Members of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Greensboro Field Office joined the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the City of Sanford, and the Sanford Housing Authority (SHA) for a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the completion of 226 Linden Avenue.
The Linden Avenue Renovation Project began in 2018. The project yielded five permanent, affordable housing units, including four 1-bedroom units and one 2-bedroom unit. Hope White, Board Chair for the Sanford Housing Authority, opened by sharing that "we are better together." This project highlights success through collaboration, the strength of partnerships, and ongoing commitment amongst federal, state, and local governments and the local housing authority.
"Partnership and collaboration are what we do here. We were looking to undertake something that would be an initiative that would help people experiencing homelessness. We have taken on this project and wrapped our arms around it as a community," shared Mayor Rebecca Wyhof Salmon, City of Sanford.
The theme better together was amplified in the speakers' remarks throughout the event. Representative. John Sauls, NC General Assembly, District 51, commented that "this is love in action … people in Sanford and Lee County truly care." The once-vacant building will provide permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness.
The project's total cost was $1,996,760, of which $ 991,967 of funding came from Community Development Block Grant Neighborhood Revitalization (CDBG-NR) funds. There were many contributors, including the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, SHA, and others.
The city of Sanford was persistent in its pursuit to garner community support for this project. Valerie Fegans, NC Department of Commerce, Rural Economic Development Division, acknowledged the city's unyielding commitment and highlighted the importance of "asking even when it seems impossible." As a result, many individuals and local partners were present at the event, which played an integral role in supporting the project's success.
"Families who once experienced homelessness will now have an opportunity to call 226 Linden Avenue home. This is something worth celebrating," said Jonathan Anderson, Acting Greensboro Field Office Director, HUD. He shared information about the CDBG, a grant established through the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. He talked about how it was created to support community development activities like housing, neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and infrastructure improvement.
Fegans noted, "This will be home, for not just five households, but many households as the units turn over and the future to come … We look forward to continuing our partnership … for future housing community development."
Karen Kennedy, City of Sanford, graciously thanked the participants. "There's been a lot of support here. An event like this does not happen without a whole lot of people," said Kennedy. Finally, Kennedy bid the group farewell and invited the participants to tour the units at the conclusion of the event.