OneMECK Theory of Change

Unanimously approved at OneMECK meeting 3/10/2022 (updated 6/13/2024)

Who we are:

OneMECK Coalition is an alliance of Mecklenburg County organizations and individuals that advocates for equitable access to economic opportunity and housing in all parts of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.


What is the real problem we are trying to solve?

  • Inequitable access to housing arising from socio-economic and racial inequity and discrimination, both caused and exacerbated by institutional and systemic barriers including public and private sector policies and practices.

Our Theory of Change:

  1. In order to increase economic mobility and to increase economic and racial residential diversity that optimizes opportunity in education, work, and life, the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County must address the institutional systems and structures that create barriers to equitable housing while increasing the inventory of geographically dispersed affordable housing. This includes addressing, through action, the enduring impact of our community’s legacies of:
  • Public and private policies and practices that support inequity
  • Institutional, systemic, and structural racism
  • Economic classism, racial bias, and the continuing exclusion of historically marginalized groups
  • Power structures that disenfranchise people
  • Lack of political will to make and to sustain institutional, legal, political, systemic and structural changes
  1. Multi-pronged, cross-sector changes to institutions, systems, policies, and practices supporting structural inequity will be required to create neighborhoods and schools that are sustainably economically diverse, and thus racially diverse. This includes forging partnerships with public sector entities (such as elected officials and policy makers), the nonprofit sector (for living wage workforce development and affordable housing development) and private sector organizations and individuals (such as employers and developers).

To accomplish this, OneMECK will be strategic in inviting new coalition members (individuals and organizations), in joining initiatives, and in taking actions that are focused on making changes to institutions, systems, policies, and practices that impact the creation and preservation of equitable access to quality housing across Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

Our focus of work:

Historically, we have addressed these issues at macro- (governmental and organizational systems and structures), mezzo- ( policies and practices), and micro-levels (initiatives focused on individuals and neighborhoods). Going forward, OneMECK will focus its strategies on the mezzo-level, in consideration of our theory of change and our capacity as an alliance. We will accomplish this by adopting a “big Issues” focus while continuing to chip away at small wins (a “both/and” approach). We will also build on the strengths of our individual coalition members to accomplish the development of policy advocacy content and the requisite supporting narrative to change hearts and minds.

Past examples of our work at this level of advocacy include the following.


  1. Housing Trust Fund (HTF) increase from $15 million to $50 million, and from $50 million to $100 million.
  2. Adoption of a process for the evaluation of projects receiving HTF funding with institutionalized and meaningful participation from the affected people in the community.
  3. Expansion by the City of code enforcement to limit future Lake Arbors, including use of the in rem
  4. Establishing relationships with and educating new City Council Members and County Commissioners about the institutional and systemic barriers to equitable housing access and possible solutions.
  5. Advocated for use by CMS and the County of the ground-leasing allowed by state law to work with the City on maximizing public land for housing access.
  6. Rejection by the Mecklenburg delegation to the General Assembly of the motel eviction bill and the school system deconsolidation bill.
  7. Adoption in the 2040 Plan of multi-family zoning allowances in former exclusive single-family zones.
  8. Formation by the three local governmental entities of a common plan for using public land to increase housing access across the community.
  9. Adoption of principles for student assignment reprioritizing socioeconomic diversity that allowed:
  • paired schools;
  • magnet lottery with socioeconomic diversity; and
  • boundaries for new schools to take into account socioeconomic diversity, while calling for collaboration from both City and County from their sphere of influence (housing/neighborhood development) in creating communities with socioeconomic diversity
  1. Successfully advocated for rejection of HB514 by CMS, town charter bill
  2. Successfully advocated for creation of an equity committee by CMS, of which student assignment is a primary subcommittee.


Our Strategy Selection Screen:

  1. Is this initiative aligned with our theory of change?
  2. Is this an issue that is a one-off, or is there data to indicate that it is representative of a larger, systemic issue relative to housing access and/or housing supply?
  3. Will pursuing this initiative plausibly address and meaningfully affect policies, practices and/or institutional barriers related to the problem?
  4. Does OneMECK have the capacity to effectively make a difference, alone or in partnership with others?


Our Decision Making Process:

OneMECK is a flexible and dynamic alliance, dependent on close teamwork to set direction and make decisions.  The work of the alliance is typically done by small teams, organically formed by engaged members volunteering.

Major decisions, such as endorsement of a proposal, must be brought to the full OneMECK team for review.  There needs to be sufficient time, typically at least one week, to give everyone a chance to weigh in.  The preferred process is to distribute the proposal for review, and then to hold meetings to reach consensus.  Each member of the OneMECK team is encouraged to actively participate, and to contribute their insights to strengthen the final product. Time lines that are too tight to allow adequate time for team input will not