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New Hendersonville affordable housing may move ahead with $600K in federal funds

A map from an April 2022 presentation to the Hendersonville City Council on the Apple Ridge development.
City of Hendersonville
A map from an April 2022 presentation to the Hendersonville City Council on the Apple Ridge development.

An affordable housing development in Hendersonville is progressing in its bid for $600,000 in federal funding, as the region continues to grapple with the twin challenges of a booming population and a soaring cost of living.

The Asheville Regional Housing Consortium voted Monday to recommend funding the 60-unit Apple Ridge development with money from its federal allocation. Asheville City Council will take up the spending request at its July 23 meeting. The developer plans to build single-family homes and apartments.

Asheville’s Economic Development Program Director Nikki Reid said Monday that it was “very clear” the Apple Ridge development is the furthest along among four projects that submitted funding proposals. She noted that the developer, Housing Assistance Corporation, had already “secured their other sources of funding.”

“The committee really wanted to prioritize this project for funding based upon the overall merits of the project and project readiness,” Reid said during the meeting. “… This project was ready to go.”

The regional consortium is responsible for applying for and managing U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding for affordable housing. It consists of the City of Asheville and Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania and Madison counties.

For the 2024-2025 fiscal year, the consortium has been allocated about $1 million under HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

If approved, the $600,000 will subsidize development costs for Housing Assistance Corporation.

The news comes as the need for housing in the region is expected to become even more urgent over the coming years. In a recent presentation to the Asheville City Council, consultants with Enterprise Community Partners said that Buncombe County will need 39,520 more homes by 2050 to keep pace with population growth.

Three affordable senior housing projects had also submitted requests for local HOME funding: the Lofts at Chadwick, based in Hendersonville; the Lofts at Swannanoa, in Swannanoa; and Swannanoa River Village, based in Asheville.

Those three projects were not selected for funding on Monday, with consortium members noting developers had not finalized other funding sources. But the projects could be eligible for funding in the coming months. Two of the projects – Lofts at Chadwick and Lofts at Swannanoa – have applied to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, and consortium members indicated Monday that they would be willing to allocate funds to those projects if they are successful in securing the tax credit. Tax credit recipients will be announced by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency in August.

Apple Ridge was among the tax credit awardees last year. The project has also secured funding from Henderson County and the City of Hendersonville for water and sewer infrastructure.

Hendersonville City Manager John Connett said Monday that the project will also include single-family homes.

“Not only is it a rental project, also there is a homeowner component that is funded with additional money, so that it is a true multi-phase project,” Connett said. “It would be good for our community and [it] is completely supported there. So that’s the reason I was just a strong advocate for it.”

Felicia Sonmez is a reporter covering growth and development for Blue Ridge Public Radio.