Just over a year ago, the session of Myers Park Presbyterian Church voted unanimously to take action to address one of the most critical needs in our community: stable, affordable housing. Partnering with CrossRoads, Grier Heights Presbyterian Church, and Antioch Baptist Church, we made a zero-interest loan of just under $1 million to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership to develop affordable multi-family housing in Grier Heights.

CMHP has 30 years of experience in developing and sustaining affordable housing solutions. They’re professional developers and have the trust and support of our local government.

We hoped this action would be like a mustard seed of faith, spreading to become a great tree in our community. It has. The initial property on Billingsley Road is adjacent to a vacant lot owned by Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte and is part of a proposed land-swap agreement with CMHP. The lot beside the Habitat land has also been acquired by CMHP, nearly doubling the footprint available to create dignified, affordable housing for residents. Once the land assemblage is finalized, CMHP will work to re-zone and apply for a tax credit in January of 2021 to build truly affordable housing. Initial fit tests indicate that upwards of 66 units could be built on the 3.35 acres we helped acquire.

We put a stake in ground. This matters, and this is where partnership matters. CrossRoads has deep ties to the Grier Heights neighborhood and has conducted a series of ‘indaba’ listening sessions to leverage the wisdom, vision, and leadership of the residents of Grier Heights. We know that housing is just one element of a strong neighborhood, and affording residents the opportunity to preserve the history and makeup of Grier Heights while realizing a new vision is of utmost importance.

Another exciting development is that 16 acres of county-owned land in Grier Heights has become available, and Mecklenburg County is seeking proposals for affordable housing developments there, as well. They’ve sought input from both CrossRoads and CMHP in the very early stages of this process.

Our community is pushing to address this extraordinary challenge. Last year, Charlotte residents approved a $50 million bond to fuel the Housing Trust Fund. The banking community has stepped up with a pledge of over $70 million. At least eight other faith communities have committed property or financial resources to help create affordable homes for the 35,000+ families who need them. Make no mistake, there is a long way to go. By planting this mustard seed and nurturing our relationships within Grier Heights, we participate in God’s work in this world.

For questions or additional information, please contact the Outreach Office at outreach@myersparkpres.org.