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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.