Barry Cleghorn and his family moved from Madison to Phil Campbell in 2012 to live with and care for his wife’s ailing grandmother. Since she has transitioned to assisted living, the Cleghorns are now trying to sell the home to pay for her continued medical care and other living expenses.
That left them in need of a place of their own. On a drive around town, they saw the eye-catching, attractive apartments at The Village at Oliver Place. Cleghorn says his wife, “Turned in on two wheels. We came back two weeks later and had a tour and were just blown away, but we didn't think we could ever afford it."
When they moved to Phil Campbell, Cleghorn says he knew the pace of life was going to be very different. He says, “It's amazing the difference between industry in the Madison/Huntsville area and Phil Campbell. Although he says, “I get some work here and there, and my wife was fortunate to find a good job in the area,” the affordable rent at The Village at Oliver Place was just what they needed.
The development is one example of Phil Campbell continuing its recovery from the devastating April 2011 tornadoes that destroyed much of the town. The Community Action Partnership of North Alabama built The Village at Oliver Place to provide high-quality housing that is also affordable for the people in the Phil Campbell area, in particular, those displaced by the tornadoes. The Partnership is a nonprofit with a fifty-year history of achieving its mission of reducing or eliminating the causes and consequences of poverty for families and communities.
Michael Tubbs, CEO of the Partnership, said, "I think this is one of the most beautiful developments we’ve ever done, and it’s something the community can really be proud of. We wanted it to have a community feel, and we were intentional in our design to make sure that’s the way it turned out.”
The Village at Oliver Place opened in January 2015 and has an outside gazebo, grill and picnic area with a playground, and a community building that features wireless Internet, community cable TV, laundry facility, exercise room, and computer room. There are 12 two-bedroom units and 12 three-bedroom units. Two of the two-bedroom units are handicap accessible.
Funding for the $4.3 million development came from multiple sources. AHFA allocated more than $324,000 in Housing Credits and more than $580,000 in HOME funds to the development. The developers also received funding from a community development block grant and private investors.
In addition to building The Village at Oliver Place, the Partnership has provided a Financial Capability workshop to residents. This training is regularly offered in north Alabama, but they have hosted the workshop in Phil Campbell as well. It is a multi-week course for anyone who may need credit repair, better practice managing their income, and help figuring out how to get their financial house in order.
Since the day they moved in, the Cleghorns have been in love with The Village at Oliver Place, including their nine-year-old adopted daughter Ali. Ali was formerly their foster child, and had 17 placements before coming to live with the Cleghorns, which left her with an attachment disorder. Their home is also home for her service animal that helps her with those issues, a black pug named Gus. Cleghorn says, "If you meet her now, you could never tell she had any issues. She's so polite, sweet, and well adjusted. She's on the A/B honor roll. We're very proud of her and lucky to have her."
While the family isn't planning to foster any more children for a while, Cleghorn says they may look into doing some respite or shorter-term care. If they do, they have plenty of space, which is one of the things they enjoy most about their home. "We love the space, layout, upstairs area - it just suits our needs perfectly. We appreciate this place and love it," Cleghorn says.