Since AMY Wellness Foundation’s (AMYWF) inception, safe, affordable, and adequate housing has remained a top priority. One of the first grants AMYWF supported was to develop a housing coalition in the AMY region to identify and create a housing report that outlined the current state of housing and potential solutions. The report found that more than 80% of the homes in Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties are over 40 years old. As these homes age and repairs are needed, many low-income families do not have the means to make repairs on their own. In time, small repair needs become significant and expensive concerns, which commonly jeopardize the resident’s safety and ability to remain in their household.
In addition, elderly and disabled persons represent 86% of the average population in need and their income falls between 75% – 100% of the national poverty guideline. An overwhelming percentage of elders are not physically or financially capable of making critical repairs on their own and many do not have the support system to help them. Being forced to vacate their households is a tragic reality many face.
With support from Dogwood Health Trust, AMY Wellness Foundation will now partner with local agencies to address critical home repair needs, putting into action the housing coalition findings. “We are so grateful to have the support of Dogwood Health Trust to help AMYWF improve the state of housing in our region,” said Luke Howe, Executive Director, AMYWF. “Through home repairs we can support residents who wish to remain in their homes, while preserving the current housing stock before they become uninhabitable and without disrupting the current environmental landscape,” he continued.
“As a health foundation, we know that many of the factors that influence health outcomes happen well before someone seeks medical care. That includes having a safe and stable place to live,” said Dr. Susan Mims, Dogwood Health Trust interim CEO. “That’s why housing is a strategic priority area for Dogwood, along with education, economic opportunity, and health & wellness.”
The housing coalition report also identified that 5,331 homes in Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties are considered inadequate. AMYWF will partner with local organizations who have expert experience in critical home repairs and work together to help families and individuals restore their homes to give them new life. When this initiative is complete our goal is to be able to answer yes to these questions: Are people dry, safe, and warm? Are young people living in an environment that is secure and decent? Are seniors able to age in place safely? An adequate environment is supportive of positive physical and mental health outcomes. AMYWF believes having a suitable place to live is more important now than ever and through this partnership we hope to accomplish that for our communities in need.