The Durham Housing Authority and development partner Laurel Street Residential recently marked the halfway point in the construction of The Joyce, a new, affordable housing complex for seniors on S. Duke St. near downtown Durham.
Supported by City of Durham funding, the $18.8 million development is expected to open in spring of 2023 and will include 80 apartment units, common areas, and green spaces. The Joyce is directly adjacent to the JJ Henderson senior development currently undergoing renovation and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The Joyce is named in honor of Joyce Thorpe Nichols, a trailblazer in the medical field who was Durham’s first African American physician’s assistant. She is also celebrated as a pioneer for tenants’ rights.
Nichols, who served on the DHA Board of Commissioners, was a resident at Durham’s McDougald Terrace in the late 1960s when she was served with an eviction notice without due cause. She sued the Durham Housing Authority and her case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcome of the Supreme Court case led the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development to issue a rule stating that anyone evicted from subsidized housing had to be given a clear reason. Nichols’ efforts are seen as a milestone for tenants’ rights across the U.S.