‘Hire Charlotte’ workforce initiative could help with the affordable housing crisis

By Lexi Wilson, WCNC
The goal: to push higher-earning jobs to help everyone afford housing in the Queen City


The pandemic has put a strain on staffing nationwide, including in Charlotte.

A new workforce initiative called “Hire Charlotte” is hoping to change that by creating good jobs.

“It’s a theme of optimism and opportunity,” Deputy Director of Economic Development for the City of Charlotte, Christina Thigpen said.

Thigpen says it’s time for the City of Charlotte to invest in the people who live here.

“We recognized on the business recruitment side from the City of Charlotte that we were really being more reactive than proactive,” he said.

The best idea, according to Thigpen? Creating Hire Charlotte, a roadmap to upward mobility and economic growth. Simply put, the idea is to push better jobs that lead to better opportunities, including the opportunity to afford housing.

“Helping people to pay their rent by getting them a job is better than paying their rent by subsiding the rent, there’s more personal satisfaction, it’s a better outcome,” Charlotte City Council member Ed Driggs (Dist. 7) said.

Driggs says it’s a different approach, but an approach that could help the affordable housing crisis.

“We need to realize that the problem is as big as the ocean,” Driggs said. “It won’t completely fix it, but we’re doing what we can, right? It’s not a problem that’s going to be completely solved.”

Hire Charlotte is still in the beginning stages, so there are still a lot of questions about where the funding will come from. Driggs says he believes it should be a number in the millions.

See more at WCNC

This story is part of I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte.

The Charlotte Journalism Collaborative is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems.