Mountain Housing Opportunities (MHO) received a $1 million grant from Dogwood Health Trust to help build sixty-eight affordable homes in the Leicester community of Buncombe County. The new subdivision, called Pentland Hills, will feature two- to three-bedroom single-family homes and duplexes. The grant will help kick-start the multi-year development, helping MHO with short-term financing and needed infrastructure improvements for the site. The first homes are expected to be available in late 2024 to 2025. Once complete, the new community could be home to nearly 300 residents.
“Pentland Hills has direct access to a major thoroughfare, Leicester Highway, and is a short distance beyond the Asheville city limits,” said Scott Dedman, MHO’s Executive Director. “Residents will be close to shopping, schools, healthcare, and jobs. Shorter commutes will produce less overall economic stress on residents and less environmental impact. We will use local subcontractors and suppliers for all phases of development and construction, positively impacting our local economy.”
Our region is experiencing a significant affordable housing crisis. “Rising home prices can keep working individuals and families from homeownership opportunities and increase economic disparities. By providing homeownership opportunities to people earning 80% of the area’s median income (AMI) or less, MHO addresses the wealth gap that exists not just in the Asheville area but throughout our economy,” said Joe Quinlan, MHO’s Homeownership Manager. “Sixty-eight new homeownership units will be built at Pentland Hills, with at least two-thirds of the homes reserved for income-limited home buyers.”
“Safe and stable housing is a key component of overall health outcomes for individuals and families,” said Dr. Susan Mims, CEO of Dogwood Health Trust. “As a foundation focused on improving health and wellbeing, we are pleased to support MHO’s work to provide this affordable housing option to more of our WNC neighbors.”
MHO offers programs that help local people achieve their dream of owning a home. To participate, families or individuals must have lived in Western North Carolina for at least one year and meet income and other eligibility guidelines. Our Downpayment Assistance Program offers flexible loan funds that can fill gaps between a homebuyer’s first mortgage and the total cost of purchasing a home. These funds can be applied towards a down payment to cover closing costs or to increase overall purchasing power. MHO’s Self-Help Homeownership Program brings small cohorts of qualifying homebuyers together to work cooperatively to build their homes under the guidance of an MHO construction supervisor. Neighbors work alongside one another to build a community from the ground up. These homes are financed with low-interest USDA mortgages, which, along with the homeowners’ “sweat equity” construction hours, reduce the purchase cost of the homes. The program is labor-intensive but immensely rewarding, producing six to twelve new affordable homes yearly.
“Many people earning less than 80% of AMI simply cannot qualify for enough of a first mortgage to purchase even an entry-level home in this market, despite having one or more adults in the household working full-time jobs,” said Quinlan. “Part of MHO’s task is helping these families bridge that gap.”