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UNC Horizons to provide affordable housing in Chapel Hill


The UNC Horizons Center is pictured on Aug. 26, 2021. The UNC Horizons Program plans to provide affordable housing for mothers affected by substance use disorders.

Recent graduates and participants of UNC Horizons — a substance use disorder treatment programfor parents, those who are pregnant and/or victims of abuse — will now have access to affordable housing in Chapel Hill. 

The Horizons Homestead project, expected to break ground in spring 2022, will provide 32 units of housing to the program's participants, in addition to their children. 

The units will be located in the Homestead Gardens community as part of the 2200 Homestead Road project — a mixed-income community set to provide affordable housing and amenities, including walking trails and a community garden.

The project is being funded primarily by the Town of Chapel Hill — who is providing $5 million. Additionally, Horizons has raised over $3 million and plans to raise $2 million through private donations. 

UNC Horizons has locations in Orange and Wake counties that provide residential treatment for birthing parents and their children while they are receiving treatment. Residents also have access to other resources including a free public bus system, high-quality public schools, health care and job opportunities.

Hendrée Jones, executive director of the program, said that while Horizons has provided these families with treatment and jobs, it has struggled to overcome the barrier of affordable housing. She said having safe and affordable housing for graduates of the program is an important foundation for long-term recovery and participation.

“We will be able to offer completers of the program longer term housing,” Jones said. “That’s the new and innovative part of what we’re doing now because housing is by far the biggest barrier to helping our families stay well and fully in recovery.” 

Jones also said the project will allow Horizons to move one of their residential programs to a permanent home to give families treatment. 

The project is also a collaborative effort between the Town of Chapel Hill, rental housing nonprofit CASA and Self-Help, a Durham-based nonprofit community development financial institution and credit union. 

Self-Help is serving as land developer for the project, putting in roads, sidewalks and foundations before other developers build the housing itself. The lots will then be transferred to building nonprofits, including CASA, who will operate that housing. 

CASA is leasing the building units to Horizons and will work as developer, owner and manager of the Horizons Homestead community. Jess Brandes, senior director of real estate development at CASA, said the nonprofit has talked to Horizons for years about collaborating.

“Our goal is to help Horizons families to have the safety and security of having their own affordable, high-quality apartment in which to thrive,” she said. 

Dan Levine, director of business development and project management at Self-Help, said the nonprofit wanted to get involved in Horizons Homestead due to the need for affordable housing in the area.

Self-Help’s Ventures Fund, a nonprofit that helps with community and real estate development lending, is leading the collaborative. It responded to a town request for developers to develop the land on Homestead Road by putting together a team of other nonprofits who could work with Horizons. 

“This is a really exciting project because there’s a huge need for affordable housing in Orange County and in Chapel Hill in particular,” Levine said. 


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