September 29, 2023


Good Living

Charlotte churches donate land, buildings for affordable housing | WFAE 90.7

The town of Charlotte is making an attempt to develop much more inexpensive residences and residences for inhabitants, but one of its main challenges has been locating land on which to build.

In reaction, church buildings all over the town have been stepping ahead with land, funds and occasionally total structures that can be refashioned into affordable residences.

Amongst the most current is Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Charlotte’s Elizabeth community, which is building strategies to change an unused church setting up into 21 studio apartments in excess of the upcoming two yrs for men and women who have expert homelessness and are quite lower-revenue.

The church’s pastor, Rev. Dr. John Cleghorn, claimed the creating at 1615 East 5th St. has beforehand been utilized as a prayer space, a space for Sunday faculty, a homeless shelter for women of all ages, and as a house for the Charlotte Bilingual Preschool and the Charlotte Islamic Faculty.

When the women’s homeless shelter moved to a additional lasting area, Cleghorn stated it “still left a gap in the coronary heart of this congregation,” and the church commenced exploring other choices for the space.

Affiliate minister Rev. Gail Henderson-Belsito mentioned it produced perception to switch the building into very affordable flats to assist shelter people in want.

“Our scripture, the term of God, tells us above and more than once again that we are liable to care for people who are needy, to feed the hungry, to clothe the bare, to take a look at the ill and imprisoned, and also to deliver shelter for men and women who need shelter,” Henderson-Belsito explained.

As soon as full, each and every apartment will have a kitchen area, a lavatory, a dwelling place and a bedroom. Apartments will be offered to men and women who have expert homelessness and are producing among 30-50% of the area’s median income — or about $17,000 to $35,000 a 12 months, Cleghorn mentioned. Citizens will shell out a third of their month to month profits in rent.

The new flats will be named Easter’s Dwelling in honor of a lady named Easter who was enslaved by the Caldwell spouse and children, for whom the church is named, Cleghorn mentioned.

Cleghorn reported the congregation was continue to reckoning with its record, and that the building’s new name was one move in the church acknowledging that historical past and making amends. The church also liked the name for its religious connotations with resurrection and new life.

Churches across the metropolis helping

Caldwell Presbyterian is a person of at minimum ten regional parishes, in addition to the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, that have donated land, properties or funds to make economical housing in partnership with the city of Charlotte.

Other parishes include things like St. Paul Baptist Church, which donated land for the Centra Sq. apartments in the Belmont neighborhood The Park Church, which donated land for the Gilfield Park senior flats on Beatties Ford Highway and Covenant Presbyterian Church, which donated $2 million towards building of The Mezzanine at Independence flats on Freedom Push.

In addition, Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church donated land for the Mayfield at Sugaree residences Very little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church donated land for a quickly-to-be-crafted condominium complex close to uptown Charlotte, and a trio of church buildings — Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church and Grier Heights Presbyterian Church — with each other loaned just about $1 million to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Coalition to acquire land in the Grier Heights community for cost-effective housing developments.

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has also contributed by overseeing the development of the Mother Teresa Villa residences for men and women with intellectual or developmental disabilities and the Guardian Angel Villa flats for low-profits seniors.

Caldwell Presbyterian also obtained a $1 million donation from its sister church, Myers Park United Methodist Church, for the task, in addition to grants from the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and the North Carolina Housing Finance Company.

A ‘life changing’ church challenge

The metropolis of Charlotte estimates just about 35,000 units of affordable housing are desired, and Caldwell Presbyterian’s ministers acknowledged that 21 studio flats may feel like a drop in the bucket.

Having said that, Henderson-Belsito reported every apartment would have an outsized influence on the lives of its upcoming residents.

“For 21 people, it is really heading to definitely improve their lives. It is really not 35,000, but for just about every a person who arrives in off the street, that’s daily life switching for them,” she mentioned.

The church however requirements to increase about $1 million to arrive at its $6 million purpose, the ministers claimed. Then, the church hopes to start construction in late 2022 or early 2023 and open up the residences in 2024.

Cleghorn claimed he hoped the project would encourage additional properties of worship to get concerned in the effort and hard work to construct additional reasonably priced housing in Charlotte.

“Church buildings have hundreds of acres and dozens of structures that are underutilized,” Cleghorn explained. “We hope that this is a pilot project that will persuade homes of religion to look at what property they have and to set them to operate immediately versus this disaster which is transforming our city.”