WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — The City of Winston-Salem needs thousands of affordable housing units.

City leaders are making it their top priority to tackle the shortage. The city started an initiative a year ago to bring 750 units each year for the next 10 years. Leaders are on track to meet that goal by the end of this year.

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A lot of times when we talk about affordable housing, the cost can differ. In Winston-Salem, it will depend on how much money you make… And how many people are in your family?

“What we want is people to not have to pay more than 30% of their income towards their rent or mortgage,” said Patrice Toney, interim city manager.

That’s the goal Winston-Salem leaders have in mind as they work to add hundreds of available units in areas across the city, so people looking to rent or buy have affordable options.

“The city council approved 216 units in the Northeast Ward,” said Toney. “We’re getting ready to approve another 180 multi-family units in the North Ward. We are making some progress. There’s still quite a bit of work to do.”

Developer Anthony Okafor owns four of the properties on the city’s northeast side where he plans to build affordable housing units. It’s an area that hasn’t seen much development in the past few years.

“We like to develop Winston, but we also need to make sure that every part of Winston gets what they need and it’s time to focus on the northeast,” said Okafor.

The plots are on East 21st and 22nd Streets and Bramblebrook Lane. The developer plans to build a single-family unit on each, which should be complete within the next two years.

Okafor recognizes four units doesn’t sound like much but said you have to start somewhere.

“If we could wave a magic wand and make it all happen one day we will, but right now the idea is you take it one at a time,” he said. “Keep providing, learn the process and try to find out the kinks. Work them all out and then just ramp it up a little bit more.”

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Toney ensures help is on the way.

“The city is just committed to affordable housing,” she said. “There are many challenges that continue to rise and interest rates and cost of construction but it remains a top priority for our city.”

City leaders are exploring a housing trust fund dedicated to affordable housing. They would look for community partners to contribute money to the cause.