The affordable housing issue is more complicated than finding a home. Recent studies highlight the link between a lack of safe, affordable housing and the impact that substandard housing has on residents’ health, particularly asthma cases in young children. North Carolina faces a shortage of affordable housing so many North Carolinians live in substandard housing that impacts their wellbeing. A Greensboro community seeks innovative ways to bring community partners together to address these challenges.
Focus Area Group: Economy
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Research has found that the EITC increases participation in the labor force, particularly among single mothers, and reduces poverty. But its impacts are generally restricted to families with children. An expanded EITC for workers without qualifying children might similarly encourage work and reduce poverty among these individuals.
COVID-19 exacerbated many existing issues related to the economic mobility gap, such as low-income employment, education, and small business closures. Charlotte Open for Business is a two-phase approach to both recovery from COVID-19 and strengthening the business community beyond the pandemic.
Historically a mill town, the decline of the textile industry resulted in economic and job loss for Rocky Mount. The city and private investors engaged in adaptive reuse, which means using buildings in creative new ways beyond the intended original purpose of the building (especially when the original purpose is obsolete), to strengthen the local economy.
The project team outlined two major, interconnected issues facing communities during the COVID-19 pandemic: hospitality employment and parents departing the workforce. The hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit industries given business closures, reduced capacity, and low consumer confidence. Hospitality employment plummeted in April 2020 and has yet to recover. In North Carolina, September 2020 sector employment was still about 20% lower than September 2019. Underlying this issue is the struggle to reopen businesses safely and improve consumer confidence.
Only about 80% of eligible individuals nationally claim the EITC, and folks living in rural areas are less likely to do so than those in urban areas. Given its importance to impoverished communities, the ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government is working on a Rural EITC Uptake Project with Rural Forward NC, the UNC School of Social Work’s Jordan Institute for Families, and the NC Justice Center. This ongoing project is taking place in Beaufort, Edgecombe, Halifax, McDowell, Nash, Robeson, and Rockingham counties and is working to both understand the number of eligible individuals claiming the credit and reasons that the credit may go unclaimed.