In 1988, members of Trinity Presbyterian church recognized that people in their community were living in deteriorating, unsafe homes that they did not have the financial means to repair. A few church volunteers began working together to help complete minor home repairs. Al Kissling, the pastor of Trinity Presbyterian, and other socially-conscience community members took an interest in the volunteer group. Through his work with volunteers, he became aware of the home repair needs of the county, the plight of migrant workers in the country’s agriculture industry, and the lack of any organizational structure that would effectively respond to those needs. Mike Oliphant, our first Executive Director, was hired in 1993, and Housing Assistance began to develop both single and multi-family housing.
Sugarloaf Apartments, a 43-unit development for seasonal farm workers, was completed in 1994. This first development project specifically addressed the unmet need of decent rental housing for agricultural workers. In conjunction with beginning single-family housing developments, we began offering education services that included one-on-one housing counseling and a Home Buyer Education Course in 1995.
In the early 2000’s, we also began exploring the concept of housing as more than simply a means of shelter. Housing provides a foundation for economic advancement for individuals, and in 2004, we became a grantee of the North Carolina Community Development Initiative. Since joining the initiative, we were able to diversify and in doing so, increased multifamily housing production, increased single-family housing production by 50%, added an alternative program for single-family housing, expanded the Home Repair Programs volunteer base and initiated a Fall Prevention Program.