WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Budget Inn on Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem no longer resembles a motel.
Demolition is almost finished to make room for 72 affordable housing units.
The Shalom Project gained ownership of the property in May and believes providing affordable housing is one step toward putting a dent in the crisis.
“We have approximately 16,000 units short of affordable housing in this community alone,” Executive Director Eileen Ayuso said.
“That doesn’t mean that there are 16,000 people that are homeless, it means that a good portion of those people are paying more than 70 percent of their income for housing,” she said.
That often causes people to have to rely on other resources such as clothing closets, food pantries and medical clinics – resources the Shalom Project does provide.
However, the group believes those programs only address part of the issue.
“We believe that if we can help female head of households step up out of poverty, we’ll affect generational poverty,” Ayuso said.
The Shalom Project recently launched a program called Flourish.
It’s working with seven women/families who are unemployed or underemployed to build life skills.
The group meets weekly and there’s an emphasis on self-care and mindfulness.
“It’s more focused on the wellness of the individual than on just what can we do to increase your bank account or find a job, job placement,” said Crystal Little, program director for Flourish.
April Brown, a mother of three, understands the challenges that can come with being unemployed or underemployed.
“It was very difficult being in the experience of not having help at one point and time,” Brown said.
Brown says the organization’s support system has been a tremendous help to her and her family.
“This is the only place that what their mission is it speaks results. It speaks life,” she said.
Flourish launched in August and requires a two-year commitment.
Once the women graduate, they will come back to work alongside the incoming group.
As for the Budget Inn, the Shalom Project owns the property, but will not manage the housing units.
Housing costs will be based on approximately 30 percent of a tenant’s income.