History: Nehemiah began working with Palmetto Pathways to develop 18 apartments, 10 of which were to target persons with mental illness who were homeless. After Nehemiah secured the land and the funding for the development, Palmetto Pathways was forced to downsize. Nehemiah gained the agreement of Volunteers of America (VOA) of the Carolinas to become the new owner and co-developer of the property.
Challenge: The neighborhood was in the midst of pursuing major rezoning of the area to single family. VOA of the Carolinas had to convince the City of North Charleston and the neighborhood residents that their plan was compatible with their single family initiative. Nehemiah and VOA were also required to work closely with the North Charleston Housing Authority to obtain Section 8 Voucher support for the tenants.
Solution: It took over a year of neighborhood meetings and discussions with the leadership and staff of both the City of North Charleston and the Housing Authority to explain to them the concept behind the housing development which is named Oaks at Sumner. Christopher Rose Architects, the architectural firm selected for the project design, did an excellent job of negotiating with the City building inspection staff and the utilities staff to meet all their requirements. The North Charleston Housing Authority became a critical partner in the effort and came up with the needed Section 8 voucher support. Three separate grant sources were required to make the development work. VOA of the Carolinas and Nehemiah were awarded the 2005 Housing Achievement Award by the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority for Oaks at Sumner.