While the lack of affordable housing in rural North Carolina may seem daunting, a recent white paper we completed at Partners for Impact highlights proactive steps communities can take. 

At the local level, municipalities can review zoning policies and create incentives to encourage affordable housing development. Repurposing vacant public land for affordable projects is another option. Landlord incentive programs can increase utilization of housing vouchers.  

Grassroots education and advocacy efforts are also key. Forming affordable housing advisory committees and advocacy groups can raise awareness and build support. Opportunities for officials to hear firsthand from those impacted is critical.

Funders have a role to play as well. Increasing outreach gives rural areas advance notice of funding opportunities. Covering early costs like architectural plans helps small communities compete with larger communities. Expanding application timelines for complex funding allows proper planning and positioning.  

There are no quick fixes for rural affordable housing woes. But utilizing policy, funding, and community engagement strategies provides a path forward.