‘A joyful feeling’: Concord nonprofit makes it possible for some to afford homes

CONCORD, N.C. — A group in Concord is making it easier for some people to afford homes. Concord’s Logan community will make this dream come true for a few Concord residents, including Desmond Miller.

Miller didn’t think affording a home would ever be possible for him, but he’s now the proud owner of a new home.

“You think a lot of things in your head -- like when you get in the house, I’m going to do A, B, C and talking to someone about it,” Miller said. “It’s a sense of pride.”

Miller is a supervisor for the city of Concord’s solid waste department.

One day, he spotted a lot being cleared for construction. He reached out to the city and learned it was a future affordable housing site. He applied, and was chosen.

“It’s a joyful feeling,” he said. “It really is.”

While the city successfully placed Miller, there are thousands more like him searching for a home.

A 2019 survey found that the city must build 3,000 affordable housing units in 10 yeas to meet the need.

City Councilman J.C. McKenzie knew that goal would be impossible to meet.

“You can get emotional about this,” he said.

>>CLICK FOR WSOC’S COMPLETE COVERAGE ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN OUR COMMUNITY

With city funds alone, Concord is building at a pace of just 1-2 homes per year, McKenzie said. The city needed more money, and that was how a separate nonprofit was born.

As a 501(c)3, the Concord Family Enrichment Association (CFEA) can apply for money that the city can’t.

To start, a penny of property tax is going into a revolving fund that the CFEA can then use to apply for different types of money, like tax service projects or bank grants. The nonprofit is not just focusing on new construction, Miller said.

“Our abandoned homes, severely distressed homes, we acquire them and improve the legacy neighborhoods and hold them affordable, hopefully forever,” Miller said.

CFEA has already acquired around 12-15 units. They’re now searching for an executive director. City Council recently approved $300,000, part of which will go toward that position.