Historic YWCA building in Durham to be converted into affordable housing

DURHAM, NC (WNCN) – The historic Harriet Tubman YWCA building in Durham has been closed for years, but renovations will soon begin as it is converted into affordable housing.

The non-profit group Reinvestment Partners has purchased the property and will convert the historic building into 15 affordable studio apartments.

“Each studio apartment will have a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom,” said Peter Skillern, executive director of Reinvestment Partners. “All units will be of the same design and rent will range from $350 to $650.”

Skillern said the homes will target those who were formerly homeless, those earning $35,000 a year.

“It will help meet the housing needs of people with special needs,” Skillern said.

Skillern said it was important to preserve the historic YWCA building.

“This building is important to Durham’s history in the African American community,” Skillern said.

Constructed by the African American community in 1954, the YWCA building has always been part of Durham’s historic Fayetteville Street Corridor.

The building housed single black women who were in nursing school, but Skillern said there were also important discussions at the YWCA that took place about the civil rights movement.

“In this room, history was made here,” Skillern said in the YWCA common room. “This is where the Royal Ice Cream Parlor sit-in that preceded the Greensboro Woolworth sit-in movement was organized.”

Skillern said converting the historic YWCA into low-income housing is a way to preserve the building and also help meet the need for more affordable housing.

“I think the more we invest in our affordable housing, the healthier and more prosperous we’re going to have our community,” Skillern said.

Skillern said the affordable housing project has been in the works for four years and plans to complete the project by the end of 2023.

He said this is a $5 million project made possible by congressional funding to US Representative David Price from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City of Durham and the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.

https://www.cbs17.com/news/historic-ywca-building-in-durham-to-be-turned-into-affordable-apartments/ Historic YWCA building in Durham to be converted into affordable housing

Dais Johnston

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