Rural grant awarded for $38,000

Dec. 07, 2012 @ 05:41 PM

WARRENTON — The home ownership program of the Warren Family Institute in Warrenton got a boost this week when the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center awarded a $38,000 grant to the organization.

The grant was one of 37 grants the Rural Center made to organizations in 34 of North Carolina’s counties.

Cathy Alston-Kearney, executive director of the Warren Family Institute, said, “It will provide support for our continuing home ownership effort. It’s one way for individual families to become home owners.”

She described the multiple benefits of the program. Money for home ownership helps create constructions jobs. New homes add to the tax base. And a family gains an asset that, in addition to its economic value, contributes to domestic stability.

The institute is developing Ephraim Place, a 19-lot subdivision.

“The infrastructure is in place,” Alston-Kearney said. “Construction can begin as people qualify and choose to locate there.”

However, the institute also provides support for homeowners who choose to locate elsewhere in the county.

Warren Family Institute was founded in 1994 by community residents to promote the social and economic development of families and individuals.

“We’re a comprehensive organization, a small one,” Alston-Kearney said. She described other activities of the institute, including collaboration with Smart Start to offer family support, such as parenting classes, youth mentoring, tutoring and recreational opportunities for children. It has been approved to distribute Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.

Alston-Kearney said the organization’s annual budget usually ranges between $150,000 and $170,000. The current budget is $144,439.

“Our budget has taken a hit,” she said, because of the national economic downturn. “We’re feeling the pinch when demand is increasing.”

The institute receives revenue from a small apartment complex it owns, from grants and from donations by churches and individuals.

The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center is a private, nonprofit organization. It focuses on developing sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life in rural North Carolina.

This latest round of grants totaled $5.4 million and is expected to create 587 jobs, provide clean water and support economic development in rural counties. The grants were made possible by appropriations by the N.C. General Assembly and state clean water bonds.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.