City makes strides on affordable housing
BY COREY DAVIS
Saturday, December 16, 2017
A groundbreaking Wednesday signaled the construction of eight new affordable homes at a housing complex for seniors in Rocky Mount.
Kelvin Macklin, CEO of the Rocky Mount Housing Authority, said South Eastern North Carolina Community Development Corp. has worked with several agencies to build eight new duplex units that will serve low and moderate families with disabilities.
The new homes being built at M.S. Hayworth Court bring the total available housing units there to 48. Macklin said the development of the twin buildings will cost $1.4 million. Construction will start in January with the tentative completion being late summer or fall, Macklin said.
He said the new units will be certified energy efficient and will include a range and refrigerator, built-in microwave oven, washers and dryers, roll-in shower and handicap accessibility throughout the interior and exterior site, security system, covered porches, community outdoor seating and individual raised gardens per unit.
“Southeastern Rocky Mount is clearly one of the communities that needs affordable housing and housing in good repair,” Macklin said. “We want to do our part by joining with other stakeholders to further build affordable houses throughout the city.”
Russell Jackson, chairman of the South Eastern North Carolina Community Development Corp. and commissioner on the Rocky Mount Housing Authority’s board of commissioner, said it’s critical to have affordable housing in Rocky Mount and throughout the region, especially for people with disabilities.
Jackson said South Eastern will soon begin a long-term renovation project on the existing 40 units at M.S. Hayworth Court.
“There are a lot of rental facilities available, but most of that is not substantial housing for people, especially for older people,” Jackson said. “This is just a critical need all over the country, especially here in Eastern North Carolina. I’m glad to be a part of making a difference.”
Mayor David Combs said the Rocky Mount City Council is committed to having more affordable housing in the city. During a recent monthly meeting, the council voted to guard against gentrification in impoverished neighborhoods in light of the economic growth and revitalization efforts in the area.
The council took the action after a public hearing required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“We know that we’ve got to do more, and we’ve got to bring in more resources,” Combs said. “This is why we need HUD, the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency and other partners in our community to address affordable housing. Providing those eight units doesn’t seem like a lot, but for those eight families going into those units, that’s everything for them.”