Seeking Solutions: Churches providing affordable housing

By Lexi Wilson, WCNC
Reverend John Cleghorn has the building, and the plan to construct as many as 21 apartments — what he doesn’t have is full funding.


An unexpected source of low-cost living space is re-emerging in the Charlotte area. Charlotte’s houses of worship are making use of their facilities to help people build new lives.

“It’s about our transformation as much as it is about providing housing,” Reverend John Cleghorn with Caldwell Presbyterian Church said.

Several years ago, Caldwell Presbyterian Church helped shelter dozens of homeless women. Now, they want to convert one of the church’s unused buildings into apartments — but going from idea to reality is never easy.

Reverend Cleghorn said it helps to have faith for divine developments.

“To solve the Charlotte affordable housing crisis, it will take everybody,” Cleghorn said.

Cleghorn has the building, and the plan to construct as many as 21 apartments — what he doesn’t have is full funding.

“We’re still raising that last of the $6 million we need,” Cleghorn said.

The developer, DreamKey Partners and Caldwell Presbyterian have secured $4.5 million, of that as follows:

  • $800,000 from Caldwell’s Share the Promise of Home capital campaign, launched three years ago
  • $1 million from Myers Park United Methodist Church
  • $630,000 from a city of Charlotte Housing Trust Fund grant
  • $800,000 grant from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency ($200,000 of which is expected but not yet committed)
  • $900,000 grant from Mecklenburg County

“The goal is to cut the interior of the building,” congregation member Eddy Capote said.

Several years ago, the church saw an opportunity. The Price building could be used as housing for people earning 30% to 50% of the area median income which is about $17,000 to $35,000 a year, but it’s not an easy path.

“Affordable housing isn’t affordable to build,” Capote said.

The commitments leave a funding gap of $1.87 million.

Still, across Charlotte, other land rich, faith groups are planning to follow suit. It’s a solution some will consider a godsend.

“Churches have resources, have assets to give and there are a lot of churches that are underused now, what better way to build community by transforming our properties and be part of the solution t oour city’s affordable housing crisis,” Cleghorn said.

In the coming weeks, a Charlotte church plans to make an announcement about donating land to a Charlotte nonprofit to help build affordable townhomes.

See more at WCNC


The Charlotte Journalism Collaborative is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems.