Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What Housing Do We Need for the Future?

Residents can help plan for the future of housing in our region by coming to an open house and giving their input on the housing challenges they face and housing they'd like for their community and the region.

Residents and business people are invited to attend a Regional Housing Needs Study drop-in open house on August 26, 2013, 4-7 p.m. Lincoln County Senior Center, Lincolnton, as part of the "CONNECT Our Future" project.

The CONNECT Our Future Regional Housing Needs study is a critical opportunity for people of our 14-county region to work together and create a Comprehensive Regional Housing Strategy to meet current and future needs as our region grows. Planning ahead for the future and the growth that's coming can help address questions everyone faces now, such as:
Ø  How do we supply adequate and appropriate housing for our future workforce, for people to age in place and for our growing population?
Ø  How can we ensure housing is located near to jobs, schools and transportation?
Ø  How do we identify and remove barriers to fair housing for under-represented groups?

The Regional Housing Needs Study open house will give people a chance to learn more about preliminary findings on housing needs as well as provide their input on their housing challenges and preferences.  The feedback will be incorporated into the final findings of the housing needs study and a housing strategy for the region.

The drop-in open house is staffed, will have board exhibits and stations, and people can ask questions, provide input, and are free to come and go as they choose during the open house time period.
The Regional Housing Needs open house is one of seven taking place during July and August and being held throughout the 14-county region.

CONNECT Our Future is a three-year project to develop a regional framework to address the projected growth of the region and address the current and future challenges facing communities. The 14-county project region which includes: Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union Counties in North Carolina, and Chester, Lancaster, Union and York Counties in South Carolina.

In the past decade, the region surrounding Charlotte has emerged as America’s fastest growing region of any area with a population greater than 1 million people. Within 20 years, the population is expected to grow by 50 percent, and double by 2050, meaning the addition of nearly 2 million people to the region.

The region is also one of the largest in the nation without a framework for growth. The growth framework will help to ensure the region can match growth with good quality jobs, necessary transportation, quality housing that is affordable, clean water, improved air quality and other social and physical infrastructure improvements.

Because residents throughout the region drive the same network of roads, breathe the same air and drink from the same water sources, the collaboration of communities working together across local boundaries can help to plan for healthy growth and avoid the negative consequences of growth.

The three-year planning process to build a regional framework is funded by a U.S. Housing and Urban Development federal grant. The framework will be built on existing community plans, public engagement, and local values. The framework will contain policies, strategies and tools for voluntary use and adoption by local governments, and will also create a network of relationships across the region to address the challenges faced by individual communities and the region as a whole.

The Centralina Council of Governments (CCOG), which was the grant recipient on behalf of the CONNECT member local governments and organizations, and the Catawba Regional Council of Governments (CRCOG), is helping to coordinate, facilitate and staff the process. To learn more about this initiative, visit www.ConnectOurFuture.org.

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