Sometimes it takes a village to build up housing, especially the affordable type sorely needed in Asheville. A $1.6 million grant agreement with the nonprofit Dogwood Health Trust, up for consideration by Asheville City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 13, offers one example of how collaboration on the problem can work.
The money is meant to amplify previous funding Asheville provided to other area nonprofits earlier this year. In May, the city had used some of its $26.2 million in federal COVID-19 recovery funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to support the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries.
Habitat had received $600,000 for the construction and rehabbing of 16 homes that would be made available to first-time homebuyers earning at or below 80% of the area median income ($45,000 for an individual or $64,250 for a family of four.) ABCCM had received $999,000 to construct a three-story apartment building at the nonprofit’s Transformation Village, which aims to provide affordable housing for women earning at or below 50% AMI ($28,150 for an individual; $40,150 for a family of four).
However, both of those awards fell short of the $900,000 and $3 million that Habitat and ABCCM, respectively, had made of the city. Asheville thus applied to a grant opportunity available through Dogwood for money that would “leverage the ARPA funds that the city is investing in affordable housing.”
If approved, the grant from Dogwood would enter into the city’s Special Revenue Fund before being distributed to Habitat and ABCCM. A staff report available prior to Council’s meeting did not specify how much of the grant each project would receive.
In other news
Council will consider renewing a yearlong, $110,000 contract with Homeward Bound of Western North Carolina, an Asheville-based nonprofit that supports homeless residents, for street outreach services. The organization’s work would include case management, referrals to community resources and permanent housing, and responding to downtown businesses and residents over homelessness concerns, among other efforts.
City Manager Debra Campbell will also present updates on the city’s capital improvements and projects funded by federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. No additional materials on those subjects were linked to the city’s agenda as of press time.
Consent agenda and public comment
The consent agenda for the meeting contains 14 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:
- A resolution authorizing the city’s continued participation in Buncombe County’s Homeowner Grant Program, which provides homeowners earning up to 80% of the area median income with money to offset property tax increases. Eligible grantees will receive up to $300 from Buncombe County and $200 from the city of Asheville. The city has allocated $150,000 for these payments; last year, it spent $90,600.
- A resolution authorizing a $50,800 contract amendment with Alta Planning + Design, Inc. for right-of-way acquisition tied to the Asheville Greenway Connectors project, bringing the total contract amount to nearly $165,000. The project will connect the Nasty Branch Greenway to Memorial Stadium (a terminus of the future Beaucatcher Greenway) and the future Bacoate Branch Greenway using pedestrian and on-street bicycle pathways. Construction is anticipated to begin this spring and last 9 months.
- A resolution authorizing a $20,000 contract amendment with ADW Architects to accommodate a late design change for the Broadway Public Safety Station Project, bringing the total contract amount to roughly $971,000. The Broadway Public Safety Station, which will be located at 316 Broadway in north Asheville, will house Fire Station 13, a police substation and an emergency operations center.
- A resolution authorizing Cambell to enter into a contract of up to $114,000 with Appalachian Paving & Concrete for a traffic calming project. The company will construct speed cushions on Klondyke Avenue and Klondyke Place in Montford, south of downtown on Stoner Road and on Mitchell Avenue in West Asheville. City transportation staffers estimate the work will reduce crash rates by about 13%.
Council members will gather in their chambers on the second floor of City Hall, located at 70 Court Plaza, starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will be carried live on Charter/Spectrum Channel 193 and livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can also listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 3535.
Those who wish to speak during the meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door. No live remote comment will be permitted. Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 3535; written comments can be sent to AshevilleCityCouncilSept132022@PublicInput.com until 9 a.m. Sept.13. General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to AshevilleNCCouncil@AshevilleNC.gov.
The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.