February 20, 2023
Charlotte, NC – Freedom Communities and Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region are announcing a new partnership that will turn renters into homeowners.
The two non-profits are teaming up with investors to take 23 homes in the Camp Greene
neighborhood in West Charlotte and transition the units from rentals to owner occupied over the course of the next 10 years. The program will be open to current residents and other qualified buyers and is supported by Bank of America, who is the project’s largest investor, committing $1M in the form of a low interest loan.
“The ability to secure affordable permanent housing is essential to creating a vibrant and
welcoming community for all residents,” shared Kieth Cockrell, Bank of America
Charlotte President. “Investing in this effort to transition Camp Green neighborhood renters
into homeowners will help residents close the wealth gap through homeownership,
advance economic mobility, and strengthen our overall community.”
Like many areas close to Charlotte’s city center, Camp Greene has seen an influx of investors
who are renovating or rebuilding more expensive homes in the area. This has displaced many
low-income renters and potential homeowners, changing both the racial and socioeconomic
demographics of the area.
“Freedom Communities and Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region are committed to
helping low-income families achieve stability and build generational wealth through
homeownership, and have been working to bring this project to life for the past two years,” said
Laura Belcher, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region. Along with
Bank of America, other notable supporters include The Leon Levine Foundation, Beacon
Partners, and many individual donors.
“We are humbled to be part of this project that provides deserving families the opportunity to
build wealth and also to benefit from the increased investment in the area,” said Hannah
Beavers, Executive Director of Freedom Communities. “I am hopeful this project will inspire
others to leverage naturally occurring affordable housing to support affordable homeownership
across our community.”
Affordable Housing Crisis
Mecklenburg County is less and less affordable for low wage workers. Earlier this year, the
Charlotte Observer reported that only 1% of apartments in Mecklenburg County rent for less
than $1,000 a month. In 2010, less than 10% of rental households reported paying between
$1,000 and $1,250. Since 2010, rents have increased by 23% in Mecklenburg County, while
minimum wage has remained flat since 2009.
Research is conclusive that affordable homeownership is an essential part of upward mobility,
wealth creation, and family stability. Homeownership is tied to better academic outcomes for
children. It also provides greater stability and predictability of monthly housing expenses, and
allows owners to build equity as home prices increase over time. However, purchasing a home
in Charlotte is becoming out of reach for most. During the pandemic, for-sale inventory declined 40% from December 2020 to December 2021. Low inventory and high demand continue to push home prices up, widening the racial wealth gap in Charlotte.
Freedom Communities is a “place-based” organization focusing their work in the Freedom Drive Corridor of West Charlotte to work holistically with families in the interconnected areas of housing, employment, education, health, and wellness. By building new mixed income housing and preserving naturally occurring affordable housing, Freedom Communities creates pathways for family stability and generational wealth creation within the Charlotte community. More information is available at www.freedomcommunities.com.