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Chapel Hill Voters Approve Affordable Housing Bond

Chapel Hill voters expressed their overwhelming approval of an Affordable Housing Bond Referendum on Tuesday, November 6th.  The Bond was approved by 72% of voters. 

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“We are grateful for our community’s support of this important effort to create a place for everyone in Chapel Hill,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger. 

The referendum approves $10 million in general obligation bonds to help the Town achieve its strategic plan for developing 400 new affordable housing units and preserve 300 existing affordable units over the next five years. The Town anticipates using the bond funding to support several large-scale affordable housing projects including public housing redevelopment and development on Town-owned parcels.

Requests for Proposals will also be issued in order to fund projects developed by regional affordable housing partners. The priorities established in the Town’s Affordable Housing Plan will guide the selection of the bond-supported projects. The Chapel Hill Town Council will have final approval of all projects.

The Chapel Hill Town Council approved three eligible activities for use of Affordable Housing Bond Funds:

  • Acquisition

  • Home Repairs

  • New Construction

 The Council also approved the following priorities for use of funds:

  • Rental housing serving households less than 60 percent of the area median income (about $48,300 for a household of 4)

  • Rental housing serving vulnerable populations

  • Housing that achieves long-term affordability

  • Housing located near transit services

  • Projects that leverage other financial resources

What’s next for the bonds and affordable housing?

The Town has seven years from the date of the election to issue the bonds. The Town and the Council will follow a process established by the Local Government Commission prior to accessing affordable housing bond funds. The first step will be Council discussion and approval of a resolution certifying and approving the referendum results (January 2019),

Projects will be evaluated and approved by the Town Council.


why was an affordable housing bond referendum on the ballot?

  • One of the Town's priorities is to make Chapel Hill a Place for Everyone. In order to achieve the Town's priority, housing for persons of low and moderate income is needed.

    • 75% of existing housing in Chapel Hill is not affordable to households making below 80% of the Area Median Income ($64,500 for a family of four)

    • Over half of the renters in Chapel Hill are cost burdened

    • Over 75% of extremely low income households in Chapel Hill are extremely cost burdened

What will the $10 million be used for?

It is expected the bond funds would be used towards the development and preservation of 700 affordable housing units.

  • 400 new affordable housing units developed

  • 300 existing affordable housing units preserved

There are three main categories of eligible uses of the proposed bond funds:

  1. Construction of new affordable housing

  2. Preservation of existing affordable housing

  3. Acquisition of property to be used for affordable housing

What is affordable housing?

  • A home that costs no more than 30% of a household’s income.

  • Affordable housing typically serves households below 80% of the Area Median Income, which for a family of four in Chapel Hill is $64,500 a year.

What is a Bond Referendum?

  • A voting process that gives voters the power to decide if a municipality should be authorized to raise funds through the sale of bonds.

  • Payment on the bonds is expected to require an estimated tax increase of a penny per $100 of property value.