Charlotte church invests $2 million in affordable housing development

Preliminary rendering of planned Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership development.
Preliminary rendering of planned Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership development.

Covenant Presbyterian Church has decided to invest $2 million in a new affordable housing development in west Charlotte, the church said Tuesday.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership is developing 185 apartments at the southwest corner of Freedom Drive and Camp Green Street. About 30 percent of the units will rent at market rate, while the remainder will be reserved for people making less than the area’s median income.

“Our church views decent and safe housing as a critical foundation to humanity,” said Bob Henderson, Covenant’s senior pastor, in a statement. “Covenant hopes to make an impact that will increase awareness of and advocacy for households with affordable housing needs by creating a model to finance its development that other organizations can replicate.”

This is the church’s first such investment.

One of the major hurdles affordable housing developers face is often the ability to find capital. Even affordable developments subsidized by tax credits and other public funding need investors, and if those investors expect the same rate of return that market-rate housing would provide, that makes building units with cheaper rents more difficult.

Investors who don’t expect a high rate of return – such as churches and nonprofits – can help bridge that gap.

“The Housing Partnership is grateful for and excited by the opportunity to partner with Covenant Presbyterian,” said Julie Porter, president of the Housing Partnership. “The congregation is leading the way in creating a model for faith-based communities to directly improve outcomes for low-income families.”

The Movement Foundation, affiliated with Movement Mortgage, is also an investor in the project. The foundation developed the adjacent Movement Charter School, which opened this year in a former K-Mart.

The new apartments will include apartments reserved for people making 30 percent to 80 percent of the of the area’s median income, with rents ranging from $348 to $900 per month. The development will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo