The high prices of rental housing in Charlotte are generating a crisis that is disproportionately affecting people with limited resources and minorities such as Latinos. Given this situation, a local initiative is seeking to address this problem through collaborative efforts between local media and social organizations.
On , the Solutions Journalism Network launched the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative (CJC), a partnership of six major media companies and other local institutions. Its purpose is investigating and reporting news with a primary focus on solutions to community problems, in this case, access to affordable housing.
High housing costs
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a home is considered affordable if the family living there spends no more than 30 of their income on rent or mortgage.
According to the specialized real estate analysis website Rent Jungle, in February of this year the average rent for an apartment in Charlotte was 1,458, which represents a 7.9 increase over the previous year, when the average rent was 1,343.
Additionally, the average rent for a
studio apartment in Charlotte is 1,124 per month, which is approximately 3.5 more expensive than the national average.
The average apartment rent in Charlotte has increased by 2.4 over the last six months.
Due to these high prices, many people are finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable places to live close to work and schools, which is leading to displacement.
In search of solutions
The Charlotte Journalism Collaborative (CJC), which is supported by funding from Knight Foundation, through the Solutions Journalism Network, is gearing up to begin publishing news content on the issue of affordable housing. The aim is to promote dialogue on this issue and to raise awareness about the social impact of this crisis so that practical solutions can be reached, both in the city’s public and private spheres.
We are confident the Charlotte Collaborative will produce memorable solutions journalism that will inform and engage the community in unique and innovative ways, Liza Gross, VP of Newsroom Practice Change at the Solutions Journalism Network, said in a press release.
The model has the potential to be part of a new wave of great local reporting, which is vital to building strong communities, said Karen Rundlet, Knight Foundation director for journalism.
Members of the collaborative include: La Noticia, The Charlotte Observer, WCNC-TV, QCity Metro, WFAE 90.7FM and QNotes, as well as the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, and Free Press, and Free Press, a community engagement organization.
Creating a Charlotte with more opportunity for people to shape their community and be part of its growth, means ensuring that they are equipped with the information and the avenues they need to contribute. Solutions Journalism will help push this important goal forward, said Charles Thomas, Knight Foundation program director for Charlotte.