In the heart of High Point, North Carolina, a city with a history intertwined with the evolution of public housing, the Housing Authority of the City of High Point (HPHA) stands as a pillar, steadfast in its mission to provide eligible families and individuals with adequate and affordable housing. Established in the 1930s, the HPHA has weathered challenges and adapted to the shifting landscape of affordable housing, striving to create a safe, drug-free living environment without discrimination.
Mission and Purpose: Bridging the Gap
The core mission of the High Point Housing Authority is clear: to offer eligible families and individuals not just shelter but a pathway to economic advancement and homeownership.
The HPHA manages a diverse portfolio, including 900 Low-Income Public Housing units, 101 Section 8 New Construction units, and an extensive Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
Public housing, a cornerstone of the HPHA’s efforts, caters to low to moderate income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, offering a range of housing options from single-family homes to high-rise apartments. The Section 8 program, a national initiative, assists very low-income households, empowering them to choose suitable, safe, and sanitary housing.
Challenges in Affordable Housing: Weathering the Storm
However, challenges loom large, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The inventory of affordable housing is dwindling, landlords are increasingly pricing out voucher holders, and turnover rates for public housing units remain low. The HPHA faces the uphill task of meeting the rising demand for affordable housing amid a shrinking supply.
The HPHA highlights the impact of the pandemic on its programs and jurisdiction. Landlords, facing economic pressures, significantly increase rents beyond eligibility, pushing the affordability limits for voucher holders. The Section 8 program faces additional strains as landlords leave the program or opt out of the rental market, impacting housing availability for voucher holders.
Despite extensive waiting lists for Public Housing and closed waiting lists for Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers, the HPHA remains resolute in its commitment to overcoming these hurdles.
Evolution of Mission: Adapting to Change
While the mission of the HPHA has remained steadfast, the organization has evolved in its strategies. Facing the reality of a limited supply of affordable housing, the HPHA has embraced creative avenues to increase opportunities. The emphasis is not just on housing but on building foundations for independence.
What sets the HPHA apart is its vision for empowerment. Beyond providing shelter, the HPHA envisions a trajectory towards independence, encouraging families to transition from government assistance to homeownership or private market housing. This vision is embodied in the HPHA’s HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency, guiding families toward self-sufficiency.
Operations and Activities: Navigating the Housing Landscape
The process of selecting individuals or families for housing involves a meticulous procedure. From waiting list selection based on HUD criteria to lease execution, the HPHA ensures transparency and adherence to guidelines. Families must meet eligibility requirements and fulfill their responsibilities, including paying rent and maintaining the residence.
The HPHA doesn’t merely offer housing; it provides a spectrum of programs and services. From the Public Housing & Section 8 Family Self-Sufficiency Programs to Section 8 Homeownership initiatives, the HPHA is committed to empowering its residents. Financial literacy workshops, scholarship programs, and community-building efforts are integral components of their comprehensive approach.
Ensuring Sustainability: A Holistic Approach
Sustainability is a priority, and HUD-required inspections and resident-submitted work orders ensure the maintenance of housing units. Restricted HUD funding can often cause challenges in this area. These constraints limit the ability to effectively address the growing demand for affordable housing, address urban blight, and support community development initiatives. The allocation of funds often becomes a subject of political debate, leading to uncertainties in long-term planning for housing programs. Persistent challenges in securing consistent and sufficient funding hinder the capacity to make substantial progress in addressing the complex issues within its purview. Partnerships with local governments and organizations, including the City of High Point, amplify the impact of HPHA’s initiatives.
Human Interest Success Stories: Empowering Lives
Through collaboration with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, the City of High Point and other down payment assistance program funding sources, families were afforded the opportunity to realize their dream of becoming homeowners.
Mission and Vision: Guiding Principles
Staying aligned with the organization’s mission and vision involves continuous training, team-building, and reminders of their overarching goals. The HPHA’s vision extends beyond affordable housing; it aspires to be a financially viable real estate company offering competitive housing options.
Community and Outreach: Building Partnerships
Engagement with the local community is central to the HPHA’s success. Partnering with various agencies, the HPHA leverages resources to enhance support services for program participants. The community’s role is pivotal, providing an environment for families to thrive and empowering them to define and achieve their own success.
Upcoming Projects: Legacy Ridge
A notable initiative on the horizon is the Legacy Ridge development, a 100-unit affordable housing community on the former Daniel Brooks Homes site. Breaking ground in collaboration with Laurel Street, Legacy Ridge aims to provide well-designed, affordable apartments, fostering a sense of community with outdoor spaces and amenities. Expected completion by the spring of 2025, Legacy Ridge represents a commitment to revitalizing and deconcentrating poverty in High Point.
The Housing Authority of the City of High Point stands at a pivotal juncture, navigating challenges, embracing change, and building a legacy of affordable, empowering housing solutions. As the organization looks toward the future, the goal is to provide shelter and foster independence, resilience, and success for the families it serves.