The Outer Banks Community Development Corp. celebrated the grand opening of its new Outer Banks Nonprofit Office Center and eight units of supportive housing during a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 20 in Nags Head.
The new building houses the offices of five local nonprofit organizations, including the Outer Banks CDC, and six apartments that will serve as short-term transitional and emergency housing. The 6,500 square foot building meets the energy efficiency standards of SystemVision, the nation’s first energy efficiency guarantee program for affordable housing launched a decade ago with Initiative seed funding.
The project includes an additional two units of short-term housing in Hatteras Island, which were purchased by the CDC from the developer of an affordable condominium property.
In the Outer Banks, property values and rents are high, making it difficult for low-income residents and nonprofit organizations to find affordable homes and facilities.
“On the agency end, the commercial rents down here are so high and there is such a significant overhead cost to small agencies that they couldn’t do as much good as they wanted to financially,” said Chuck Poe, executive director of Outer Banks CDC, an Initiative grantee.
“[On the housing end,] the Hotline group, which operates a battered women’s shelter, could get the women so far but to turn them back out where the rents are so difficult, whether you have a good paying job or not, made it very difficult for them to start over,” Poe said.
The CDC’s building project responds to both needs. It was financed with funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank, Housing Finance Agency’s transitional housing fund and a low-interest U.S. Department of Agriculture loan. In all, 46 percent came from grant funding, enabling Outer Banks CDC to rent office space to nonprofits at significantly lower rates – in some cases, half – than they have been paying elsewhere and include utilities, Internet service and modern conference facilities.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) congratulated the CDC during the ribbon-cutting ceremony and acknowledged the importance of the building’s capacity for collaboration.
“Perhaps even more importantly than representing the work that the Outer Banks CDC has done, this building serves as a symbol of the service and the support that you will continue to provide to the people of this community,” Hagan said. “The building will bring the community together…to help solve so many of the numerous problems for people in need.”
The nonprofits currently housed in the center are Outer Banks CDC, Outer Banks Hotline, Interfaith Community Outreach, Mano al Hermano and Monarch Beach Club. Residents are referred for housing by partner organizations: transitional housing for women who have been victims of domestic violence and other long-term crises or temporary emergency shelter for victims of fires or other disasters.
One building resident (name withheld to protect her privacy), an employee at a local bank, spoke during the ceremony about the stability that the transitional housing is providing for her and her family.
“I feel more stable with my life,” she said. “I feel more at ease and every day I am so thankful to have this blessing. I’m now able to work on my credit and save up to be able to purchase our first home from here. [Outer Banks] CDC is a great organization that I support for the community and I feel it can definitely change peoples’ lives, give them hope and let families know that their dreams can become a reality. I know the CDC has changed my life.”
For more information about the project, contact Poe at the Outer Banks CDC, (252) 480-2507 or visit http://www.obx-cdc.org.
The N.C. Community Development Initiative leads North Carolina’s collaborative community economic development effort, driving innovation, investment and action to create prosperous, sustainable communities. For more information, visit www.ncinitiative.org.