Dogwood Health Trust Invests in Affordable Workforce Housing in Burke County with Grant to Northwest

Dogwood Health Trust Invests in Affordable Workforce Housing in Burke County with Grant to Northwestern Housing Enterprises


Grant funding will support transformation of Historic Valdese Weavers Mill into 60 affordable rentals.


PRESS RELEASE: May 27, 2021
Media Contact: Erica Allison, Formation PR + Brand / 828-358-4867

Asheville, N.C. – Dogwood Health Trust announced today a new investment in affordable housing in Burke County. A grant made to Northwestern Housing Enterprises will go to support their efforts to create affordable workforce housing for Burke County residents. Specifically, the grant will help Northwestern Housing Enterprises transform the site of the Historic Valdese Weavers Mill into a 60-unit rental housing development along Main Street in downtown Valdese.
The proposed $12.3 million renovation project will create affordable rental housing for 60 families. Northwestern Housing Enterprises expects to begin construction this summer with an anticipated completion of early 2024. Dogwood is contributing $2 million towards the project; the remaining costs will be funded through the Low Income Tax Credit and state and federal historic/mill tax credit equity.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant from Dogwood Health Trust,” said Ned Fowler, Executive Director, Northwestern Regional Housing Authority (NRHA), which oversees Northwestern Housing Enterprises in Burke, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey Counties. “The renovation of the Historic Valdese Weavers Mill allows us to bring affordable workforce housing to Burke County and generate economic development in this commercial area that has terrific growth potential and convenient access to some of our service and retail outlets.”
Northwestern Housing Enterprises’ mission is to increase the supply of low- and moderate-income housing, promote economic development and assist the NRHA with its goals in northwestern North Carolina.   
“Funding this type of project aligns perfectly with our vision to create at least one affordable or workforce housing project in every county we serve,” said Sarah Grymes, Dogwood’s Vice President of Impact for Housing. “Nearly 40 percent of Burke County’s renters are overburdened with the cost of providing a safe place for their families to live, and Dogwood Health Trust believes that health and wellbeing begins with safe and affordable housing. Projects to bring safe and affordable housing to our communities means healthier individuals and sustained economic development in those areas.”   
The finished building will have lofted ceilings, refinished wood floors, and giant windows to provide natural light to the apartments.
The proposed project has been welcomed by the Town Council of Valdese and no residents in the community have spoken out against the adaptive resuse of the mill building, which has been part of the city since 1915.   
About Dogwood Health Trust
Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville, North Carolina with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust was created from the net proceeds of the sale of Mission Hospital System and focuses on innovative and equitable ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellness, with a focus on housing, education, economic opportunity, and access to care and health resources. Dogwood Health Trust works to create a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive, with dignity and opportunity for all, no exceptions. To learn more, please visit