Last week more than 150 local residents and community partners came together to commemorate the first anniversary of the Northside Neighborhood Initiative, an organized initiative to revitalize and preserve a historic neighborhood in Chapel Hill, NC. In a short time, this effort has shown great results:
(From left to right) Regina Merritt and Yvonne Cleveland from the Jackson Center, Dan Levine, Stephanie Barnes-Simms and Michael Palmer from Self-Help, Cameron Foushee, Bill Dowse from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency – Photo courtesy of Jon Gardiner
- 15 properties acquired
- 12 affordable units built or in process of being built
- 31 homes received critical repairs
Over the past decades Northside had witnessed a significant loss of homeownership, as the demand for student rentals increased. It became harder and harder for families and affordable housing providers to find opportunities in the neighborhood and investor ownership increased.
The Northside Neighborhood Initiative is a partnership among neighborhood residents, the Jackson Center, Self-Help, UNC and the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro to preserve the future of Northside as a multi-generational community that balances the needs of long-term residents, new residents, homeowners, renters and students.
Self-Help, through a $3 million no-interest loan from UNC, is working alongside the Jackson Center and neighborhood residents to acquire and resell properties in the Northside to create housing opportunities. The goal is to encourage homeownership and affordable rentals that align with the spirit and vision of the community. The Northside Neighborhood Initiative also focuses on helping long-term residents remain in their homes through home repairs, wills clinics and tax relief program.
The NNI's success of this year was made possible by the support of the Jackson Center, the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, The Oak Foundation, our affordable housing development partners, residents and the commitment of 380 UNC students who served as volunteers.
One of the highlights of the celebration was the wall-raising at 605 Craig Street, a property owned by Habitat for Humanity of Orange County that will soon welcome three family homes to be owned by single mothers connected to the community. Pushing up the wall was symbolic of the collaboration between UNC-Chapel Hill, the Town of Chapel Hill, the Jackson Center, Self-Help and Northside’s residents.