WAMY announces Community Housing Coalition


First meeting scheduled for Feb. 20

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SPRUCE PINE – It is the mission of WAMY Community Action to partner with communities and families to provide the disadvantaged the tools and support they need to become self-sufficient. One of the ways individuals can become self-sufficient is by having a safe, warm and healthy place to live. 

To tackle this critical issue, WAMY Community Action, with grant support from the AMY Wellness Foundation, is establishing a Community Housing Coalition in Mitchell County. The Coalition aims to bring together agencies, churches, civic and volunteer organizations to combine ideas and resources to improve the quality of housing for low-income populations and bridge the gaps in social service needs.

The Coalition will work to streamline and coordinate the delivery of services to make households safer and more efficient while improving or maintaining the health of the family. “We believe that by coming together, we can serve the community more efficiently and effectively – saving everyone time and money and making the process easier for those needing help,” said Melissa Soto, executive director of WAMY. “WAMY has been providing housing repair in the County for many years but often has to turn away from jobs that are beyond the scope of our current programs. This Coalition will give us all a network that we can turn to for shared solutions.”

WAMY has hired April Beck as the community housing coordinator to begin pulling together Coalition members to develop specific service delivery strategies. Beck has been a resident of Western North Carolina for 11 years. She studied social work in college and has dedicated the majority of her career to serving adults with intellectual disabilities.  

“Having grown up in an urban area, I never understood what the word ‘community’ truly meant,” Beck said. “Since moving here, however, I have been overwhelmed by the way folks come together to support one another.” 

The Coalition is still accepting members. 

“We are looking for partners who have compassion for disadvantaged individuals living in these rural communities; many who’s dwellings are unsuitable, unsafe and unhealthy,” Beck said. “Many living in these conditions are those most vulnerable, such as the elderly, the disabled and the very young.”  

The first Coalition meeting is 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at Spruce Pine United Methodist Church in the Fellowship Hall. Refreshments served. Call Beck at 828-406-4705 or email her at april@wamycommunityaction.org if you or your organization would like to participate in this discussion.