The Carrboro Board of Aldermen gave CASA a $357,208 grant on March 21 to help pay for a portion of the land to start the project, which will be on South Merritt Mill Road.
Chief Executive Officer Debra King said this is the largest construction project CASA has embarked on since it started.
“The individuals this new housing operation serves are low-wealth individuals who are homeless for a variety of reasons, whether it be disability or veterans,” King said. “As a result of that, their lives were impacted and their ability to come back and have typical civilian life is impacted.”
King said the idea for the project came from homeless residents that CASA helped in the past.
“Our staff knew that they couldn’t help them behaviorally if their basic needs weren’t being met and they were on the street,” King said.
She said there are currently more than 1,400 people on the waiting list for these affordable apartments.
“Communities are at their very best when comprised of a variety of people with a variety of incomes and backgrounds,” King said. “CASA will give them a chance to be their best selves.”
The funding for this new project comes from a variety of sources. CASA staff members donated 30 percent of their own wages toward this project. Within the past three years, King said CASA has also encouraged the community to donate.
“We are only able to do what we need to do in Carrboro and Chapel Hill if the community helps us out by responding, donating and giving. It is a really important thing for the mission and growth we plan to have,” she said.
Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney said she was excited about the project.
“It represents a big investment on the side of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, a lot bigger than we have done in the past,” she said.
“It enables us to make an investment in the way that we as council members promised in our strategy for affordable housing in Carrboro.”
Chapel Hill Town Council members expressed both excitement and reservations about the project.
“I am thrilled that we are going to have what sounds like a significant workforce project coming up in Chapel Hill,” Town Council member Nancy Oates said.
Town Council member Maria Palmer said Carrboro needs to be flexible with accommodating these new apartment buildings in case of possible rezoning in Chapel Hill.
“Land is at a premium in Chapel Hill and if we want to preserve the town’s rural areas and parks, we have to be careful,” she said.