I believe that equity is equity - if we can give more of our neighbors the chance to own a home and build equity, we can start to reverse generations of structural racism and discriminatory housing practices. When families own homes, they can build the wealth they need to start a small business, send their kids to college, and have something to pass on to their loved ones. I’ll be putting forward the first plan to create 30,000 new homeowners in Charlotte.
We can’t stop there. We have to be more intentional about preserving naturally occurring affordable housing, because we can’t build our way out of the affordable housing crisis. We should stop encouraging “value adds” - the practice of turning affordable housing into market-rate or luxury products. While we can’t stop natural change and development, these projects are some of the worst gentrifiers. We have to ask ourselves if taking away affordable housing really adds value to our community.
We have to work with the real estate and development industry to make sure our regulatory framework isn’t unnecessarily burdensome, because high costs put homes out of reach. If a policy, plan, or investment is working to create affordable shelter, we should continue to support it; if not, we should make a change from business as usual.
Finally, we have to get special interest money out of our decision-making process. When our city council takes campaign contributions from developers with business in front of the city, it creates the appearance of a conflict of interest. We need to work to change our ethics rules so voters know the city council works for them - not any special interest. I’ve pledged to return any contributions from the real estate, development, and hotel industry so you know I’m working for you.