Ashton Woods - Transitional Housing Village
In 1997, Cumberland Interfaith Hospitality Network, The Woman’s Center of Fayetteville, and many private citizens began making a dream become reality. All were interested in developing solutions to the increasing numbers of homeless children, whose families needed more than the time in traditional shelters to secure and maintain permanent housing. Nearly half a million dollars from the private community was raised to purchase the property that is now Ashton Woods. The Woman’s Center of Fayetteville spearheaded the fundraising effort and accepted the property deed.
CIHN supported those funding efforts as well as securing other grants and donations. Meanwhile, CIHN developed programs, coordinated volunteer efforts, managed the property, and worked with the families. Literally hundreds of people came out on weekends preparing the property for rehabilitation (hulling out each home) and erecting a security fence.
Volunteers stepped forward to complete the rehabilitation of the housing. Church youth and adult groups cleaned, cleared, and painted homes preparing them for occupancy. The City of Fayetteville provided funds to Fayetteville Urban Ministries to assist with the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC repairs on eight of the homes. HUD, Cumberland County, and private donors completed the rehab effort. Ashton Woods was established June 1998.
Ashton Woods provides 20, two-bedroom homes in which homeless families may live for up to 24 months. All families participate in the Transitions Program (case management) while at Ashton Woods. In the first two years, five families accomplished the ultimate goal. They saved a significant amount of their income, paid past due debts, and achieved financing to purchase their own homes. These families are now property owners in our community, paying taxes, and well on their way to self-sufficiency.
On Campus Partners:
Many Agency partnerships have occurred at Ashton Woods. The Cumberland County Partnership for Children entered into a collaborative effort to construct a state of the art childcare facility at Ashton Woods. helping these families overcome the challenge of obtaining childcare while working if they do not have transportation. Also the HeadStart program runs the facility and has capacity to serve over 50 children. The Women’s Center offers the property at no cost to the service provider.
CIHN encourages participants to consider continuing education to improve their chances in achieving a living wage. We are very proud of the "Nook" a fully equipped library with over 1,800 selections, internet access, computers, printers, and educational software such as the AZTEC Program and Mavis Beacon. Children in all CIHN programs and their parents have access to the Nook and are encouraged to utilize it in their case plans.
Cumberland County Mental Health provides PATH workers are available to do in home assessments for all CIHN participants. Cumberland County Division of Social Services works directly with our Case Managers incorporating joint goals into the family’s case plan. Cumberland County Schools provides tutors, registration assistance, and in some cases transportation for homeless children in CIHN programs. The cooperation between agencies has resulted in a reduction of duplication of services and better quality of existing services due to the coordinated efforts.
In the fully functional Community Center located at Ashton Woods, we host seminars, workshops, and community meetings. Families having special events such as birthdays are encouraged to use the community center. It contains a full kitchen, small storage space for donations, a large meeting room, tables, chairs, and two office spaces. Chapel services are hosted by Lewis Chapel Church for anyone having a desire to participate. Office space is also available for other agencies providing services to the community.
CIHN is dedicated to increasing the supply of affordable housing in this community. The creation of Ashton Woods Transitional Housing has been a win all around. The property was essentially abandoned for nearly twelve years. It had attracted elements not conducive to a safe community. The units were vandalized and over grown. The transformation of this property into Ashton Woods Transitional Housing units has resulted in crime reduction, better appearance, and most important a safe place for children to call home while their parents work towards a permanent home.
Working collectively with community, CIHN has found that all involved, including the family, experience a greater level of overall benefit. We have a low turn over rate, meaning that the majority of the families in Ashton Woods remain for the time necessary to graduate into permanent housing. Our overall success rate is 87%.
Located on the corner of Bragg Blvd. and Old Shaw Road
In the Ashton Woods Transitional Housing Village
Offices: 111 Stein Street, Fayetteville, NC 28303
Cumberland Interfaith Hospitality Network
PO Box 481
Fayetteville, NC 28302-0481
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© 2004 Cumberland Interfaith Hospitality