KANNAPOLIS — On Aug. 27, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8) hosted a roundtable discussion in Kannapolis on affordable housing and Opportunity Zones in low-income areas. Local leaders from Cabarrus County also participated in the discussion.
“We were able to personally show Secretary Carson and Congressman Hudson the work we have done in our Opportunity Zone which is the West Avenue Streetscape, the Atrium Health Ballpark and the mixed-use development VIDA, which is under construction,” Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant said in a release by the city.
Opportunity Zones are a federal program which allows private capital to be invested in struggling areas without the usual tax obligations. A release from Hudson’s office estimates the zones will spur $100 billion in investments across the country. North Carolina has 252 Opportunity Zones, including 18 in the 8th Congressional District, which includes Stanly and Cabarrus counties.
Downtown Kannapolis is among the first such zones in the nation, and many properties in the zone have already seen investment due to the designation.
“Through measures like Opportunity Zones and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, I’m proud of the progress made by working with President Trump, which we highlighted today in Kannapolis,” Hudson said in a press release.
During the roundtable, leaders from local government and a number of community organizations — including Habitat for Humanity, Cooperative Christian Ministry, Hope Haven, and Opportunity House — had an opportunity to give Carson and Hudson information on their efforts, especially in the area of affordable housing. They highlighted the Tiny House projects in Kannapolis’s Carver neighborhood, the senior citizen housing at Prosperity Ridge Apartments and Concord’s Habitat for Humanity homes.
“While we have made progress to add affordable housing in our city, we do have a great need for more housing for seniors, young adults transitioning out of foster care, people with disabilities and others,” Hinnant said during the discussion. “As a county we are working to secure additional federal dollars for more projects to help our residents.”
Hudson and Carson said they were committed to securing more grants and HUD funding for the area. Carson oversees $12 billion in CARES Act funding passed to respond to economic losses from the pandemic and resulting shutdowns. Hudson said H.R. 3077, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which he co-sponsored, would also contribute to improving housing costs and availability by giving more flexibility to the housing program.
“Housing prices have risen to the level that there are many in the workforce who maintain a job, but still cannot afford a place to call home,” Carson said. “The Trump administration has been working hard to bring solutions to this problem. Today, I’m pleased to bring together leaders of innovation and deregulation in North Carolina’s housing market, and I thank Representative Hudson for his commitment to affordable housing for all.”
After the discussion, Hudson and Carson went to Concord and toured one of the Habitat for Humanity homes being built.
“I appreciate Secretary Carson for coming to our community and look forward to working together to continue to improve our economy and expand opportunities for all Americans,” Hudson said in a release highlighting the visit by a key member of the president’s cabinet.