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Affordable Housing is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as housing that costs no more than 30% of a household’s monthly gross income. Housing costs include rent plus utilities for renters and mortgage payments plus insurance, property taxes and utilities for owners.

The term “affordable housing” is commonly used to refer to subsidized housing and targets households by income level. Area Median Income (AMI), usually quoted for a family of four, is the midpoint of income distribution for a particular region and used to define low and moderate-income limits.



See the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA)’s State of Housing report to see key housing statistics by county: DFI can conduct a detailed housing needs assessment (see below for additional details).



  • Affordable Housing Workshop with staff and/or elected officials – DFI’s team of technical experts can conduct a workshop to further educate staff and/or elected officials on affordable housing in NC. This includes an in-depth analysis of what affordable housing really means, the need for affordable housing across the state, and techniques for implementation at the local level.
  • Affordable Housing Needs Assessment – UNC DFI will perform technical assistance to understand the affordable housing needs of the local market. This includes an in-depth analysis of supply and demand including future housing need projections. DFI will also work with staff/elected officials on identifying and prioritizing affordable housing goals and recommending strategies for achieving these goals.
  • Affordable Housing Development Opportunity Site Identification – UNC DFI will conduct a comprehensive scope of services (community scan, market study, site analysis and parcel analysis) in evaluating (re)development opportunities in a designated Study Area that can support affordable housing development.
  • Feasibility Analysis & Solicitation for private development – UNC DFI will conduct its full Pre-Development process in order to attract a private development partner to execute an affordable housing development project. DFI’s process includes an in-depth market analysis, site analysis (with 3rd party architect), financial feasibility modeling, and public engagement – with the goal of arriving at an affordable housing program that is financially feasible and approved by elected officials. Once the program is approved by local government stakeholders, DFI will assist with the identification and selection of a private development partner to execute the project.

For more information and to request these services, contact Marcia Perritt at



Durham County

Durham County engaged UNC DFI in May of 2017 to provide pre-development services for two County-owned sites on the 300 and 500 blocks of East Main Street in downtown Durham. The pre-development process involved several key components – public engagement, a parcel analysis to understand current conditions in downtown, a site-specific market analysis, site planning, and a financial feasibility analysis. Durham County worked with UNC DFI to identify site-specific public interests to guide the pre-development process.

DFI’s process resulted in a final development program that met both public and private sector interests with the incorporation of over 275 units affordable to households earning between 30% and 80% Area Median Income (AMI), 180 market-rate apartments, significant ground-floor commercial space and structured parking to serve both private and public uses.  The County is currently evaluating nine proposals from qualified development partners to redevelop the key downtown sites into a model for mixed-income, mixed-use development.

For more information on this project and updates, visit


North Carolina Office for Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR)

formerly NC Emergency Management (NCEM)

In November 2017, NCEM engaged UNC DFI to assist with attracting private investment for the development of affordable housing for low and/or moderate-income households in Hurricane Matthew-impacted communities. The effort, known as Public-Private Partnerships (P3) for Housing, is now aligned with the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) and seeks to leverage State resources to create more privately owned affordable rental housing options outside the 100-year and 500-year flood zones. Currently, UNC DFI is working with the communities of Rocky Mount, Goldsboro and Lumberton and conducting a pre-development process that includes a market analysis, site analysis, and financial feasibility modeling with the goal of attracting a private development partner.

For more information on this program click here.

Chatham County/Siler City

UNC DFI evaluated financially feasible redevelopment options for the historic Henry B. Siler School in Siler City in 2013. Feasible options included an assisted living facility, low-income housing, and market-rate rental housing. Chatham County owned the school and wanted it used for affordable housing. In 2017, the county issued a Request for Proposals, emphasizing that the county was most interested in seeing the school utilized for affordable housing—and explicitly referred to DFI’s feasibility analysis that showed affordable housing was achievable at the site.

Stephanie Watkins-Cruz, Chatham County’s Policy Analyst who works with the county’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, said, “After seeing the potential of the Henry Siler School through DFI’s analysis, Chatham County was not only given options on what the highest and best use of the property should be, but guidance on the tools it could leverage to bring new affordable housing options to the county.” The project attracted a private developer (Third Wave Housing) and received an award of low income housing tax credits and other financing from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency in 2018. According to Watkins-Cruz, the project will bring a “much needed” 44 new affordable housing unit for low income persons to Chatham County, and the county intends “to replicate this effort in the future.”

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