The Marian Cheek Jackson Center, a nonprofit in Chapel Hill, submitted a grant request to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen for $3,000 to pay for electrical repairs in the home of Lillie Brown, a resident of Rogers Road in Carrboro.
Tuesday, the board approved the grant request through the Affordable Housing Special Revenue Fund.
Lillie Brown and her mother, Addie, both of whom are over the age of 65, have lived in their home since the 1960s.
Christine Council, co-owner of Bonneville Electric, said the business initially worked with the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service to help install a heating and central air system in Brown’s home. In doing so, the company noticed Brown’s home had electrical issues.
Bonneville gave the Jackson Center a 20 percent discount towards the cost of the repair.
“We like to help nonprofits that work in our community and improve the lives of our residents,” Council said.
Hudson Vaughan, director of programs at the Jackson Center, said this was the first time the organization helped a resident apply for a grant.
“This case was especially important to me because it’s someone that lives in the historic Rogers Road neighborhood and the Carrboro community,” he said.
After funding Brown’s project, the Special Revenue Fund will have at least $34,750 left over.
Alderwoman Bethany Chaney said the Special Revenue Fund is used only a couple of times a year.
“One reason for this is that there’s not a whole lot of money in it,” she said. “The second reason is the uses are relatively narrow.”
The fund is used to help improve or increase affordable housing and to help residents remain in their homes.
“Ms. Brown and her family are paying extraordinary amounts of money on their utilities, and we wanted it to be more affordable,” Chaney said.
Vaughan said there’s an immense need for increased affordable housing and critical home repairs but, at the same time, there have been huge cuts to state federal funds.
“I appreciate that Carrboro is trying to increase the funds. $30,000 will help, but hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed to really make a difference,” Vaughan said.
Chaney said the Affordable Housing Task Force met Monday to improve the guidelines that outline who can receive funding and to work on increasing the money in the fund. The task force expects to approve the guidelines in the next six weeks, she said.
“We’re hoping that the 2014-2015 budget for the town will approve a greater investment in the fund,” she said.
This is just one way of helping someone who has lived in Carrboro for generations, Vaughan said.
“A lot of residents throughout this area have spent their lives serving this community but, despite their hard work, low wages do not cover the rising housing costs of living in this area,” he said.