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'A model that really works': Covenant Place celebrates 25 years of housing senior residents

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Barabra A Ivey stood behind her mother, Barabra E Ivey at The Covenant Place on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. Lifelong Chapel Hill residents, the Ivey's live together at the senior apartment facility.

Barbara E. Ivey moved into Covenant Place, an affordable senior housing community in Chapel Hill, just a few months after it opened in 1998.

This year, Covenant Place celebrated 25 years of housing residents ages 62 years and older. Her daughter, Barbara Ann Ivey, became one of those residents last month.

“I was not afraid to stay by myself, but it's just good to always have somebody you can call on if you need them,” Barbara E. Ivey, 88, said. “It makes a difference.”

Before moving into Covenant Place, Barbara E. Ivey said she was looking for an affordable place to live because her salary was low.

Barbara Ann Ivey said that, before moving into the community, she had been in multiple uncomfortable living situations. Now 63 years old, she applied for housing at Covenant Place and moved in shortly after — she said she was welcomed with open arms.

“Everybody came out of their doors to see who's moving in,” Barbara Ann Ivey said. “And they greeted me and told me their names, if I need anything, ‘Don’t hesitate.’ They were glad I was on the hall.”

Her mother said that Covenant Place feels involved and family-oriented.

Though Covenant Place is an independent living community, it provides many support services and workshops that allow residents to improve their quality of life, Wendy Covington, the service coordinator for the community, said.

Parris Solomon is the onsite manager for Covenant Place and said Chapel Hill is accommodating to senior residents. She said the EZ Rider service, a shared ride transit service, is a good example of that accommodation. 

Solomon said one of the reasons that applicants from across the country choose to come to Covenant Place is because of the resources available for them in Chapel Hill.

Phyllis Moyer, a current Covenant Place resident, moved to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area from Washington, D.C., with her family in 1998.

Moyer said she wanted a living situation that was affordable and that met her needs.

“I wanted a simple life where I have the things I need, and it's pleasant, and it's located right,” Moyer said. “That's what made me decide this was a good place.”

Covenant Place was originally formed through a partnership with United Church of Chapel Hill, Covenant United Church of Christ in Carrboro, and EveryAge, an organization committed to senior living based in Newton, N.C.

Covenant Place is one of seven housing communities across North Carolina operated by EveryAge, which provides affordable housing and support services to over 250 residents statewide.

Covenant Place is a HUD 202 community, meaning that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development helps to fund construction, rehabilitation and rent subsidies to make the communities affordable.

Mayor Pro Tem for the Town of Carrboro Susan Romaine said Covenant Place was developed at a time when the area was lacking affordable housing for older adults — which, she said, has only worsened over time.

“It is a model that really works and we're grateful to have this important community resource right here in Chapel Hill-Carrboro,” she said.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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