Faith

Charlotte church to invest $2 million in mixed-income housing development

The church’s investment comes as various studies have found that Charlotte’s supply of affordable housing has not kept pace with need.

Rendering of Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership's proposed mixed-income development on Freedom Drive.

As Charlotte grapples with a severe shortage in affordable housing, one of the city’s historic churches will invest $2 million to help finance a mixed-income development on Freedom Drive.

The 2,200-member Covenant Presbyterian Church, with roots dating back into the 1800s, will invest the money through the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, which plans to build the development in the Ashley Park community.

In a statement announcing the investment, the Housing Partnership called it “a bold move towards redefining how the faith community responds to our City’s housing crisis.”

The Housing Partnership has plans to develop 185 apartments at the southwest corner of Freedom Drive and Camp Green Street. About 30 percent of the units will rent at market rate; the remainder will be set aside for people making 30 percent to 80 percent of the area’s median income.

Covenant’s investment comes as various studies have found that Charlotte’s supply of affordable housing has not kept pace with need, especially for renters making 50 percent or less of the area’s median income. Those renters face a shortage of about 21,000 units, according to one study.

The average rent in Charlotte is about $1,082, up 7 percent from a year ago. Median home sale prices hit $236,000 in July, up nearly 10 percent from last year.

The Rev. Bob Henderson, Covenant’s senior pastor, said in a statement that he hopes the church’s financial commitment will increase awareness of the problem and serve as a model that other organizations can replicate.”

“Our church views decent and safe housing as a critical foundation to humanity,” he said in the statement.

The development will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units with monthly rents ranging from $348 to $900. The site is along one of Charlotte’s busiest thoroughfares and is near a charter school, grocery store and CATS bus routes.

A spokeswoman for the Housing Partnership said construction could start in late 2018 with opening in late 2019.

Here’s a breakdown of how the 185 units will be allocated, based on area median income (AMI):

30% AMI: 19 units
50% AMI: 19 units
60% AMI: 72 units
80% AMI: 19 units
Market rate: 56 units

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