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The North Carolina Community Development Initiative is laying the groundwork for community transformation through the Rocky Mount Revitalization Initiative, a time-limited, locally based project driven by the needs of Rocky Mount residents.

Like many smaller communities in North Carolina, Rocky Mount has a significant low-income population, a history of discrimination and structural exclusion, and limited local capacity to address a growing shortage of affordable housing. At the same time, a combination of public- and private-sector investments are set to transform the neighborhood surrounding a vacant downtown textile mill into a vibrant live-work-recreation community. As Rocky Mount’s economy grows, many central city neighborhoods are vulnerable to the effects of gentrification and displacement, caught between competing interests of economic growth, neighborhood preservation, and housing affordability.

In 2016-17, Rocky Mount community leaders and public officials invited the Initiative to research and propose solutions to the City’s vacant property crisis, a precursor for a potential gentrification crisis among the City’s low- and moderate-income residents. In response, the Initiative has launched the Rocky Mount Revitalization Initiative, a 5-7 year, locally based demonstration project. Through this project, the Initiative is working to build a vibrant and economically mixed housing market in the central city while avoiding displacement and gentrification by acquiring and redeveloping vacant property as high-quality affordable housing.

The Initiative is also documenting both the financial and non-financial returns on these community investments so we can learn from our results and adapt our strategy as needed.

The Rocky Mount Revitalization Initiative is led by a team of staff and consultants with expertise in the areas of community and economic development, affordable housing development, community engagement, and housing policy. The Rocky Mount Revitalization Initiative is guided by a local advisory board composed of the residents of the communities in which we are working, housing and economic development professionals, and committed volunteers who are passionate about neighborhood revitalization. For more information on this work, contact Kimberly at or 919.835.6072.