategies for a healthy community,” says Community and Economic Development Assistant Director Jeff Staudinger. Likewise, he points out, Asheville City Council continues to prioritize affordable housing as a strategic goal.
Asheville’s constantly growing and changing demographics pose big challenges to the housing stock, according to the report. Between now and 2020, Asheville’s population is expected to grow by 6,374 people, or 7.1%. Over the next five years, the largest segment of that growth will be people 55 years or older, which will likely require more development of smaller single-family homes. Meanwhile, rental units in Asheville have a practically 0% vacancy rate: out of 9,300 rental units surveyed, only 82 were available.
“We need housing across all categories, family sizes and income groups,” Staudinger says.
This is the fourth time since 2000 that the city has received the Housing Needs Assessment report. It is included in the City of Asheville’s Consolidated Strategic Housing and Community Development Plan, which guides the use of federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME funding as well as the City’s own Housing Trust Fund and Comprehensive Affordable Housing Strategy.
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