Bailey Springs and the Davidson Housing Coalition: A Source of Community
As the Davidson Housing Coalition is engaged in its summer fundraising campaign, it is spotlighting its efforts to build community in Davidson. One such neighborhood is Bailey Springs, where the work of the coalition and its clients has resulted in joyful new residents living in beautiful new homes.
What does it take to build affordable housing? Simply put, the development of affordable housing stems from community partnership. Take, for example, the recent extension of the Bailey Springs neighborhood in Davidson. Through the partnership of the Town of Davidson, JCB Urban, Habitat for Humanity and Davidson Housing Coalition, fifteen new homes were built and sold to first-time homeowners.
Davidson Housing Coalition qualified ten of the fifteen homeowners, working with some households for more than a year to position them for the purchase. At last, in the fall of 2018, JCB Urban and the Town of Davidson held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completed construction of the first phase of houses.
Over the new few months, homeowners began moving in, their moves coinciding with other major life events—the celebration of retirement, the excitement of a first child, the completion of a master’s degree. A genuine sense of community amongst residents has followed.
Let’s meet some of the newest homeowners in Bailey Springs…
How does one describe the process of becoming a homeowner? “It has been one hard puzzle,” said Ebony Hunt, a new Bailey Springs homeowner. Ebony, an elementary school reading teacher, has been preparing for homeownership for more than two years. When she began her search, she was living at home with her mom—a decision that made sense after completing her education degree and obtaining her first teaching job. Finally, Ebony decided to pursue her dream of living on her own. She enrolled in a homebuyer education course through HouseCharlotte, and hired a real estate agent. Ebony felt she was moving closer and closer to her goal until she actually began looking at houses to purchase in Charlotte. “I was prepared to move out, but I couldn’t find a house that I could afford,” said Ebony. At this point, Ebony’s real estate agent recommended she contact Davidson Housing Coalition.
Ebony began working with DHC to become qualified for a house in Bailey Springs. However, a few pieces of the puzzle remained missing. With each piece of unexpected news, Ebony asked herself, “Am I ready for this?” Ebony remained optimistic, working to improve her credit score, and developing a plan to handle her debt, while continuing to teach full time and complete a Master’s Degree in Executive Leadership from Queens University. “Ultimately, it came down to timing and making the right choices. I knew that I wanted to be a homeowner, so I had to set priorities for myself.”
Ebony moved into her new home this past spring. In May, she hosted a housewarming party for her friends and family. As someone who loves to entertain, the party was meaningful as her home transformed into a gathering space for friends and family.
“We had thought about homeownership for a long time,” said Kateaka as her husband, Rasheed, nodded. For the past eight years,
Kateaka and Rasheed Brown had rented a home in Davidson within walking distance of the Ada Jenkins Center and Davidson Housing Coalition.
The Browns moved into their rental home in 2010. While commuting to work was easy, especially for Kateaka who works in Education Services at Ada Jenkins, the house had one major pitfall: baseboard heating. Baseboard heating is costly; throughout the year, the couple regularly paid heating bills that cost $600 dollars. “In the wintertime, we could see heating bills as much as $1,000. We couldn’t save any money—it was hard.” Even so, the Browns hesitated to move out. “Davidson is very expensive, we love to live here, but we were afraid that if we tried to find something else in town, we wouldn’t be able to afford it,” Kateaka said. They briefly considered moving out of Davidson, or moving into an apartment, but they were tired of renting.
The Browns were familiar with DHC, but didn’t know much about DHC’s housing beyond the Bungalows. “When the New Year, 2018, came in, I said I am going to go down there, at least just to see. Gail just happened to be there, and that started it.” Gail Brooks-Lemkin, DHC’s Housing and Financial Literacy Counselor, had recently begun outreach to potential homeowners about the Bailey Springs development. The couple worked with Gail over the next six months, developing a budget and working on their credit. “It was a lot of work, but I knew at some point, we would get where we needed to, which was being homeowners. We had support from Davidson Housing throughout the entire process.”
The Browns finally moved into their new home after Thanksgiving. “It was the best holiday present I could have asked for,” Kateaka said, laughing. The Browns are still settling in, and creating a home that they love. In the meantime, the couple looks forward to continuing to play and perform music as “The Shades of Brown,” and giving back to the community.