MaryAnne Mooney was concerned that she would no longer be able to afford the apartment she rented with the money she made working part-time as an administrative assistant.
Mooney is recently-divorced and has an 11-year old daughter.
A year earlier, she answered a phone call at the church office where she worked. The call was from someone at the Davidson Housing Coalition seeking interest for its programs. She didn’t think much of the call until she found herself in need of the DHC’s assistance.
Over a two-year period, the DHC helped Mooney find affordable housing -- first through renting a different apartment, then through its home owner’s program – and fulltime employment that could support she and her daughter.
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That was five years ago.
Now two years into a 30-year mortgage for a house in Davidson’s Summers Walk neighborhood, Mooney considers herself a living testament to DHC’s mission, to create affordable housing solutions and to prepare people for financial stability and homeownership.
“I wanted to stay within Davidson because of the school system,” Mooney said. “It was a small town and I grew up in a small town in Michigan. I never thought I’d be able to own a home in Davidson. A lot of things fell into place. I love to tell the story.”
The DHC, which was founded in 1996 and has hundreds of success stories. Its office is on Sloan Street, on a piece of property it shares with Creekside Corner, a complex of 14 apartments it leases.
The organization has an annual budget of $400,000 which is partly supported by the town of Davidson, corporate sponsors, and its own fundraising. On Feb. 27, the 12th annual Souper Bowl was held to support the DHC’s emergency home repair program called “HAMMERS.”
The DHC leases over 50 units, provides financial literacy and homebuyer education programs, offers the “HAMMERS” program, and participates in a job search program through the state named “CARE3.”
The CARE3 program has had a couple of names over the years DHC has served as a job link center. Over 400 people have accessed the DHC computer during that time. Mooney was never active in the CARE3 program but her connection to DHC helped her land her current job as an administrative assistant at a local hospital.
“Gail helped me get my foot in the door,” Mooney said. “Now I live right around the corner from my job, five minutes away. It was a win-win situation.”
Individuals and families can qualify for DHC home rental programs as long as their incomes don’t exceed guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The cost of rent in DHC facilities range from $500-$800. Costs vary based on household.
Executive director Marcia Webster said the DHC receives almost 100 applications for its rental properties per year. The waiting list for The Bungalows, a set of 34 units in bungalow-style homes, is 75, but Creekside Corners’ wait list is only two.
Although job readiness wasn’t a facet of the DHC’s original mission, Webster said that program helps clients learn to support themselves.
“So many people that want to rent are underemployed or unemployed,” Webster said. “We thought it would be nice to help them get in a better financial situation.”
Joe Habina is a freelance writer: email@example.com.