Wilmington woman buys fixer-upper to create affordable housing unit

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401 Henry Street completely renovated by Wilmington Resident Kathy King (photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Affordable housing is a growing problem around the country, Wilmington included.

There is one woman; however, who is helping close the gap one project at a time.

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“I’m just really happy to have accomplished this,” Wilmington Resident Kathy King said.

King purchased a home that was in disrepair in 2014.

401 Henry St. before Kathy King rebuilt the home (photo: City of Wilmington)

“Wall to wall, floor to rafters to gut it. With that, it came to mind, well what else can I do with this besides turn it back into a single family home?” She said.

King got permission to turn the home into a duplex and applied for the Rental Rehabilitation Incentive Loan from the City of Wilmington to help revitalize 401 Henry Street.

The housing rehabilitation program offers a $125,000 maximum loan at zero percent interest to help make repairs or improvements on existing homes and remove health hazards from low-to-moderate income homeowners within city limits.

401 Henry Street after repairs and reconstruction by Kathy King (photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

“Each unit is one bedroom with a kitchen and living area and a good size bathroom,” King said.

Just over 300 square foot each, King says they are perfectly designed for one person.

The units come fully furnished and rent will be income-based.

As a veteran, King says she would love to house other veterans in need in these units. In fact, a veteran will be moving into one of the units on November 2.

The available unit is wheelchair accessible with a large ramp built in.

King says she served in the military and now she’s here to serve the community.

“[I’m happy to] be able to support the need to close the gap with the need for affordable housing here in Wilmington. It really makes me feel good that it is a service I’m able to provide to others,” King said.

Community Development and Housing Planner for the City of Wilmington Suzanne Rogers says more than a third of Wilmington residents live cost burdened, meaning they pay more than what’s affordable for housing.

“And that’s something that our city council recognizes and has made a priority to find ways to support efforts like this and other ways to address our affordable housing problems,” Rogers said.

She says they are working to create more resources to match the need.

“It’s always good to see a project come to fruition,” Rogers said. “It’s such a tangible thing and you know it’s going to make a huge difference in someone’s life to have a clean, decent, safe place to live.”

For more information on the city’s housing rehabilitation program, click here.

Rental inquiries for 401 Henry Street can reach Kathy King through the Public Housing Association, Good Shepherd Center or calling her directly at (256) 508-2302.