Affordable Housing in the Triangle

Last Tuesday, September 20, Triangle J Council of Governments partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the FDIC and Enterprise Community Partners to present the Triangle Regional Housing Summit. It was a great afternoon filled with discussions and panels from housing agencies, developers, elected officials, and members of the finance community from across the region.

I don’t want to go any further without recognizing the hard work of several members of the Triangle J staff that worked very hard to make the summit a success. Specifically, Aspen Romeyn and Julia Katz, who work on our planning team, did amazing work to coordinate the conference.  They were absolutely crucial in making sure that the event was a success. Our new Engagement Specialist, Alana Keegan, jumped right in and helped with event promotion and then live-tweeted the event for those not able to attend. Planning Director John Hodges-Copple provided outstanding leadership to the team and offered great insight during the Summit, which I will refer to a bit later.  Finally, our Administration and Member Services Director Renee Boyette assisted the team the day of the event.housing-summit

I was very impressed to see a large number of elected officials and staff members from many of our Triangle J member governments show up, as well as important participants in the housing affordability space from non-profits, universities, and financial institutions.

Over 100 people were in attendance for the summit, reinforcing what I have been hearing from our member governments across the region – that housing affordability is an issue that continues to dominate their agendas and is a challenge and an opportunity for all of our member communities, from large to small.

Triangle J Council of Governments Regional Planning Director John Hodges-Copple gave an outstanding presentation to set the context of the event. John’s presentation highlighted the growing challenge that many residents in the Triangle J region face, especially when you examine the impact of housing costs and transportation costs. You can view it here.

It is clear that these challenges will continue, especially as our region welcomes another 1 million residents into our area during the next generation.

At the close of the event, I spoke with the audience about the range of emotions I had during the afternoon. John’s presentation of the facts and the challenges facing our region was a bit daunting and depressing. However, after talking to many of the people who attended and hearing about the great work  going on in our region, I reassured the audience that we should all leave the summit with a feeling of hope, excitement, and determination. There’s a true sense of commitment and passion in our region to find collaborative solutions to the issues facing us. I am hopeful the commitment I saw across the presentations and conversation to develop collaborative efforts will produce results.

I am excited that many of the speakers and attendees understood the importance of regional solutions and regional collaboration to address the regional issue of housing affordability. Triangle J Council of Governments continues to ramp up our efforts to assist our members and others in this work. Our goal is to serve as a place where regional conversations, innovation, and collaboration can occur around this important topic. We have talented staff members with housing expertise who are ready to assist our members to achieve these goals. Work in this area is already underway in Chatham County, Pittsboro, and Siler City, as well as at GoTriangle. Additionally, we have provided some technical assistance to the Town of Princeton. Our staff members are ready to discuss other opportunities with any of our members who have needs and we look forward to continuing work on strategies around regional solutions.

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