The North Carolina Finance Agency awarded two TightLines Designs project collaborations at the NC Affordable Housing Conference last week. The two projects, Ole Asheboro Neighborhood in Guilford County and Northstone Neighborhood in Hickory, were recognized for excellence in affordable housing.

We are honored to have served as the architects for both projects.

1. Ole Asheboro in Guilford County: a mixture of new homes and rehabilitation of existing homes that expands and preserves affordable housing options for younger buyers and older homeowners, developed by Community Housing Solutions, the City of Greensboro and the City of High Point.

About: Two communities in Guilford County have gained new housing opportunities for home buyers and homeowners alike through a mixture of construction and rehabilitation. Leveraging public and private dollars and the work of local partners, Community Housing Solutions has preserved and expanded affordable housing options in Greensboro and High Point for older homeowners hoping to age in place and young home buyers raising families in the area.

In both the Ole Asheboro Neighborhood and the Southside Neighborhood, Community Housing Solutions received discounted and vacant lots from the cities of Greensboro and High Point as well as development subsidies for the rehabilitation of existing homes. Both neighborhoods feature new and rehabilitated homes with three bedrooms approximately 1,500 square feet and sales prices ranging from $95,000 to $105,000. All homes are built to SystemVision standards to ensure low heating and cooling costs to help keep the homes affordable for homeowners.

In Ole Asheboro, one of Greensboro’s oldest neighborhoods, architectural standards were adopted for the new homes to match the community’s 1900s style. These homes are the latest in a two-decade revitalization effort that includes a new church, business growth and the repair of older homes by Community Housing Solutions. These efforts have helped more than 30 homeowners in Ole Asheboro, including elderly and disabled citizens who can now age in place due to critical repairs and accessibility modifications. In Southside, repair of existing homes and the creation of new ones has helped lower crime rates in the community and has inspired ongoing public-private partnerships that have so far brought together 150 volunteers to repair 11 homes for owners who may have otherwise had to move.

The NC Housing Finance Agency provided zero-interest, deferred second mortgages up to 20 percent of the purchase price for new home buyers in both communities, and the state’s Housing Trust Fund dollars helped finance the home repairs.

2. Northstone in Hickory, NC: a fully-developed, mixed-income neighborhood of single-family homes developed by Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley and the City of Hickory.

About: Identified as having the oldest housing stock in the state, Catawba County has long struggled to meet affordable housing needs. Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley has found a way to address that. Weaving together private and public funds, the Habitat purchased a subdivision in 2010 that today stands as the county’s first mixed-income community. When finished, Northstone will consist of 10 affordable and 8 market rate single-family homes.

The homes’ architecture evokes a traditional 1920s bungalow charm, enhanced with wooden siding, historic paint colors and architectural roofing shingles. The homes range in size from two- to four-bedroom single-family homes from 1,100 to 1,300 square feet. Each home comes with attached storage space at the back of the home.

The homes feature sealed crawl spaces, dehumidification systems and indoor air quality modifications to improve health of homeowners and their families. Built to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready standards, Northstone includes two homes that were certified as the first Zero Energy Ready homes in the state in 2016. All homes are handicap accessible and can be easily adapted to accommodate homeowners with disabilities.

Habitat sought to develop the mixed-income community based on research that indicates that children living in mixed-income neighborhoods have 16% higher earnings as adults and generate $22,000 of additional tax-based revenue in their lifetimes.

Habitat prepares buyers to be successful homeowners with Habitat 101, an intensive pre-purchase curriculum. Buyers also take a financial literacy class and home maintenance and landscaping classes prior to closing on their homes.

The average sales price of the homes is $130,000. The NC Housing Finance Agency provided zero-interest participation loans to the Habitat for Northstone, and the City of Hickory contributed funds for down payment assistance.