The incentive program offers lower rent rates at two Eller Capital properties, The Apartments at Midtown 501 and the 86 North Apartments. For eligible employees, the rental savings range from $2,000 to $3,050 on a 12-month lease and application fees are waived.
Under the incentive program, rent at a two-bedroom apartment at Midtown 501 starts at $1,067 a month, reduced from $1,300. A two-bedroom at the 86 North Apartments starts at $895, reduced from $1,095.
Delores Bailey, executive director at EmPOWERment, Inc., which helps low-income residents find housing, said the apartment incentive program is a step in the right direction to affordable housing in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
“They need to be applauded for trying this,” she said. “They’re targeting town employees, firefighters and teachers — that’s perfect. Those are the people who can’t afford to live in Chapel Hill.”
Residents eligible for the program include employees of the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, state of North Carolina, Orange County, the University, UNC Hospitals and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
Daniel Eller, CEO of Eller Capital, said the housing middle market has been underserved for several decades, which he hopes the apartment incentive program will help change.
“The quality standards from a marketing standpoint haven’t kept up with the demands of the people that live here,” he said.
CHCCS spokesman Jeff Nash said it’s difficult for school employees to find affordable housing in the district. Approximately 45 percent of CHCCS employees reside in Chapel Hill or Carrboro.
The average salary for a CHCCS teacher with a bachelor’s degree ranges from $33,000 to $50,000, according to the salary schedules for North Carolina public schools for the 2014–2015 school year. A Chapel Hill firefighter makes an average of $44,941 annually.
Bailey said she would change the fact that Eller Capital’s incentive program does not accept housing choice vouchers, a federally-funded program that helps low-income residents pay for housing. She said 70 percent of the tenants at EmPOWERment, Inc. use housing choice vouchers to help pay their rent.
Eller said the program has been successful so far and there has been a large response to it. He said he plans to continue the program indefinitely.
“We wanted to create this program that really helped the people that served the community,” he said.