Local Partnership To Make Impact On Regional Housing Needs

JACKSON COUNTY – A local partnership is poised to make a large impact on regional housing needs by providing new options for Jackson County seniors, low-income families and business professionals.

Webster Village, a partnership between Givens Communities, Western Carolina University and Mountain Projects of Sylva, plans to create approximately 211-237 new housing units in Jackson County near the Webster community.

The collaborative project was able to go forward because of financial contributions from Dogwood Health Trust.

“Our regional housing needs are greater than any one agency can address,” said Patsy Davis, executive director of Mountain Projects. “Dogwood Health Trust has provided an opportunity for us to come together and meet a big challenge. We have a powerful concept and the right partners to make this project a success.”

“Safe, stable and affordable housing is key for overall health and wellbeing,” said Dr. Susan Mims, CEO of Dogwood Health Trust. “Dogwood Health Trust is honored and excited to play a role in this creative work by committed partners who are collaborating to make Jackson County truly feel like ‘home’ for seniors, low-income families and members of the workforce.”

Givens will play a lead role in the component of the partnership focused on seniors.

“Studies of the Jackson County housing market have shown a significant demand for low-cost retirement communities,” said Teresa Stephens, Vice President of Givens Affordable Communities. “Independent older adult can thrive by the Givens model of housing with supported services.”

Webster Village is a highly creative project, set to play a positive role in three very different sectors of housing.

“This is a great example of the cooperative approaches that are taking place across our region to tackle big issues like affordable housing to help seniors age in place and offer a place to live for the workforce serving them and the community,” said Mims.

Stephens agreed. “We believe that by introducing this approach to Jackson County, we will be able to address some of the county’s most pressing housing challenges,” she said.

“Our participation in this project further illustrates Western Carolina University’s commitment to the economic well-being of our region and the lack of available housing that for all income segments in Western North Carolina has become increasingly alarming,” said WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown.

Preliminary site plans are for three housing clusters that will serve a broad range of residents. They are as follows:
● Givens Communities plans to develop 120 senior living apartment units.
● Mountain Projects plans to develop 35 single-family homes for low-to-moderate-income families.
● Western Carolina University, or its designated partner, will develop 50-85 multi-family
apartments, to include 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units, targeting adult working professionals and their families.

WCU leadership is excited about the project and how it will help new professionals interested in locating in the region.

“Together with our partners at Mountain Projects and Givens Communities, the Webster Village project will provide a central location for multi-income housing in Jackson County for senior citizens and valued members of the community’s workforce.” Brown said. “Our goal is to be part of a project that isn’t specific to only WCU faculty and staff, but one that provides opportunities for adult workers and families who are essential to the growth and sustainability of the region that we serve.”

Patsy Davis, executive director of Mountain Projects of Sylva, agreed. “Each partner brings a unique perspective, and together we present a comprehensive approach with multi-income housing,” Davis said. “The demand for housing exists across all income levels and our approach addresses the housing needs of seniors, professionals and families who haven’t had the opportunity for home ownership.”

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