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Chapel Hill Town Council donates land to construct Habitat for Humanity duplex

Rob Reda, the president of Habitat’s board of directors, said two plots on Lindsay Street are going to be combined into one that will house low-income families.

“This particular lot was selected because of the location,” Reda said. “It can have the duplex and fit into the ordinances. It is advantageous that this worked and can be used to the maximum.”

Sixty Chapel Hill and Carrboro families are being forced out of their homes after several housing complexes announced they would no longer accept Section 8 housing vouchers, which help low-income families afford private housing. Since then, Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt has said he’s committed to finding new sources of affordable housing for the town.

Loryn Clark, executive director of the Chapel Hill Housing and Community Department, said the donation will fit the town’s goal of providing housing to all of its residents, particularly those in historically low-income communities like Northside.

“This is an exciting opportunity to work with Habitat to create affordable homeownership opportunities in Northside,” she said in an email.

The two Lindsay Street plots were originally owned by the Chapel Hill Housing Authority. Chapel Hill Town Council member Sally Greene said the town came into possession of the two lots when the Housing Authority dissolved in the 1980s. She said the lots sat empty until 2010.

“In 2010, a developer noticed this and petitioned the town to request to buy it,” Greene said. “The Town Council showed no interest. Now, the opportunity has arisen for the Town Council to donate the land.”

The original proposal for the deal with Habitat came to the Town Council June 9 as a proposal for a single-family home, but the council wanted to see if Habitat could house more families on the lots.

The donation was finalized Monday at the Town Council business meeting.

“I think it is a very appropriate and commendable action, because it supports our goals of supporting the development of affordable housing throughout town, but particularly in the Northside neighborhood,” Greene said.

Now, the ownership of the land will be transferred to Habitat for just $1.

This project is one of many affordable housing projects that Habitat is working on around Chapel Hill.

“We just had our 30th anniversary,” said Jennifer Player, Habitat’s director of development. “In 30 years, we have completed 86 houses, and six are under construction in Chapel Hill. In total, nearly 250 houses have been completed or are under construction in Orange County.”

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