Charlotte church buildings donate land, buildings for inexpensive housing | WFAE 90.7

The town of Charlotte is attempting to construct extra inexpensive houses and flats for residents,…

The town of Charlotte is attempting to construct extra inexpensive houses and flats for residents, however one in every of its principal challenges has been discovering land on which to construct.

In response, church buildings across the metropolis have been stepping ahead with land, cash and typically whole buildings that may be refashioned into inexpensive houses.

Among the many newest is Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood, which is planning to transform an unused church constructing into 21 studio flats over the subsequent two years for individuals who have skilled homelessness and are very low-income.

The church’s pastor, Rev. Dr. John Cleghorn, mentioned the constructing at 1615 East fifth St. has beforehand been used as a prayer room, an area for Sunday faculty, a homeless shelter for girls, and as a house for the Charlotte Bilingual Preschool and the Charlotte Islamic College.

When the ladies’s homeless shelter moved to a extra everlasting house, Cleghorn mentioned it “left a gap within the coronary heart of this congregation,” and the church started exploring different choices for the house.

Affiliate minister Rev. Gail Henderson-Belsito mentioned it made sense to show the constructing into inexpensive flats to assist shelter these in want.

“Our scripture, the phrase of God, tells us again and again that we’re accountable to care for individuals who are needy, to feed the hungry, to dress the bare, to go to the sick and imprisoned, and in addition to offer shelter for individuals who want shelter,” Henderson-Belsito mentioned.

As soon as full, every house can have a kitchen, a rest room, a dwelling house and a bed room. Flats will probably be accessible to individuals who have skilled homelessness and are making between 30-50% of the realm’s median revenue — or about $17,000 to $35,000 a 12 months, Cleghorn mentioned. Residents pays a 3rd of their month-to-month revenue in hire.

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The brand new flats will probably be named Easter’s House in honor of a girl named Easter who was enslaved by the Caldwell household, for whom the church is called, Cleghorn mentioned.

Cleghorn mentioned the congregation was nonetheless reckoning with its historical past, and that the constructing’s new title was one step within the church acknowledging that historical past and making amends. The church additionally preferred the title for its non secular connotations with resurrection and new life.

Church buildings throughout the town serving to

Caldwell Presbyterian is one in every of at the very least ten native parishes, along with the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, which have donated land, buildings or cash to create inexpensive housing in partnership with the town of Charlotte.

Different parishes embody St. Paul Baptist Church, which donated land for the Centra Sq. flats within the Belmont neighborhood; The Park Church, which donated land for the Gilfield Park senior flats on Beatties Ford Street; and Covenant Presbyterian Church, which donated $2 million towards development of The Mezzanine at Freedom flats on Freedom Drive.

As well as, Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church donated land for the Mayfield at Sugaree flats; Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church donated land for a soon-to-be-built house complicated close to uptown Charlotte, and a trio of church buildings — Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church and Grier Heights Presbyterian Church — collectively loaned practically $1 million to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Coalition to buy land within the Grier Heights neighborhood for inexpensive housing developments.

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has additionally contributed by overseeing the development of the Mom Teresa Villa flats for folks with mental or developmental disabilities and the Guardian Angel Villa flats for low-income seniors.

Caldwell Presbyterian additionally obtained a $1 million donation from its sister church, Myers Park United Methodist Church, for the mission, along with grants from the town of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and the North Carolina Housing Finance Company.

A ‘life altering’ church mission

The town of Charlotte estimates practically 35,000 items of inexpensive housing are wanted, and Caldwell Presbyterian’s ministers acknowledged that 21 studio flats may look like a drop within the bucket.

Nevertheless, Henderson-Belsito mentioned every house would have an outsized affect on the lives of its future residents.

“For 21 folks, it’s going to utterly change their lives. It’s not 35,000, however for each who is available in off the road, that’s life altering for them,” she mentioned.

The church nonetheless wants to boost about $1 million to succeed in its $6 million aim, the ministers mentioned. Then, the church hopes to start out development in late 2022 or early 2023 and open the flats in 2024.

Cleghorn mentioned he hoped the mission would encourage extra homes of worship to get entangled within the effort to construct extra inexpensive housing in Charlotte.

“Church buildings have 1000’s of acres and dozens of buildings which might be underutilized,” Cleghorn mentioned. “We hope that this can be a pilot mission that can encourage homes of religion to have a look at what belongings they’ve and to place them to work instantly in opposition to this disaster that’s altering our metropolis.”