Mt. Zion A.M.E. Apartments
"Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places" is a popular slogan used to promote tourism in South Carolina, and it fittingly describes the atmosphere at Mt. Zion A.M.E. Apartments I & II. The non-profit 100% subsidized HUD multifamily housing community located in Florence, South Carolina offers 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom floor plans, and was originally built in 1970 with a second phase constructed in 1972. Since that time, management established and maintained a strong connection and collaboration with the local community. Illustrating this point, on November 22, 2013, Mt. Zion A.M.E. staff along with volunteers hosted its 16th Annual Thanksgiving Community Luncheon. The luncheon was held on-site and by 12:00 Noon the line for a feast of turkey, dressing, fried chicken, and traditional "fixings" stretched from the HUD approved Neighborhood Networks Center into the parking lot. More than 400 individuals were served by The Wives of Sons of Allen, local city officials and law enforcement personnel.
The Sons of Allen Volunteers
The Sons of Allen, an official men's ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, has a strong presence at Mt. Zion Apartments, and the luncheon was no exception. The Sons of Allen volunteers spent weeks assisting with coordination of the event, and arrived during the early morning hours in preparation for the grand luncheon. Harold Hughes, Board Chairman, along with other board members set-up tables, chairs, loaded coolers with ice, chopped barbeque, replenished food and assisted with a food and clothing drive. Additionally, guests enjoyed live entertainment provided by the Gary Green Ensemble who volunteered their time and talent.
L to R: Gwen Dixon, Resource Director and Karrie Sisk, Property Manager
Invited local partners in attendance were: Fatherhood and Families Engagement, Clemson Extension Service, Hope Health, Pee Dee Healthy Start, Florence County Disabilities & Special Needs Board, Manna House, Florence Sheltered Workshop, Pee Dee Coalition, Pee Dee Community Action Agency Transitional Shelter, Lighthouse Ministries, and House of Hope.
A final highlight for the day occurred when the children arrived after school to encounter a loving atmosphere filled with the aroma of a southern cooked meal, and the welcoming smiles of on-site staff.
Finally, Mt. Zion A.M.E. Apartments is a NAHMA Community of Quality property as well as a 2007 NAHMA national award recipient for "Best Turnaround Property". Mt. Zion Apartments is a safe, attractive and well-maintained multifamily housing property which includes a HUD approved Neighborhood Networks Center, supportive staff, quality playground equipment for the children, laundry facility and other services geared toward enhancing the lives of low-income residents. Southern Development Management Company is the HUD approved management agent.
Jennifer Gibson, Southern Development Management Company contributed to this article and Elaine Bennett, HUD Senior Project Manager, Multifamily Program Service Center, prepared the article.