Asheville City Council approved a $530,000 loan agreement for Homeward Bound in July. The funds will be used to purchase and refurbish a one-acre property at 296 Short Michigan Avenue that has five structures, currently containing 8 one-bedroom apartment units, and 3 two-bedroom units. The repurposed property will provide permanent housing for disadvantaged families and individuals in the Buncombe County area who have an income of less than 60% of the Area Median Income, which is estimated to be $66,000 a year for a family of four.
The City Council Planning staff reportedly stated that the new initiative positively “impacts a population that has traditionally been very hard to serve through the Community Development division’s affordable housing tools,” as reported by Citizen Times. Homeward Bound adopts a housing-first model to effectively reduce homelessness.
This will be the first owned housing development for Homeward Bound, which has previously utilized city properties and rental agreements with landlords to find permanent housing for over 2,050 people since 1999 when the organization was founded.
Executive Director of Homeward Bound, Meredith Switzer reiterated the excitement within the organization and the wider positive effects of this project, that it will not only benefit “the folks we’re able to house at this property and at this site, but also what it’s going to mean for the community moving forward with much bigger projects with a much greater impact.”