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WHO WE ARE

Building hope and dignity in the people we serve.

In 1988, a small group of volunteers came together on a warm, sunny Saturday to help fix the roof of a low-income elderly woman living in Leicester, NC. The volunteers brought tools and put their skills to work to save their neighbor’s home. Soon after, inspired to help local people live longer and better in their homes, those volunteers founded Mountain Housing Opportunities.

MHO exists because caring people saw injustice in our community—declining housing options and a lack of decent, affordable housing for low-income people—and decided to do something about it.

Today, MHO is the regional nonprofit leader in developing and preserving safe, stable, affordable housing in Buncombe County and beyond. We serve more than 2,000 households annually in Western North Carolina with apartment rentals, essential home repair, down payment assistance, and new home construction.

FINANCED AND DEVELOPED

safety-related home repairs

HELPED

families and individuals achieve homeownership

PROVIDED

with safety-related home repairs

Our Mission

Mountain Housing Opportunities is a private, non-profit community development corporation whose mission is to build and improve homes, neighborhoods, communities, and lives, and build hope and dignity in the people we serve.

Our Vision

We believe if you work in this community, you should be able to live in a safe, attractive, affordable home in a good neighborhood. And when you retire or if you become disabled, this should still be true.

Our Values

01

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are the foundation of our core values. MHO’s commitment to this foundation is unwavering across all of our services. We know that incorporating various perspectives helps generate better ideas for solving the complex housing problems in an ever-changing world. 

02

Empowerment

MHO serves those who have been historically and systematically affected by discriminatory policies and practices. We create dignity, foster independence in families and individuals, and boost pride in neighborhoods and communities by providing equitable and high-quality services.

03

Innovation

MHO seeks creative solutions to complex challenges in all our endeavors. We are committed to creating lasting benefits and value using safety, efficiency, environmental stewardship, and design. As a learning organization, we strive to continuously improve our processes and products.

04

Accountability

MHO believes that fiscal and social responsibility provide long-term stability and service. Transparency and fairness build the trust and confidence of our clients, staff, volunteers, and partners.

05

Partnership

MHO believes in inclusive partnerships. The community is best served when all voices are heard to inform our decisions.

06

Celebration

To honor the pride and spirit of people working to build this community, MHO celebrates their progress and accomplishments.

MHO THROUGH THE YEARS

1988

Mountain Housing Opportunities Founded

MHO was organized by a group of volunteers concerned with the declining housing stock and lack of affordable and decent housing units for low-income people. They first connected at a conference called Nonprofit Housing Development for Low-Income People. During the event, keynote speaker Dave Lollis of the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises advised participants to take direct action, saying “go out and build a handrail on Aunt Mary’s front porch”.

These volunteers took that statement to heart. That summer, they brought ladders, tools, and materials to repair the roof of an elderly homeowner in Leicester, NC. In July of 1988, the group of volunteers incorporated as Mountain Housing Opportunities and launched its founding program, Essential Home Repair. 

In 1989, Cindy Visnich Weeks was hired as MHO’s first Executive Director. In 1993, Scott Dedman, after serving as chair of MHO’s Board of Directors, joined as MHO’s President & CEO.

1993

MHO Expands into Affordable Housing Development

MHO registers as a Community Housing Development Organization, or CHDO, and starts to create and preserve housing for low-income residents of the Asheville region.

1998

MHO helps launch WECAN

The West End/Clingman Avenue Neighborhood (WECAN) association was incorporated to help revitalize this historic neighborhood on the edge of downtown Asheville. MHO has helped guide traffic planning, beautification, and housing development in partnership with WECAN since it’s inception. MHO has created and revitalized over 50 homes in the WECAN neighborhood.

1998

River Glen, First LIHTC Development, Complete

River Glen, a 38-unit affordable apartment community, opened in Arden, NC. This is MHO’s first community developed with a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) award.

2002

Merritt Park, first affordable condo development, opens

Merritt Park is a 16-unit condominium complex located in the WECAN Neighborhood, which is also home to MHO’s offices.

2006

MHO Launches Self-Help Homeownership Program

In order to expand paths to homeownership, MHO partners with the USDA to launch our Self-Help Homeownership program. The first five Self-Help homes are completed in Overlook Circle, a community in Leicester, NC.

2007

MHO launches Down Payment Assistance Program

Neighborhood Housing Services of Asheville donated their Home Loan Portfolio to MHO in 2007, launching MHO’s Downpayment Assistance Program. The MHO Loan Fund offers a new down payment assistance program to help new homeowners fill the cash gap between the amount of their first mortgage and the total cost of purchasing a home. MHO’s Loan Fund was incorporated in 2009 and certified as a Community Financial Development Institution (CDFI) in 2010.

 

2008

MHO Receives Membership Charter from NeighborWorks America

MHO received its membership charter from NeighborWorks America in 2008, one of only four NeighborWorks organizations in North Carolina. NeighborWorks America creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities.

2011

Glen Rock Apartments receives LEED Gold Certification

Completed in 2010, Glen Rock is a mixed-use building with 60 apartments and over 9,000 square feet of commercial space located in Asheville’s River Arts District. LEED certification provides a framework for healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving green buildings.

2015

Mars Hill Commons opens in Madison County

Mars Hill Commons is a 48-unit affordable apartment community serving residents of Mars Hill. This is MHO’s first affordable multi-family development completed outside of Buncombe County.

2016

Eagle Market Place opens in downtown Asheville

In partnership with Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation, MHO opens Eagle Market Place Apartments, a 62-unit mixed-use historic rehabilitation, anchored in “The Block”, home to Asheville’s traditional African-American business district. With the completion of Eagle Market Place, MHO reached a milestone of 1,000+ affordable apartments developed and financed since incorporating as a CHDO in 1993.

2018

Scott Dedman & Cindy Weeks Awarded Order of the Long Leaf Pine

Scott Dedman and Cindy Weeks received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award in 2018 from Governor Roy Cooper. One of the state’s highest civilian honors, the award is reserved for those who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments.

2021

Maple Crest at Lee Walker Heights Complete

MHO completed construction on Maple Crest Apartments, formerly Lee Walker Heights, Asheville’s oldest public housing complex. In partnership with the Asheville Housing Authority, MHO expanded the total number of apartments from 96 to 212, more than doubling the number of affordable homes for individuals and families in this community. Maple Crest also marked a green building milestone for MHO, with over 580 solar panels installed.

2022

MHO expands Essential Home Repair program

MHO’s Essential Home Repair program expanded in 2022 to serve more low-income residents in Buncombe and three additional rural counties: McDowell, Rutherford, and Yancy. This expansion is thanks to an innovative new partnership with the Healthy Opportunities Pilot, a program of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

2023

Geoffrey Barton Named President & CEO

Mountain Housing Opportunities is pleased to announce Geoffrey Barton as the affordable housing non-profit’s new President and CEO. Geoffrey replaces Scott Dedman, who retired in 2023 after 30 years in the role.

The now and the next….

We’ve got big plans for the next 35 years of MHO. Take a sneak peek at our strategic plan to see how we’ll keep increasing our impact in Western North Carolina.

BUILDING AN IMPACT

People

MHO helps the community find the homes they deserve. Learn more about the impact we’re making on the community.

PLACES

MHO builds developments and homes that make an immediate difference. Learn more about their impacts on the community.

Planet

MHO uses green practices to build more efficient, well-located homes. Learn more about our commitment to protecting the environment while building and improving homes.

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