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Five affordable housing developments received Housing North Carolina Awards for excellence in affordable housing. The awards were presented at the N.C. Housing Finance Agency’s statewide Housing Forum in Greensboro Oct. 11.
Winners range from a homeless shelter in Wilmington to a renovated 1920s hotel in Asheville that offers apartments for seniors. Also included are a subdivision of 105 homes developed by the City of Greenville; a supportive community in Carrboro for persons with mental illness; and Raleigh apartments for people moving out of shelters and treatment centers.
Award winners are:
- Countryside Estates in Greenville, developed by the City of Greenville.
- Rental Apartments
- Battery Park Senior Apartments in Asheville, developed by National Church Residences of Columbus, OH, with support from the City of Asheville.
- Lennox Chase in Raleigh, developed by Downtown Housing Improvement Corporation (DHIC), Inc., with support from Wake County and the City of Raleigh.
- Club Nova Apartments in Carrboro, developed by the Mental Health Association in North Carolina; the Chrysalis Foundation for Mental Health; and Sarver Housing Group of Chapel Hill. The Orange County Housing Authority and the Town of Carrboro supported the development.
- St. James Annex in Wilmington, developed by Good Shepherd Ministries of Wilmington in partnership with St. James Episcopal Parish and the City of Wilmington.
The winners were selected for their potential to serve as models for other communities. Criteria included affordability; design (attractiveness, energy-efficiency, others); contribution to the community; sustainability as affordable housing; and features such as services for residents and creative partnerships.
The N.C. Housing Finance Agency is a self-supporting public agency. Since its creation in 1973, the agency has financed more than 170,000 affordable homes and apartments.
Editor: A description of each winning development and the contact person follows:
Countryside Estates, Greenville
Countryside Estates is a neighborhood of 105 homes located close to downtown jobs and services. The City of Greenville developed the mixed-income subdivision with the participation of several local builders. Among the residents are homeowners whose previous homes were destroyed by Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
The three-bedroom, two-bath homes are between 1,100 and 1,400 square feet. Designs of the homes vary, and some include brick veneers, bay windows, decks and garages. All comply with the Greenville Utilities E-300 Program, which ensures low heating and cooling costs. The subdivision is laid out around a circular greenspace with cul-de-sacs opening on the inside and outside of the circle. There are sidewalks along the streets and through the center of the greenspace.
The homes are priced below $116,000, with the average selling price at $94,250. Local bond funds were used, with assistance from a Hurricane Floyd infrastructure grant. The N.C. Housing Finance Agency provided deferred, zero-interest second mortgage loans up to $20,000 for some of the families.
Contact: Gloria Kesler, City of Greenville, (252) 329-4226.
Battery Park Senior Apartments, Asheville
Battery Park Senior Apartments in Asheville started life as a grand hotel in 1884. After the original building was destroyed by fire, the hotel was rebuilt in the 1920s. It was converted into senior apartments in the 1980s. In 2004, the building was purchased and renovated by National Church Residences (NCR) of Columbus, OH. Today, Battery Park remains listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is located just north of Asheville’s central business district and directly across the street from the Grove Arcade, a multi-million dollar mixed-use development including shops, a fresh food market, offices and market-rate apartments and condos.
The 122 one- and two-bedroom apartments range from 519 to 662 square feet. Amenities include sitting rooms and a small library. The main activity room is located on the top floor in a converted ballroom that boasts 20-foot ceilings and stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and downtown Asheville.
NCR has committed to keep Battery Park permanently affordable for low-income seniors. Through a contract with HUD, the property offers Section 8 rent assistance, so tenants pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent.
The renovation was financed with proceeds of a tax-exempt bond sale, federal HOME funds contributed by the City of Asheville; and federal and state housing credits from the N.C. Housing Finance Agency.
Contact: Patrick Higgins, National Church Residences, (614) 273-3514.
Lennox Chase, Raleigh
Lennox Chase provides 37 apartments designed specifically for individuals moving out of shelters, transitional housing and treatment centers. Developed by DHIC, Inc., in partnership with Wake County and the City of Raleigh, the community represents an affordable step in the continuum of care for homeless and very low-income people.
The studio apartments are 550 square feet and include a full kitchen and bathroom, along with a combination living/sleeping area. The fully accessible building also includes two laundry rooms, a learning center with computers and Internet access, a community room and kitchen, a television room, a screened-in porch and an outdoor gazebo. Lennox Chase provides easy access to Raleigh’s public bus system. Wake County Human Services provides services for residents, including crisis intervention, financial literacy, continuing education opportunities at Wake Tech, and onsite meetings of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous.
Lennox Chase also received the Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award and a Home Award from the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies earlier this year.
The apartments are affordable to individuals who earn 50 percent or less of the area median income (AMI), with 15 units set aside for those earning 35 percent and 30 percent of the AMI. During its first year of operation, Lennox Chase provided housing to 49 people with average incomes of $11,670. Funding included loans from the City of Raleigh and Wake County and grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program and NeighborWorks® America. The development received federal and state housing credits from the N.C. Housing Finance Agency.
Contact: Natalie Connell, DHIC, Inc., (919) 832-4345, ext. 3006.
Club Nova Apartments, Carrboro
In the heart of downtown Carrboro, Club Nova provides 24 independent living apartments for very low-income persons with mental illness. The sponsors replaced eight deteriorated cinder-block units with a three-story, solar-heated, energy-efficient apartment building. The studio apartments contain a living and bedroom space, full kitchen, separate bathroom and private balcony. One unusual feature is a moveable closet that residents can position against the wall or use as a room divider.
The units are designed for maximum energy efficiency. Brick paved floors are part of a passive solar water heating system. A radiant heating system under the floors uses solar panels on the roof to heat the living space and provide hot water for residents. The balconies shade the apartments during the summer months and, in the winter, the design allows the sun to enter and heat the brick floor.
The common area includes a lounge, laundry room, and patio leading to an outdoor garden. Many residents are members of the adjacent Club Nova Clubhouse, which provides support and social activities. A project manager provides referrals to community agencies for residents who need assistance in managing their disabilities.
HUD Section 8 rental assistance through the Orange County Housing Authority is essential for making the rents affordable. Financing included federal housing credits, a loan from the Self-Help Credit Union in Durham, and a loan from the N.C. Housing Trust Fund.
Contact: Lane Sarver, Sarver Housing Group, (919) 967-5520.
St. James Annex, Wilmington
St. James Annex is a 118-bed emergency and transitional shelter for men, women and families in downtown Wilmington. Developed by Good Shepherd Ministries, the shelter is adjacent to a day shelter that Good Shepherd opened in 2003. Although the day shelter and St. James Annex were constructed two years apart, the design of the brick exterior building is seamless. The development was encouraged by St. James Episcopal Parish, which donated $275,000 to Good Shepherd toward the operating reserves.
St. James Annex is 5,500 square feet and can house up to 60 men, 28 women and 30 families. Different paint colors designate the different shelter areas, and decorating touches make the family bedrooms homelike. The adjacent day shelter includes a dining room, laundry room, and shower facilities.
Good Shepherd provides services including case management, mental health counseling, and medical services. Volunteers from the community help staff a soup kitchen, work at the overnight shelter, and help stock food for a community food pantry managed by Good Shepherd.
Financing for St. James Annex came from the N.C. Housing Trust Fund, the City of Wilmington, St. James Episcopal Parish and donations from several other congregations in Wilmington.
Contact: Katrina Knight, Good Shepherd Ministries of Wilmington, Inc., (910) 763-4424.
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