Six in Six Week 3: CASA
We were making our way through a modest one bedroom apartment in West Raleigh. We were hoping to purchase it and needed to walk all the units to see what repairs would be required. I was in acquisition mode – flipping switches, turning faucets, evaluating appliances –and then we went into Robert’s apartment.
He met us at the door and invited us in. He began to immediately apologize for the “mess”. He had shelves upon shelves of comic books and a couple of other collections. I noted on his wall that he had served in the Navy. His speech was halting and he often stopped to search for words. But gradually his story began to emerge.
Earlier in the year, he had been in a traffic accident. While on his way to work, he was hit head on. He went through the windshield. He was happy to be alive – and his speech was peppered with “Thank God.” Since the accident he had to re-learn daily living skills and had been unable to work. His mother helped out however she could but her own funds were limited. He gestured to the “mess” again and explained that it was all he had left from his father’s collections. He sold just enough each month to pay his rent and get by. He was worried about what he would do when the collection ran out. I explained that once we bought his building – we would adjust the rent so he would not have to pay as much. His eyes filled with tears of relief. I told him we would be in touch and made our way out of his apartment.
As I left his apartment, I was struck with how quickly a life can be changed. Here was a young man – on his way to work and by the end of the day it was unclear if he would survive. He did survive but his life and his dreams looked totally different. But I knew that when we bought his building using funds from the City of Raleigh and Wake County, we could ease at least one worry in his life. Less than a year after our first meeting we purchased the property and adjusted his rent to $275, almost $200 less than what he was paying.
I work with CASA, a nonprofit affordable housing developer working in the Triangle to ensure that people of low wealth, especially those with disabilities have a safe home. We are a member of the NC Housing Coalition – an advocacy group that continually shines the light on the housing needs of all North Carolina citizens.
Stories like Robert’s highlight the need for an agency like the NC Housing Coalition. The NC Housing Coalition makes the case for housing day after day. As we approach year’s end and a season of gift giving, please consider making a gift that will have a lasting impression. Won’t you give a little so that the NC Housing Coalition can continue its work – ensuring that all North Carolinians have a place to call home.