New affordable housing for special needs and disabled on the way - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

New affordable housing for special needs and disabled on the way

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A groundbreaking ceremony took place Monday morning for a new $1.1 million affordable housing apartment community in Wilmington. A groundbreaking ceremony took place Monday morning for a new $1.1 million affordable housing apartment community in Wilmington.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A groundbreaking ceremony took place Monday morning for a new $1.1 million affordable housing apartment community in Wilmington.

The new project is being called Jervay House II and will include eight one-bedroom apartments that will be home to qualified low income people with special needs and disabilities.

Elderhaus, Inc. is partnering with the Wilmington Housing Authority to provide supportive services to those residents.

A recent report revealed there's a need for more affordable housing in Wilmington. Since New Hanover County is a beach community, it has some of the most expensive home and property values in North Carolina. People with low incomes are put in tough situations when it comes to renting apartments.

Mayor Bill Saffo tells us, it's something council has been discussing for awhile and he believes they're finally taking some action to fix it.

"First of all the land availability is diminishing. New Hanover County is a small county. 2nd smallest in the state of NC. There's not that much land available. That's left.  Whatever is left is very valuable," said Saffo.

2008 data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development reveals 64% of owner occupied households in Wilmington that fall into the low to moderate income range are spending at least a third of their income towards housing.

Also, families in Wilmington need to earn more than $15 an hour to afford an average two bedroom apartment. But most renters only make a little more than $11 an hour. 

"Not only are we looking at redeveloping the actual sites. We're looking at redeveloping actual sights. We're also looking at the entire area for redevelopment. To look at infield development. Look at ways we can bring in more housing. Affordable housing into our community. It doesn't have to be just single family homes, it can be apartments, lofts, garage apartments it can be a number of things which adds to that affordable housing stock," added Saffo.

Members of the Wilmington Housing Authority say they're planning to renovate Hillcrest. Then they'll focus on Rankin Apartments. Mayor Saffo says, Jervay Place is the perfect example of how renovating low income housing can help lower crime. 

Developers expect construction on the new apartments at Jervay Place to take about six months, with the start anticipated by early 2014.

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