mission & History

EmPOWERment, Inc.’s mission is to empower individuals and communities to achieve their destiny through community organizing, affordable housing, and grass roots economic development.

Chapel Hill is a vibrant community that is ever changing and developing. As universities cultures and the history of local residents intersect, there is great potential for a rich diversity. However in 1996, two UNC Social Work students, Myles Presler and Termain Kyles, observed a gap in communication and community service.

Focusing in on the Northside, Pine Knolls, Carr Court, and Lloyd Street communities, these students heard directly from residents about some of the challenges they were facing including: high housing costs, low quality housing, political and economic disempowerment, and low household incomes. These systemic problems were local manifestations of the many issues facing our entire nation.

EmPOWERment, Inc. was established to not only build homes, but also to build lives. In order to raise community awareness and dialogue, a multi-pronged and ambitious mission was created for the growing organization.

Over the years and through changes in community, leadership, and staff, EmPOWERment has remained vigilant in honoring the integrity of that mission and continues to focus on several key areas:

  • Affordable living options through quality rental units

  • Education surrounding pre and post home purchases

  • 1-on-1 counseling for ownership preservation and foreclosure management

  • Community building and organizing

  • Grassroots economic development

Aside from facts, figures, and accomplishments, EmPOWERment, Inc. has become a listening ear, a helping hand, and a trusted friend to many people in our communities. Some successes cannot be measured by statistics, rubrics, or graphs, but instead lie in the social capital of connecting people with the tools to construct their dreams into reality.

2018 Achievements

EmPOWERment, Inc.’s Rental Program:

  • Expanded our rental inventory to 50 units by adding eight new properties, which housed homeless, disabled, and low-income families.

  • Coordinated with Duke Energy to host the Neighborhood Energy Saver Program, which provided the community and our tenants with free energy saving products and repairs.

  • Participated in Orange County’s Displacement Mitigation Assistance Program (DMAP) and assisted the county in relocating families affected by mobile home displacement.

EmPOWERment, Inc.’s Housing Counseling Program:

  • Provided 92 families with post homeownership counseling, 46 of whom were at risk of losing their home to foreclosure.

  • Assisted 20 families in acquiring loan modifications through one-on-one counseling.

  • Offered homebuyer education classes and housing workshops on fair housing and tenant rights to families in the Lakeview Mobile Home Community and Chapel Hill Public Housing units.

EmPOWERment, Inc.’s Community Organizing Program:

  • Hosted five community outreach meetings and neighborhood events at Hargraves Community Center.

  • Provided meaningful summer employment for six low-income and minority youth through the Career Explorers program.

  • Hosted annual Thanksgiving celebration and distributed over 50 turkeys to community members.

  • Organized and mobilized the Lakeview Mobile Home Community to prepare the residents to advocate for their community before the Chapel Hill Town Council.