Senator visits Cashie residents

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 28, 2008

WINDSOR – United States Senator Richard Burr visited Cashie Apartments here Thursday afternoon during a tour of various facilities in the area.

Cashie Apartments was first converted into low-income apartments using USDA Rural Development funds in 2003 and began accepting residents in March 2004.

Originally, the facility housed the old Bertie Memorial Hospital and was constructed in 1951.

Burr met with several apartment residents and conversed with them on activities in their daily lives.

He also talked to an informally assembled group on various issues, including housing and healthcare.

&uot;In rural America it is difficult to find subsidized housing and there’s a real need for it. This is a great example of things you’re starting to see throughout northeastern North Carolina,&uot; he stated.

Burr continued, &uot;This is the first time I’ve seen a converted hospital, but in North Carolina there have been a lot of converted school buildings… there are a lot more buildings that could be converted if we put resources together.&uot;

Nadine Hewitt, Jenny Craig and Bill Cooper were among the residents Burr spoke with during his visit.

Hewitt, 78, has lived in Cashie Apartments for three years since her mobile home burned down and she lost her husband. Craig has been in residence for a year and a half and Cooper for over two years.

Cooper, who is disabled, was homeless before coming to live at the facility.

Upon learning of Cooper’s former homelessness, Burr commented, &uot;One of the challenges today is that there are a lot of homeless veterans… to rectify that situation we need to do two things; one put a roof over their heads and two then provide services to make it permanent.&uot;

He continued, &uot;We don’t do as well a job with the average citizen or with veterans for wraparound services… and the issue is that unless they’re treated (with services) that home will be temporary.&uot;

Burr also remarked on his great affectation for Windsor and Bertie County due to the efforts to renovate the old hospital, turning it into much-needed apartments for the elderly and disabled, and then open a new critical care unit.

&uot;To keep the same footprints as the old… it’s a model for the rest of rural America to look at,&uot; he added.

During an interview later with members of the press, Burr stated, &uot;We are limited as a federal government, so we need people in the private sector experienced at running facilities like this.&uot;

At Cashie Apartments and other similar subsidized housing, tenants are obligated to pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities.

The USDA Rural Development, who assisted in loaning money toward Cashie Apartment’s initial renovation costs, also continues to function in helping those living there by providing rental assistance that averages slightly over $12,000 a month.

Only elderly and disabled citizens qualify to live in this particular facility.