Vision & History


Chapel Hill is a vibrant community that is ever changing and developing. As cultures of a university population and histories 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 the Northside, Pine Knolls, Carr Court, and Lloyd Street communities, these students heard directly from residents about some of the challenges they were facing, to include: high housing costs for those less able to pay, inferior housing quality, 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 not only to 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 through quality rental units
  • Increased education surrounding pre- and post- home purchase
  • 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.

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