The Charlotte Observer

Reporting on the housing crisis in North Carolina

Location: Charlotte, N.C.

About the News Organization: The Charlotte Observer is a 132-year-old news organization intensely focused on accountability reporting in south-central North Carolina region and on statewide issues that affect readers from the coast to the mountains. The Charlotte Observer works closely with sister McClatchy papers in the Carolinas to identify and report with impact on the ways that government decisions – or lack of decisions – impact the lives of North Carolinians. As the largest newspaper in the state, The Charlotte Observer frequently challenges denial or closure of public records and seeks relationships with other media organizations to press for disclosure of public information and transparency of government actions. The news organization’s coverage is heavily tilted toward Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, with a focus on watchdog reporting, open records and meetings, deeper storytelling and enterprise writing.

About the Position: This Report for America corps member is responsible for contributing to “50th of 50,” an ongoing series of stories that seeks solutions for the poverty gap in Charlotte. Paired with an investigative reporter working exclusively on the series, this reporter covers the lack of affordable housing as a growing crisis for the poor, with a focus on data-informed reporting. Our goal is to bring accountability reporting to the city’s lack of progress in building affordable homes and apartments, and to identify solutions that other cities have found to keep housing affordable when rents and home prices are skyrocketing.

As part of this work, this reporter works with our data reporters to identify neighborhoods and ZIP codes where gentrification has flipped affordable homes into $400K+ houses, and where the next endangered neighborhoods are. The city asked taxpayers in November for $50 million to build affordable homes; this reporter also examines where the money has gone in this program and why the gap of homes has grown rather than been reduced.