Happy Hill neighborhood housing development to encourage homeownership

During the 1950s, the City of Winston-Salem’s first public housing development was created in Happy Hill.

WStoday: Happy Hill neighborhood

African-American school built near Salem in 1867 on Happy Hill plantation site (photo to the left)

Photo by Courtesy of Old Salem Museums and Gardens via City of Winston-Salem, Happy Hill Neighborhood Association

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Efforts are underway to transform the oldest Black neighborhood in Winston-Salem. Happy Hill, located on Alder Street in the East Ward will become home to 13 new single-family residential properties to encourage homeownership for low-and moderate-income citizens.


Throughout its early history, the neighborhood was known as both Happy Hill and Liberia. The African American community started a school in 1867 on the former plantation site before the neighborhood was formally established a few years later. Nearly a century later, homes were demolished, leaving many vacant lots. The neighborhood earned a historic marker from the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission in 2009.

Vision for the future

The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (HAWS) will donate 13 lots to Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County — an organization designed to assist families who do not qualify for traditional mortgages. The projected total development cost is approximately $2.6 million. About $2.16 million in grants from the American Rescue Plan Act will go towards building the homes. Each home will have three bedrooms, two baths, and a garage.

Here is a profile of prospective residents:

  • Residents earning 40%-80% of the area median income
  • Families that have already gone through Habitat’s home-ownership program

To keep houses affordable, the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency will provide down payment assistance for residents. The construction project is expected to be complete by December 2026.