Affordable housing for low income adults disabled by mental illness is a problem in many communities. However, with a grant of $450,000 from the Tax Credit and CDBG Affordable Housing Programs, Concord now offers beautifully rehabbed apartments to those in need.
Fellowship Housing Opportunities (FHO) received the grants to purchase and renovate the eight-unit apartment building with commercial space in downtown Concord. Not only did FHO improve the existing apartments on the upper floors, they also created a one-bedroom accessible unit for people with disabilities on the first floor. Additionally, they also moved some of FHO’s administrative offices into the building and plan to convert the basement into a programming area for building tenants and others disabled by mental illness.
As a resident of the building for nearly 30 years, Shirley (who preferred not to use her full name) felt ‘happy’ when she learned that FHO would be purchasing and renovating the building. “I really didn’t want to move. I felt secure here. It’s great because everyone got to stay in their own apartments. The location is good too. You can get downtown and [it is located] across from the mental center if there are any problems.”
In a conversation with Shirley and Page Cannon, FHO’s Executive Director, Page pointed out, “We know about mental health issues so it’s not a surprise to us when some people go into the hospital or if they are late on their rent because their social security check hasn’t hit their bank account. We were pretty involved with Shirley’s staying with us--we wanted her to stay. She’s not here by herself being a tenant from an anonymous landlord; she’s here with a landlord that cares not just about our building, but about her too.”
According to Shirley, “No landlord provides services like Page. With Page and people at Fellowship Housing Opportunities, they know that I have a mental illness and they don’t hold it against me. Like she said, if she doesn’t hear from me in a week, she’s going to check on me. That’s why it’s good they got the building. I really appreciate all the people that helped them get it.”