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MHO Acquires 75 Units of Special Needs Housing to Preserve Long-term Access and Affordability

May 23, 2023 | News

With this acquisition, MHO celebrates both Mental Health Awareness Month and Affordable Housing Month.

Mountain Housing Opportunities (MHO) is proud to announce an expansion of its affordable housing portfolio serving residents of western North Carolina. MHO has the unique opportunity to acquire and preserve 75 units of special needs housing scattered among 20 properties in Buncombe County. These properties are home to about 90 residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, severe and persistent mental illness, and other special needs. 

“MHO is proud to be preserving much-needed permanent supportive housing for some of our most vulnerable local residents,” said Rich Olejniczak, Senior Real Estate Developer for MHO. 

In recent years, MHO has acquired affordable housing properties to preserve their long-term affordability and the viability of the physical structures. The owner and sponsor of these special needs properties is W.N.C. Housing. This organization was created with the sole purpose of developing and holding these properties in conjunction with supportive services from the State mental health system.  With the privatization of much of the mental health infrastructure in North Carolina, W.N.C. Housing has seen growing costs and dwindling public funding. They believed the best way to preserve long-term affordability and special needs access to these properties was to transfer them to a capable nonprofit that would maintain, improve, and manage them in service to current and future residents who depend on these critical supportive housing resources. 

W.N.C. Housing is appreciative of the willingness of MHO to assume the ownership of the 75 units of special needs housing developed during the past 30 years,” said Larry Thompson, President of W.N.C. Housing, “MHO has a long history of development and operation of affordable housing. Thus, these special needs housing units will be sustained by a skilled nonprofit operator.” 

All units are currently occupied, and tenants will not have to move. Many residents receive case management provided by RHS Health Services and are connected to services from other local providers. MHO will partner with North Carolina Housing Services and Management Corp. (NCHSM) for property management. NCHSM has a long history of providing property management and services to special needs and homeless permanent housing.  Financial support for this acquisition was provided by the Dogwood Health Trust, whose 2020 Housing Needs Assessment report highlighted the necessity to create and preserve housing for people with special needs in the region. 

“Our neighbors who live with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to housing instability and displacement,” said Scott Dedman, President of MHO. “MHO is proud to partner with W.N.C Housing on this important acquisition that will ensure nearly 100 residents will stay safe and supported in their current homes.”

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