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Housing for adults with intellectual disabilities gets green light with HUD funding
CHARLOTTE — A $2 million federal housing grant is paving the way for a new supportive housing development for developmentally-disabled adults in Charlotte, co-sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte Housing Corp. and InReach.
The grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will fund Mother Teresa Villa, part of a 20-acre housing development that the diocese will build on Highway 49 in the Steele Creek area. Mother Teresa Villa will feature 12 apartments for very low-income adults who are physically or intellectually disabled and can live independently.
This is the third housing project for the diocese and the first for adults with developmental disabilities. It is also the first being built in Charlotte.
The diocese is partnering with InReach, a non-profit organization in Charlotte that has provided residential services and community support to the disabled since 1974. InReach already operates 14 group homes and numerous scattered apartments in Charlotte for very low-income disabled adults.
"I am so pleased that we have received this HUD grant," said Jerry Widelski, executive director of the diocesan housing corporation. "We strive to advance our mission of developing affordable housing for seniors and special needs citizens. We have been exploring opportunities for housing for the disabled with InReach for a few years, and now our efforts have paid off. We will continue our searches for further developments around the diocese."
"InReach is thrilled for this opportunity to partner with the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and provide new, safe and affordable housing to our citizens with developmental disabilities in Mecklenburg County," added Lori Gougeon of InReach.
Mother Teresa Villa will feature 13 units: 10 one-bedroom apartments, two two-bedroom apartments, and one apartment for an on-site property manager provided by InReach. Disabled residents will pay 30 percent of their adjusted income for rent, and the federal government will subsidize the rest as part of HUD's Section 811 program.
This project is the first phase on the 20-acre site approved for affordable senior housing, a future adult day care center and a chapel. The site could accommodate up to 240 units of affordable senior housing when it is eventually completed. The project will also feature gardens, open space and an outdoor activity area.
The grant was part of $749 million in HUD funding recently awarded by the Obama Administration to help non-profit organizations like the diocesan housing corporation build affordable housing, offer rental assistance and provide supportive services for the elderly and disabled.
Mother Teresa Villa is one of 92 projects being funded through these HUD grants. Upgrades to the site – including a deceleration lane off Highway 49, water/sewer service, additional tree plantings and fencing that were suggested following neighbors' suggestions during the city's rezoning process last summer – as well as upgrades to the building itself will be funded separately by the diocese.
"The waiting list for existing supportive housing resources for people with developmental disabilities is very long, since there is virtually no turnover in the occupancy of the occupied units," InReach reported in its HUD grant application. "People with developmental disabilities are living longer than ever, and often outlive their family support networks. In addition, the treatment of people with developmental disabilities has evolved from institutionalization ... to recognizing the benefits that result from living as independently as possible and being integrated into the larger society. (These) apartments will allow the developmentally disabled resident to live to his or her highest potential in a supportive yet independent setting."
Diocesan officials hope to break ground on the site in October, and construction is expected to be finished in the fall of 2013.
The diocesan housing corporation was started in 2002 under the leadership of Bishop Emeritus William G. Curlin. The diocese's first housing project, Curlin Commons in Mooresville, was named in his honor.
Mother Teresa Villa is a nod to Bishop Curlin's personal friendship and service with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and her special ministry to the poorest and weakest members of society.
For more information, call Jerry Widelski at the diocese at 704-370-3248 or Lori Gougeon at InReach at 704-536-6661.
— Patricia L. Guilfoyle, editor
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