PEMBROKE — Tears could be seen welling in the eyes of many in the audience as Ilene Jacobs described what having the chance to be given a home in the new Pembroke Senior Village means to her.
“I love it … I’ve lived in a lot of homes, but never in a nice, brand new home like this,” Jacobs said. “God said that in his time he will give us what we need. Well, it was his time to give me a brand new home.”
Jacobs, 58, spoke during Friday’s dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina’s new $8 million tax credit housing project on Candy Park Road. The low-income housing development of 50 units occupies 12 acres located less than a mile from the Tribal Housing Complex on N.C. 711.
The short ceremony was attended by about 75 people, including tribal, local and state officials, as well as representatives of the development and financial companies involved in the project, which began in 2012. Partners in the project included the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Native American Bank of Colorado; Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta; and National Equity Fund, which purchased the low-income housing tax credits.
Other major partners in the project were Boone-based Shelter Investments Development Corp.; Locklear, Locklear & Jacobs, of Pembroke; and Metcon, Inc., of Pembroke.
“The dedication and commitment to the project is evident here today,” Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks said. “When you look around you see not only beautiful, safe and sanitary housing, but also a local economy that has been stimulated by this new development.
“I have continued to stress how valuable our elders and our youth are to our tribe,” Brooks said. “Today, we are proving our commitment to our elders. They are the pillars of our community … It thrills my heart to be able to offer affordable housing for our elders. Pembroke Senior Village provides our senior residents with a safe environment and a sense of security… (It is) a place they can call home.”
Tammy Maynor, the tribe’s Governmental Affairs director, described the difficult process of developing a low-income housing tax credit development.
“Construction is the easy part of the project,” Maynor said. “The hard part of the project is the process.”
James “Bonk” Maynor, chairman of Pembroke-based Metcon Inc., said that 90 percent of the total cost of the project was spent in Robeson County. The project also started and finished on time, said Maynor.
Maynor said that if one listens to the stories of those who are now residents of Pembroke Senior Village it will “bring tears to one’s eyes.”
“When any of you council members go and visit these residents, make sure to take handkerchiefs along,” he told Tribal Council members present for the ceremony.
State Rep. Charles Graham, a Lumbee tribal member, and state Sen. Jane Smith, a resident of Lumberton, both praised the tribe for its efforts to provide safe and affordable housing for its elders.
“I’m proud to stand before you today and say I’m a Lumbee,” Graham said. “I’m proud to be from this community.”
Patsy Brasington, property manager for the Village, said in a statement that eight of the housing units have been filled and another eight seniors have been approved for housing and will be moving in soon
The development includes 30 one-bedroom units and 20 two-bedroom units. The 12-acre tract also houses a clubhouse with an office, a craft room, a fitness center and an all-purpose room.
A covered picnic shelter, gazebo, grills and an outdoor seating area is available for resident use.
“I think this is the best move I ever made,” said Luther Hunt, 70, who moved into the Village early this month from a home in downtown Pembroke near the railroad.
“It’s quiet and I like that. This morning I slept until 8:30 and that’s something I couldn’t do in my last home,” he said.
Mary Brayboy, 74, also said she loves her new home.
“I couldn’t have gotten a better place to live,” she said.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.