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Nonprofit Works To Rid Greensboro Of Substandard Housing

gurney buchanan volunteer
Naomi Prioleau
Volunteer Gurney Buchanan puts hinges on a door to hang it from an existing opening in Walter McClurkin's home in Greensboro. He's volunteering with Community Housing Solutions, a nonprofit that repairs homes for people who are elderly or disabled.

On a dreary Saturday morning, volunteers swarm the inside and outside of a house on Atlanta Street in Greensboro.

The volunteers from Westover Church are painting wood, fixing the roof, replacing doors and laying down new tarps in the crawl space.

Walter McClurkin
Credit Naomi Prioleau / WUNC
Walter McClurkin, 68, stands outside his home in Greensboro. Community Housing Solutions, a nonprofit organization, repaired the concrete stairs, doors, crawl space and more as part of their 1,000th home repair.

Homeowner Walter McClurkin lurks around outside as these repairs are being made to the house he’s lived in since 1995.

The retired truck driver and Army veteran reached out to the nonprofit organization Community Housing Solutions to repair his home.

“They went through my house with a fine tooth comb,” he said. “They found a whole lot of stuff done and I didn’t have the money to get it fixed. They told me I qualified for their program and so they came in looked it over and started working on it.”

Community Housing Solutions began as a partnership between other housing groups in Greensboro in 2002. The goal was to find a way to tackle the lack of affordable housing it the city. They do that by repairing homes to make them safer, primarily for people who are elderly or disabled. Since it’s been a stand-alone nonprofit for the past 10 years, they’ve repaired 1,000 homes.

Executive Director and CEO Gene Brown said these repairs are important, especially after last year’s tornado in Greensboro exposed the lack of affordable rental housing.

billy cooper
Credit Naomi Prioleau / WUNC
Bill Cooper, a volunteer with Westover Church in Greensboro, works on repairing part of the roof for homeowner Walter McClurkin. McClurkin's home was the 1000th home repair for nonprofit Community Housing Solutions. Their goal is to rid the area of substandard housing.

“I think there's really two pieces, one is the supply and the other is the affordability issue and that's going to be difficult to solve but I think it's one with the city's efforts and others in the community should help that issue,” he said.

McClurkin lives on a fixed income. He said these repairs have lifted a weight off his shoulders.

“I can lay down at night knowing that there’s a lot getting done that I don’t have to worry about no more,” he said.

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