Housing Foundation, Inc.
(formerly) Winston-Salem Housing Foundation, Inc.
The North Carolina Housing Foundation (NCHF) has a long and rich history in housing development. It is our mission to develop safe, affordable housing with services for low- and moderate-income persons in North Carolina. Over a 44-year period, NCHF has created over 2,500 units of quality housing for the elderly, disabled, and low-income families across the states of North and South Carolina. Our most recent efforts have focused on the homeless or at risk populations. Our home is in Winston-Salem and roughly half of our work has taken place in Forsyth County and surrounding counties, however we frequently reach beyond this area to assist other developers in their efforts.
We were created in 1968 in response to the civil unrest of the times which had culminated in local riots. The Mayor of Winston-Salem, M.C. Benton, drew together a diverse coalition of local business and community leaders, black and white, representing major corporations, professionals, churches, government, colleges, foundations and the community at large. At the same time, he began to push the major corporations and foundations to invest in a fund that would be managed by the coalition and used to fund organizations dedicated to the issues of inadequate housing, education and job training, the areas which were identified as the major sources of the unrest. R.J. Reynolds made the first contribution of $1 million. A total of $1.8 million was raised.
The Winston-Salem Housing Foundation (now NCHF) was created to work on the housing issue and was assigned the task of expanding the supply of housing for low-income families, especially by helping the poor become homeowners. The expectation was that this would be accomplished by integrating neighborhoods. A 7-member Board of Directors was appointed, an Executive Director hired, and the organization was funded with $850,000, almost half of the coalition’s resources. Perry Craven & Associates, an expert in the development of affordable housing, was hired as a consultant to direct future development.
Emphasis was placed on encouraging churches and other non-profit organizations to develop housing using federal funding, and providing seed money to private builders who wanted to enter the low-cost housing field. But there was also an immediate need for new housing for the 4,000-5,000 families who were living in substandard housing in Winston-Salem. We began by purchasing single-family lots and constructing new housing. Some of the homes were developed using experimental construction techniques including manufactured homes and even a “stacked sack” house. For those developed for resale, down payment assistance was also provided. Others were leased to the Housing Authority. As families began to relocate to these new houses, substandard housing was acquired and rehabbed or demolished to make way for more new housing.
Most of this new development was taking place in the poor neighborhoods and not furthering the expectation of integration. As is frequently the case today, the cost of land in the white or higher income neighborhoods was prohibitive. So, when federal programs became available for multi-family housing, it became the means to provide more housing on smaller lots in better neighborhoods, and it required an effort to promote integration. Our first multi-family project, developed in 1976, was a 144-unit apartment complex for families, located north of downtown in the vicinity of Wake Forest University.
The plight of the elderly and disabled was of particular concern. It was important to get them into safe housing that met their specific needs. At that time, the HUD Section 202 housing program provided for a long-term loan coupled with Section 8 rental subsidies and combined housing for the elderly and disabled together. Working closely with the City of Winston-Salem, we developed two of these projects, one in East Winston and the other in West Salem, providing 197 units of dedicated housing. Soon after they opened, we applied for and received one of two national grants awarded in North Carolina for the establishment of a Congregate Housing Service Program (CHSP). Under the program, residents were assessed for deficiencies in the activities of daily living (ADL’s) by professionals. Those determined to be frail or at-risk became eligible for services which included two meals per day at a nominal fee, housekeeping as needed at a contract rate, and free health screening and referral services. In many cases, receipt of these services extended the period of independent living significantly. Funding for the program gradually dried up but we were able to operate CHSP until 2004 with residual funds and matching grants from the Winston-Salem Foundation.
The rest, as they say, is history. People began to notice the success of our programs. In 1982, partly due to a request by the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments, we expanded our mission beyond the borders of Forsyth County to include the development of housing throughout all of North Carolina. Soon thereafter projects were developed in Surry and Davie Counties and then beyond. Affordable housing with services, today referred to as supportive housing, became our standard.
We have gone on to develop a variety of different types of affordable housing. Today our portfolio contains (see our "Properties" page for a list):
· HUD 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly
· HUD 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities
· HUD 236 for families
· Medicare/Medicaid licensed assisted living facilities
· Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects for the elderly
· Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects for families
· Supportive Housing projects
· VA GPD for homeless Veterans
In 1998 we changed our name to the North Carolina Housing Foundation, Inc. (NCHF) to reflect the broadened scope of our mission, and we have created an affiliate non-profit corporation, NC Housing Services and Management Corp., to ensure the continued success of our developments through a comprehensive package of property management and services coordination that we believe works to the benefit of residents and to the physical and financial well-being of the project as a whole. It allows us to provide consistently high-quality management, and also makes us unique in the industry as not many organizations have the knowledge and experience necessary to provide the complete package. Property management and services coordination are available to other owners of affordable housing through NCHSM. We can also provide consulting services for those interested in developing affordable housing. (For additional information on NCHSM, visit our website at www.nchsm.org)
Over its 50+ year history, NCHF has been led by a stellar group of dedicated volunteers including bankers, attorneys, physicians, developers, and corporate and civic leaders on its Board of Directors. It has had only three chairmen in that time, a reflection of its stability. NCHF has received no additional funding to perpetuate its mission. Since its inception in 1968, the North Carolina Housing Foundation has leveraged the original grant from the Urban Coalition into more than $100 million worth of properties, all serving low-income populations.
The Board of the North Carolina Housing Foundation is still dedicated to the provision of affordable housing to those in need. As a non-profit organization they are in a position to meet this goal more effectively than an organization that depends on profit for its continued existence. They continue to seek additional opportunities for development, both individually and in partnership with other organizations.