As we near Thanksgiving in a year that has drastically increased housing challenges for thousands of North Carolinians, we still have much to be thankful for in the affordable housing industry. The state’s newly launched Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program has already begun taking applications for rent assistance and utility assistance from North Carolinians hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19. An initiative of the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, NC HOPE will help prevent evictions and utility disconnections in order to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic, especially as the expiration on eviction moratoriums draws closer.
In addition to keeping people in their homes, affordable housing investments are continuing to expand options in North Carolina. In June, more than $6 million in funding was awarded through the Supportive Housing Development Program and the Integrated Supportive Housing Program, which both seek to increase the state’s stock of community-based housing in integrated settings and to create affordable options for North Carolinians with special housing needs. A $7 million grant awarded a few months later from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under its Section 811 Project Rental Assistance program will provide rental assistance for approximately 188 apartments for extremely low-income people with disabilities who are either transitioning from institutions or at risk of institutionalization. Federal tax credits and other financing awarded this year will build $1.1 billion of affordable apartments, ultimately providing 6,776 low-income families and seniors with safe, affordable housing.
Home buyers and homeowners also got some good news this year. Income limits increased for the NC Home Advantage Mortgage™, the NC 1st Home Advantage Down Payment and the NC Home Advantage Tax Credit, which will expand the number of North Carolinians helped by these programs. Vulnerable, low-income homeowners will be able to remain in their homes thanks to $12.5 million awarded from the Urgent Repair Program and Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool to pay for rehab, mobility modifications and emergency repairs.
I’m also grateful for our partners who work tirelessly to meet the mission of creating affordable housing opportunities for North Carolinians who may have otherwise been left behind. Every organization, foundation, company and individual who has dedicated efforts in the pursuit of affordable housing this year and every year has my deepest thanks. Your dedication, hard work and excellence was well-represented in the 2020 Housing North Carolina Awards: Virtual Edition, which showcased the work of partners providing opportunities for home buyers, life-changing repairs for homeowners, apartment homes for seniors and families and supportive housing for North Carolinians facing homelessness.
My final note of gratitude goes to our Agency staff, who have persisted in this most unusual year to provide unparalleled support for our partners as we work together to meet the affordable housing needs of our most vulnerable citizens. Because of their efforts and yours, we are well-positioned to meet the housing challenges that lie ahead.