Hendersonville – The City of Hendersonville, in partnership with the Housing Assistance Corporation, announced the award of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $750,000 from The North Carolina Department of Commerce.
“Receiving this grant is a culmination of numerous years and many stakeholders’ collaboration,” said Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk. “Working with the Housing Assistance Corporation to address local housing needs has taken our vision for safe and affordable housing throughout our community to the next level.”
The funding will be used in the Seventh Avenue district within the Ashe Street neighborhood to rehabilitate homes and create new curb and gutter and sidewalks. $200,000 of the grant will be used for housing rehabilitation on four owner-occupied homes, supplemented by $26,000 pledged by City Council. These improvements will coincide with an additional project funded by a $2.6 million State Revolving Fund loan to replace aging sewer and water lines in the neighborhood.
Transforming the Community
“This grant represents a tremendous opportunity for the Housing Assistance Corporation to further its mission of providing safe, affordable housing opportunities in our community,” said Hilton Swing, Board President of the Housing Assistance Corporation. “By working hand in hand with homeowners in the historic Ashe Street Neighborhood, we’ll be helping to make significant home repairs and improvements that will not only improve the quality of life and safety of homes but also build real economic gains for residents. It’s an investment that will benefit our community for years to come!”
The CDBG Neighborhood Revitalization program is designed to support housing, housing-related activities, or public facilities that support housing-related activities for low- and moderate-income families. Proposed projects focus on promoting equitable, affordable housing; supporting existing communities; and valuing communities and neighborhoods.
Before the grant application’s submission, the City of Hendersonville and Housing Assistance Corporation staff met with residents in the neighborhood to get feedback on how the funding should be used if awarded. Infrastructure and safety were ranked as the highest needs, leading to street lighting and sidewalk installments being prioritized.
Housing Assistance is also excited to provide single-family homeownership opportunities to the Ashe Street community through the purchase of two lots from the City of Hendersonville. Resident, Gloria Jennings, will be the first homeowner to benefit from the Housing Assistance Corporation’s Self Help program on one of the lots. Through conversation, HAC staff found out that she and her family used to live on the same property when she was a child. The original home was torn down and the land was cleared.
“I would get teary-eyed going by the property because the house was no longer there…nothing was there,” said Jennings. Housing Assistance staff began to work with Jennings on making her dream of owning a home a reality. “I’ve been looking forward to owning a home for many years, and I’m so overwhelmed and excited to get started. God is good, I’m getting to build my home where we used to live. Once everything is done, I want to run through the house like a little kid and give God the praise.”
In addition to the Ashe Street neighborhood improvements, Seventh Avenue is scheduled for a streetscape project that will widen sidewalks, enhance stormwater features, and improve the pedestrian experience when visiting the district. The project is scheduled to go out to bid in the fall of 2021 with construction starting shortly thereafter.
Editor’s note: Justice is the Communications Manager for the City of Hendersonville.