The 60-unit housing complex being constructed behind the Westgate Plaze in Franklin recently received a $480,000 grant to help ease construction costs.
U.S. Senator Kay Hagan made the announcement that Southeastern Housing Preservation, Inc. will receive a $480,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) of Atlanta for the Westgate Terrace Apartment community in Franklin, which will be providing 60 rental units for very low- to low-income families earning less than 60 percent of the area median income.
“These grants will help ensure that residents in Franklin have an affordable place to call home,” Hagan said. “I’m pleased that our state has received this funding to help advance projects that will strengthen our communities and improve the quality of life for North Carolinians.
The Westgate Terrace Affordable Housing Complex is being constructed on 4.4 acres behind the Westgate Plaza Ingles on Roller Mill Road and is set to be completed in February of next year, with tenant leases beginning in March.
According to Project Developer Hollis Fitch of the Flatiron Group of Charlotte, the grant will be instrumental in keeping the cost of rent low for the unit. "When we began construction, we got into some poor soil that drove up the cost of the project, which would have led to higher rental rates," said Fitch. "This grant will be used to bridge the gap and will allow us to not only serve those who fall below 60 percent of the median income, but it will allow us to keep our rental rates as low as possible."
Town Planner Derek Roland noted that Hollis and the housing complex's contractor have been diligent in acquiring local employees to work on the project. "The project has utilized local employees and subcontractors which has helped funnel money into the local community," said Roland. "With the project coordinators' dedication to buying supplies locally, hiring local employees and providing reduced rental rates allowing families to keep more money in their pockets, the development will end up shuffling money into the local economy."
Hollis noted that the project contractor has been so pleased with the work of the local subcontractors, that they have hired them to travel outside of the county to other job sites.
North Carolina is receiving a total of five grants worth a total of $1.7 million through FHLBank Atlanta’s Affordable Housing Program that seeks to revitalize neighborhoods, create jobs, and support economic development. The grants will create, improve or preserve 184 affordable rental and homeownership units.
FHLBank Atlanta is a cooperative bank that offers competitively priced financing, community development grants, and other banking services to help member financial institutions make affordable home mortgages and provide economic development credit to neighborhoods and communities.
Last month, Hagan introduced bipartisan legislation with eight of her Senate Banking Committee colleagues to modernize and reform the country’s broken housing finance system. The legislation would strengthen the housing finance system, protect taxpayers and ensure access to affordable, long-term mortgages for qualified borrowers. The purpose of Hagan’s proposal would be to help ensure North Carolinians have access to affordable rental housing.