As part of the “Our Vision, Their Stories” project, the Initiative is featuring the stories of their affordable housing partners across the State. We recognize this important work cannot be done in a vacuum, and we are honored to have worked alongside these champions in the critical mission of preserving affordable housing spaces in our community.
Click to watch the full interview here.
EmPOWERment, Inc. in partnership with the Initiative
In 1998, our partnership with EmPOWERment, Inc. began, just two years after EmPOWERment was founded. We selected EmPOWERMENT as one of 22 grantees and for over a decade, supplied funds for their daily operations expenses – funds that are typically very hard to come by.
But the relationship wasn’t just about funds. We were able to form a relationship with the employees and help to provide the “know-how” as well as the funds to put that knowledge into action. EmPOWERment went on several retreats with us and other organizations in the affordable housing space where invaluable knowledge sharing took place. We benefited from those conversations just as much as the other participants!
We also had the privilege of helping EmPOWERment hire their first housing counselor in 2000, a key hire that allowed them to grow their expertise in the housing and rental counseling space. Now with two counselors on staff, they’re able to provide support to individuals and families all over North Carolina who are about to go into foreclosure. With their phone constantly ringing, Sharron and Valencia are quite busy. But for Sharron, her job takes on a whole new level of personal.
Sharron and her husband were able to buy a home in Chapel Hill because of EmPOWERment several years back. She became inspired by the housing counselor who worked with them and decided to switch careers so she could in turn be that support for people looking to purchase a home, particularly for seniors and individuals who had a recent death in the family as they are often the most at-risk.
Throughout our longstanding partnership with EmPOWERment, we’ve also invested loan dollars that allowed them to renovate rental homes, making them liveable as well as affordable. They’ve grown from owning 12 units to 20 units, but Delores continues to dream. By 2030, her goal is to own 100 to 150 rental units and become the nonprofit property management leader in Orange County. Armed with our support and encouragement and like-minded organizations across the community, they’re ready for the challenge.
“We couldn’t have made it without them,” shares Delores.
We are so honored to have been a longtime partner of this incredible organization, an organization that isn’t afraid to step into the difficult spaces and be a voice for the voiceless in Chapel Hill, Orange County and throughout North Carolina.