According to the NC Housing Coalition, 72% of houses in McDowell county are owned and not rented, which is significantly higher than most counties in North Carolina. This is presumed to be because of the Mill Housing program that is unique to this region, and as a result, the average age of the housing stock in McDowell is in excess of 50 years. Of all households in McDowell around 3,759 are classified as cost-burdened with 2,227 homeowners having difficulty affording their homes. All of this results in a high percentage of homes that fall into disrepair as homeowners do not have the resources for basic repairs to fix a leaky roof, a hole in the floor, or dripping pipes, or to add a much needed wheelchair/walker ramp for an elderly or disabled family member.
McDowell County does not have a nonprofit dedicated to addressing urgent repairs for low income homeowners. Fortunately, the county is home to many mission-minded churches that have, through the years, served homeowners in need through ramp ministries, roofing ministries, and other home repair programs. The Home Repair Partnership leverages these existing assets and provides coordination, grant funding and community support for a renovation and repair program throughout McDowell County.