CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the need for affordable housing continues to grow in Mecklenburg County, the Hidden Valley community will soon be home to a new four-story apartment building that will create homes for dozens of families.
The collaboration on Sugaree Place includes several groups such as the Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church, Mayfield Memorial Community Development Corporation (MMCDC), and DreamKey Partners to name a few.
The eight acres of land sits right behind Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church, along Sugar Creek Road and Munsee Street. The church provided the land for the project.
Sugaree Place will have a total of 51 apartments, including one-, two- and three-bedroom units -- 25% of them will be for households at or below 30% area median income to help those with the highest need.
The project will also have wrap-around services to take care of the community.
State and city leaders, faith groups, and nonprofits came together Saturday to break ground on Sugaree Place. U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) was among those who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“When I think of home, I think of a resting place, a place where there's peace, quiet, and serenity, and that is what Sugaree Place will do,” she said.
Adams talked about how hard finding a home has become especially for the most vulnerable neighbors.
“More than 44% of residents in our housing market are renters and unfortunately 44% of renters are cost-burdened," she noted.
Churches are stepping in, combining their resources with others to help fill the affordable housing gap in Charlotte.
“We got a struggle, we’ve got a problem. We have money but we need land," said Rev. Dr. Peter Wherry, the senior pastor at Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church. He is also the board chair for the MMCDC.
Charlotte mayor Vi Lyles also attended. She shared some remarks on the success of different entities working together and the community effort needed to address affordable housing.
"Faith communities that have land, a slither or a lot, we are ready to work with you to accomplish something so that people in this city have a decent and safe place to live," she said.
According to the City of Charlotte, it needs an additional 32,000 units of affordable housing to meet the current need.
It's a need Bethany Wherry knows too well.
“I’m a former teacher and working on my Master’s in education leadership, and I had trouble," she said. "If I had trouble finding affordable housing on the salary that I make as a state employee, then I know the issue is far more widespread than people even know to dig into."
She applauds projects like these which sets a framework for more faith-based organizations to help build communities, where families of all incomes can have a place to call home.
“The more we do, the more we produce, the more that gap is lessened," she said, "and people have beautiful homes to live in our city.”
Sugaree Place is expected to open in the spring of 2023.
WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.