Big Bold Ideas Committee on Affordable Housing Receives Chapel Hill Magazine’s Inaugural Social Impact Award

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We recognized The Partnership for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s Big Bold Ideas Committee on Affordable Housing for its substantial positive and collective impact on our community

Meeting photo
Business and community leaders came together from diverse backgrounds and sectors to talk out the priorities for the Big Bold Ideas.

Photography by Critical Focus Creative, John Bollenbacher

New to our Best of Chapel Hill issue this year is the honor of presenting Chapel Hill Magazine‘s first Social Impact Award to The Partnership for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s Big Bold Ideas Committee on Affordable Housing. This distinction recognizes people and organizations making a large, positive social impact on our community. There are so many doing good, and it was a difficult choice. We landed on the committee working to tackle affordable housing because it is a unique cross-sector community collaboration that models that when we work together, we can identify and solve problems better and faster. It’s an initiative that has involved and convened hundreds of people and organizations – and it’s working. This award belongs not just to The Chamber and its Partnership, but to its many members and organizations working on the initiative. While the Big Bold ideas includes other community initiatives that are doing important work, we are honored to shine a spotlight on the affordable housing committee.


What Big Bold Ideas is a community wide goal-setting and goal accomplishing venture and includes several initiatives, including the Social Impact Award-winning affordable housing initiative.
Why To make a substantial, positive and collective impact on our community
Who The inaugural Big Bold Ideas Steering Committee was made up of forty community leaders from diverse backgrounds and all sectors. Five hundred individuals participated to agree on community priorities, and more than 100 business and community leaders have worked on committees and task forces to advance the shared objectives.
Right Now There are a few objectives and committees in progress. The Big Bold Ideas Committee on Affordable Housing (chaired by Jennifer Player of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County) has established bold community strategies and measurable objectives.
What Next 2023 is about building the coalitions needed to accomplish the objectives, measuring the success and pushing for faster change.

Making Progress

We asked Aaron Nelson, president/CEO of The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, about the work that the committee is doing. He says, “The Big Bold Ideas Committee on Affordable Housing spent a year convening leaders across sectors and industries to adopt a big, bold, community wide affordable housing goal. The committee adopted the goal of creating 1,500 units of affordable housing over five years (by end of 2026) with 20 action strategies, focused on generating more funds to create the units, identifying the land where affordable housing can be built, making affordable housing easier to build, increasing the role of local employers in employer sponsored or employer-supported housing, increasing the local acceptance of rent-support vouchers and increasing overall availability. More work needs to be done, but with local government investments and policy reform, major institutions and developers stepping up with new resources and new strategies, and the talented for-profit and nonprofit housing developers working together, we can get more affordable housing faster.”

Jennifer Player, chair of the Big Bold Ideas Committee on Affordable Housing, emphasized the importance to the community of having more affordable housing and the dedication of the committee members. “Local employers say their No. 1 challenge is finding and keeping employees, and a key factor driving that challenge is the price and availability of housing. The Big Bold Ideas goal to create 1,500 more affordable housing units by the end of 2026 is not just in service to our local employers, but principally for the benefit of our local workers, families and seniors. We are fortunate in our community to have smart, dedicated people willing to work together to identify critical challenges, establish bold goals and design strategies to achieve them. Thank you to the local government professionals, affordable housing providers, financial professionals, private sector developers, property managers, health care professionals and university partners who have worked together for nearly two years to advance this initiative and who continue to convene to collaborate, measure and report on our shared progress.”

Big Bold Ideas Committee on Affordable Housing

Goal Create 1,500 new affordable housing units by 2026.
Affordability An individual spending no more than 30% of their pretax income on housing.
Qualification People making up to 120% area median income (with no more than 300 units for folks earning more than 80% AMI).
Location Within all of Orange County and a 20-minute commute radius of UNC.


1 Generate more funds to create affordable housing
Dedicate available land to build affordable housing
Make affordable housing easier to build
Increase employer-sponsored and employer-supported housing
Increase acceptance of housing choice (Section 8) vouchers
Increase availability of affordable housing

Committee Members

Aaron Nelson, The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro
Alice Jacoby, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County
Allison De Marco, UNC School of Social Work
Allison Freeman, UNC Center for Community Capital
Ben Edell, Eller Capital
Bruce Warrington, UNC Real Estate
Delores Bailey, EmPOWERment Inc.
Dan Levine, Self Help
Eliazar Posada, Equality North Carolina
Emila Sutton, Orange County
Holly Fraccaro, Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties
Jason Dell, Bold Construction
Jennifer Player, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, Committee Chair
Jess Brandes, CASA
Leigh Kempf, Merrill Lynch
Loryn Clark, Town of Chapel Hill
Kimberly Sanchez, Community Home Trust
Mark Shelburne, Novogradac
Melvin Hurston, UNC Hospitals
Michael Rodgers, DHIC
Michael Webb, UNC Center for Urban & Regional Studies
Nicole Galiger, Olive Property Management
Rebecca Buzzard, Town of Carrboro
Sarah Viñas, Town of Chapel Hill
Yolanda Winstead, DHIC

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