|Raeford City and Hoke County officials break ground on the $2.4 million complex with SECU and SECU Foundation representatives.
State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) members are once again helping to address North Carolina’s teacher housing needs, this time with a $2.4 million 0% interest-free loan for Echo Ridge Teacher Housing Complex located in Raeford, NC. The new complex will provide a safe and affordable housing option for new and current teachers in Hoke County and serve as a great recruitment incentive for the school system. SECU Foundation provided the loan funding through a partnership with the Partners for Hoke County Public Schools Education Foundation. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in November for the 24-unit, two bedroom apartment complex, with Raeford City and Hoke County representatives, as well as numerous SECU and Hoke County school officials on hand. The complex is slated for completion in July 2013.
This is the fourth teacher housing initiative supported by the SECU Foundation, with previous projects in Hertford and Dare counties. Like the school systems in those counties, Hoke County School system has struggled with recruitment and retention of teachers due to lack of affordable housing. The housing shortage led many teachers to pursue positions in neighboring counties where affordable options were more abundant. The growing teacher recruitment concerns from SECU members and others in the community led to a proposal by the Advisory Board of SECU’s Raeford branch to the SECU Foundation for Echo Ridge.
The funding concept for Echo Ridge is one that has been replicated from SECU Foundation’s first housing initiative that began in 2006 – Hertford Pointe. As funds for the $2.4 million construction loan for Echo Ridge are repaid through rental income, SECU Foundation will recycle those assets to be used for future projects in other counties throughout North Carolina.
SECU Foundation Board Chair Jim Barber was a featured speaker at the groundbreaking ceremony. Representing SECU members, he noted, “We are proud to work with Partners for Hoke County Public Schools Education Foundation to support the construction for Echo Ridge. Similar to the initiatives in Ahoskie, Kill Devil Hills and remote Hatteras Island, this complex will make a positive impact on education through increased recruitment of highly qualified new and lateral entry teachers, providing the best possible educational opportunities for the children of Hoke County.”
Don Steed, President of Partners for Hoke County Public Schools Education Foundation added, “We are excited to be partnering with the SECU Foundation to bring this much needed housing facility to our community. The Echo Ridge complex will certainly be a great asset for recruiting and retaining new teachers to benefit our growing school system, its students, and North Carolina communities.”