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Chapel Hill Housing Update, Economic Forecast Forum, and Legislative Prospects

Chapel Hill Housing Update, Economic Forecast Forum, and Legislative Prospects

Government Affairs Briefing - Feb. 19, 2024

Chapel Hill Housing Update 

Last Wednesday, Chapel Hill Town Council received a progress report on the Town’s adopted Affordable Housing Plan and Investment Strategy. They shared some encouraging news: 163 new affordable housing units have been approved by Council and a total of 693 affordable units are in the pipeline over the next 5 years, including development on Town-owned land and projects by partners like EMPOWERment and Habitat for Humanity.  As ever, available resources are a sticking point. Staff report that projects through 2026 are largely funded, but significant need remains to close the funding/financing gap on projects further out in the pipeline

Dig Deeper: Spend 15 minutes to watch the report to council and link to quarterly reports and more at

Hillsborough Approves Water/Sewer Extension

By unanimous consent, the Hillsborough Town Commission on Monday became the third local governing body to approve the water/sewer service boundary change. The roughly one-mile stretch of 15-501 between Southern Village and Chatham County is well-served by transit and close to many employers, making it a perfect location for affordable housing provided it has water/sewer access. Only votes by OWASA and the Orange County Board of County Commissioners remain to approve the boundary change.

Habitat Celebrates 40 Years

Last Tuesday, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County celebrated their 40th anniversary. Habitat for Humanity International’s CEO (and UNC alum) Jonathan Reckford was in town to mark the occasion.  During his remarks, he shared that the United States has an affordable housing deficit of between 2 and 6 million units and he encouraged governments to push further in collaboration with business and non-profit builders to help close that gap. “Sticks and carrots are not big enough incentives,” he said, “we need 2x4’s and cake.”  While Reckford inspired from the podium, local Habitat homeowner Addie Wilson’s video stole the show.

Statewide Education Alignment

Last Thursday, hundreds of business, government, and education leaders from across the state gathered for an education attainment update. myFutureNC, a statewide non-profit, organized eight simultaneous regional events to highlight progress toward a goal of 2 million degrees or industry-valued credentials by 2030 among North Carolinians aged 25-44.  Their “Leaky Pipeline” analogy helps explain why less than a third of ninth graders currently earn a post-secondary degree or credential within 6 years and inspires local organizations like The Chamber to help fix the leaks.

Dig Deeper: Check out myFutureNC’s Orange County Fact Sheets for a stat-driven review of education outcomes in our community.

Legislative Prospects

25+ local Chambers gathered with the North Carolina Chamber in Concord last week to discuss state legislative priorities. Childcare needs, affordable housing, and infrastructure funding (including expansion of public/private partnerships, currently capped at 2 projects statewide) were the dominate themes. Most in the room had modest expectations for the General Assembly’s short session kicking off in April. The Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee is currently gathering input from members and partners to explore legislative engagement opportunities. Please share your thoughts via email.

Early Voting Open

Primary election day is March 5 and early voting is currently underway through March 2. Primary elections are critical to our democratic process and multiple offices are up including school board. Orange County voters, please click here to see dates, polling locations, who is on the ballot.

Meet the Chamber's Government Affairs Committee, read the policy platform, contact your local officials, dive deeper into the issues, and contact The Chamber's Vice President for Advocacy Ian Scott for questions or concerns.

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