Watauga Housing Council begins process to create affordable housing plan

Watauga Housing Council begins process to create affordable housing plan

3:58pm Jun 14, 2022
Community members gathered at Watauga High School and virtually on June 13, 2022 to discuss potential solutions for having more affordable housing in the area. It was the first meeting of the newly created Watauga Housing Council. Photo courtesy of Logan DiGiacomo, a graduate student at Appalachian State University.

A High Country community is a step closer to creating an action plan that would address the need for more affordable housing. The Watauga Housing Council met for the first time this week to map out the process.

Local residents, community leaders, and stakeholders gathered at Watauga High School for the event. Dozens of people participated both in-person and virtually.

Most of the discussion centered around an online poll that allowed participants to provide feedback and decide what they want to tackle as a community. That narrowed the focus to all low to moderate-income people in Watauga County having accessible, equitable, safe, and affordable housing.

A recent study of the High Country showed the rental housing market occupancy rate in the region is nearly 100 percent. The tourist community is growing and so are major employers, like Appalachian State University.

“This is going to change. It needs to change. Everything can change overnight in terms of the resources we are working with, the landscape we are working around and so this needs to be adaptable," says Lindsey Sullivan with AppHealthCare who co-led the discussion.

The group's next step is an action plan, research on what data will help measure success, and looking at housing strategies that are working in other states as well as some local initiatives.

All of this will be part of the Watauga Housing Council’s next meeting on June 27.

Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

Support your
public radio station