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.