At a time when the need for affordable housing in Charlotte, North Carolina, is great and the funding to build it is scarce, a new model to finance its development has been identified, according to staff from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership (CMHP).
A local congregation, Covenant Presbyterian Church, is redefining how the faith community responds to Charlotte's need for affordable housing. CMHP was selected by Covenant to be the recipient of a $2 million investment for a proposed mixed-income development on Freedom Drive.
"Our church views decent and safe housing as a critical foundation for humanity," says Bob Henderson, senior pastor. "Covenant hopes to make an impact that will increase awareness of and advocacy for households with affordable housing needs by creating a model to finance its development that other organizations can replicate."
The proposed project will serve tenants earning 30-80 percent of area median income (AMI), as well as those who can afford market-rate rents. For 2016, the median household income in Mecklenburg County was approximately $59,200, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Seventy percent of the units will be considered "affordable," with rents for the one- to three-bedroom units ranging from $348 to $900 per month for families at or below 60 percent of AMI. The proposed site adjoins a property with a new charter school and an existing grocery store. There are multiple bus stops within a quarter-mile of the proposed development, which are served by two bus routes.
"The Housing Partnership is grateful for and excited by the opportunity to partner with Covenant Presbyterian," says Julie Porter, CMHP president. "The congregation is leading the way in creating a model in which faith-based communities directly improve outcomes for low-income families."
In addition to Covenant, the development includes partnerships with local developer Marsh Properties and the Movement Foundation, which developed the adjacent property for its charter school.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership was founded in 1988 to expand affordable and well-maintained housing and promote stable neighborhoods for low- and moderate-income families in the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The agency provides assistance so that residents of its properties can more fully enter the economic mainstream and achieve independence.