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01 May, 2023

Cabarrus County Employee’s Dream to Own a Home Begins at Dedication Ceremony on Friday, April 28

01 May, 2023

“Pamela Battle’s struggle for a home demonstrates everything wrong and right with affordable housing.”

Concord, NC – A Cabarrus County employee with Adult Services, Pamela Battle, will become the proud owner of WeBuild Concord’s first single-family home for households earning between 30-80 percent of the area median income. Pamela is a thirty-six-year-old mother of 3 (two boys, 15 and 13, and a daughter, age 6) and a six-year employee in local government. Two years ago, she was forced to move from the area to Greensboro, NC, with her children due to the lack of affordable options in Concord and Cabarrus County. Pamela makes a two-hour roundtrip commute each day to provide for her family. On Friday, April 28, at 10 am, her commute ended, as we honored the family with a dedication ceremony at their new home at 82 Fenix Drive SW, Concord, NC.

A Family’s New Opportunity
“I need my children to see me achieve this goal,” says Pamela. “I want my older boys to witness this because there are so many barriers they face, and I desire them to be examples to their younger sister.” Her journey is too familiar for public servants and employees who juggle government salaries, market affordability, and providing opportunities for their children. “Owning a home near my job will change my family’s life in many ways,” suggests Pamela. “I will save money on gas and vehicle maintenance. I can participate in more of their (children’s) afterschool activities and afford to provide other opportunities for them to learn and grow.” Just as important, affordable ownership is less expensive than increasing rents in the area. Creating opportunities for workers and others in need of affordable housing is admirable and complex at the same time.

It Takes A Village to Make Housing Affordable
“Pamela Battle’s struggle for a home demonstrates everything wrong and right with affordable housing,” says Dr. Patrick Graham, CEO of Webuild Concord. “Several private, public, and nonprofit partners provided wrap-around support for the family’s homeownership journey.” WeBuild Concord worked with a local builder, PresPro, to develop a unique home that gained a lot of market attention and provided an equity grant to Ms. Battle. Cabarrus County (her employer) provided construction dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act. The City of Concord gave a down payment and technical assistance. Prosperity Unlimited provided homeownership counseling and convened all down payment providers. Shepard Law and Keller Williams Realty gave market and legal expertise to move the project forward. “It takes a village to make affordable housing possible.”

However, Ms. Battle’s challenges point to a more significant issue. While the combined efforts of partners are admirable, the obstacles to affordable housing are immense. Concord and Cabarrus County are the fastest-growing areas in North Carolina and among the fastest-growing in our nation. Like Ms. Battle, many local employers report that fifty percent or more of their employees live outside the area. The need for affordable and workforce housing stock and other expenses such as childcare costs are at an all-time high. Graham suggests, “It will take restructuring education, workforce development, housing plans, policies, employer engagement, philanthropic focus, and combining housing with economic development to unravel an issue that impacts us all.”

A Small Step Closer
The Battle family brings our community a small step closer. “This (homeownership and relocation) will improve things for my family and job,” says Pamela. Graham adds, “This is a point we all must understand. By helping Pamela, we help ourselves.” The last comments are essential to the WeBuild Concord mission.

Patrick Graham, PhD
Chief Executive Officer