Passage Home could extend affordable housing to Wendell

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJanuary 3, 2014 

— The Raleigh-based nonprofit, Passage Home, annouced last week it has received over $800,000 to extend its services to eastern Wake County, which in time, could include affordable housing in Wendell.

But there’s one snag in their plan: Wendell hasn’t heard a whisper of their plans.

Passage Home’s CEO Jeanne Tedrow said the organization is working with the Eastern Regional Center and for right now, Wendell is a central location to place services, but there are no immediate plan to construct community centers or affordable housing.

“We are in conversation with people in eastern Wake, including the Eastern Wake Human Services Center to look how we can ... have a range of services for people who are reciving public assistance to create a transition plan or to at least help them transition to a better job or better housing,” Tedrow said.

“We will explore the opportunities that might make themselves available (and) looking at sites to see what will fit,” she said. “We certainly are interested in expanding affordable housing in that area.”

Right now, however, Passage Home still has to develop a plan for eastern Wake County which could take almost a year.

Tedrow said Wendell was identified as being a town with transitional or affordable housing already built, so it seemed like a good place to offer more services or even expand the amount of affordable housing for residents of eastern Wake County.

The entirety of Passage Home’s grant will not go toward the services in east Wake; some of the money will be used to support current efforts the organization manages in Raleigh.

Not looking for more subsidized housing

Wendell’s town manager Teresa Piner said she doesn’t know that anyone in Town Hall is aware of the organization’s plans, as precarious as they may be.

Passage Home focuses on programs that “help people living in poverty become more stable and help transition them into a higher level in income,” Tedrow said.

Currently, the nonprofit has transitional housing units and a community center in the South Park neighborhood and more transitional housing in South and Northwest Raleigh.

And although there are no concrete plans to build affordable housing, history suggests if it is proposed in the town, it may face some criticism.

In March, Wendell’s town council discussed allowing subsidized housing. At that meeting, Piner pointed out 12 percent of Wendell’s residental housing is subsidized. It’s the highest percentage in Wake County.

Commissioner Christie Adams, who has since left the board, and Commissioner Ginna Gray both spoke out against adding more subsidizzed housing to Wendell. Adams said it put a dent in the town’s revenue and made the town unappealing to developers and businesses.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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