Students Leading the Charge to House Sponsorship


Students from Asheville Christian Academy, Carolina Day School, and Christ School are already well on their way to making the second Habitat Student Build House in Buncombe County a reality. These schools have committed to jointly raise the $55,000 it takes to fully sponsor an Asheville Area Habitat house and provide student volunteers (ages 16 and up) and adult chaperones to help build the house. Each school will raise $18,333. Construction on the house is slated to begin March 24th, with the first wall to be raised three days later.

Reaching such a lofty goal takes leadership. The schools have formed a Student Advisory Committee with students from each school who stepped forward to take on the task of leading the charge. The group met last fall in a preliminary Student Build Workshop, and recently met again for their second workshop at the Habitat office this past Saturday, January 24th.

13 high school student-leaders and a faculty member from each school spent Saturday morning with Habitat core volunteers and staff preparing and learning. They toured the ReStore, learned how to effectively recruit and schedule volunteers for the Student Build House, and were trained on how to use an online crowdsourcing campaign to raise money. They reported on what they had already done to raise money (as a total, they are already 63% to their goal!), and discussed what worked and what didn’t. Plans were also made to prepare for the 2016 Student Build House!

The icing on the cake that day was the presentation of a $4,000 check from State Farm. Proof that they had already come far since the first workshop, this check was the result of a grant proposal the students penned and submitted together. It’s amazing what a group of motivated young people can accomplish with a little bit of guidance and a whole lot of heart!

From Books and Gardens to Schools and Homes, Habitat’s Partnership with the Shiloh Community Continues to Grow

In 2014, we celebrated the completion of the nation’s very first “Pope Francis House”, an energy-efficient 4 bedroom/2 bath Habitat house in Shiloh that is now home to the Meadows family. This was the most recent of 41 single-family homes built by Asheville Area Habitat in the Shiloh community during the past 20 years. In the next 2-3 years, we will build 10 houses off Taft Avenue and a few others on in-fill lots.

New house construction is just one way in which Habitat has been involved in Shiloh, a historically significant community of Asheville. We have also completed numerous home repair projects for low-income homeowners, many of whom have lived in their homes for decades – like Eugene Rone. Work has included new roofs, siding repair and replacement, painting, heating system upgrades and more. All of this work is aimed at increasing safety, improving accessibility, and helping people live longer and better in the homes they already own.

Thanks to funds from Pisgah Investments Foundation and proceeds from the 2014 Biltmore Benefit ear-marked specifically for Home Repair projects in Shiloh, Habitat will do many more repair projects there in the next 1-3 years.

In 2013, Habitat helped build a storage shed and raised garden beds at the now-thriving Shiloh Community Garden.  Additionally, we were able to help the Community Association bring electric service to the garden and pavilion for the first time. Just recently, the Shiloh Community Association accepted a donation of land from Habitat, which sits behind the garden and adjacent to our Pope Francis House. Thrilled to have this parcel, the Association hopes a design professional will step forward to help them through the process of coming up with a vision for an expanded garden. Currently, classes and workshops are held at the garden, UNCA students and community residents raise fruits and vegetables in the beds, community yoga is offered Saturday mornings and the amphitheater (sponsored by Tupelo Honey) provides the community with a place for presentations and performances.

Another addition to the community came in the form of a Little Free Library (LFL). Dedicated last summer and located at the community garden across the street from the Shiloh Community Center, this LFL was the idea of a retired librarian living in the community and was constructed by Habitat volunteer Charlie Franck using some materials donated by Habitat. The initial collection of books came from the Habitat ReStore among other sources.

Last year, Habitat also partnered with Estes Elementary School. Though not geographically located within Shiloh, the school serves approximately 75% of elementary school-aged children who live in the Shiloh neighborhood. Habitat staff and volunteers built a storage closet, installed floors and painted walls in their new Community Resource Center. The Resource Center will provide food and clothing support for families of children attending the school and will work to connect those families to other resources in the community that they need.

Furthermore, just this week, one of our staff members, Ed McGowan, began teaching an 8-week Toastmasters Youth Training program. Held at the Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center, it is a partnership with the City of Asheville’s Teenager Leadership Development Program.

Habitat is building off of a history of participation in the Shiloh community that started with new house construction back in 1992. Habitat is just one of many partners working alongside the Shiloh Community Association toward achievement of the goals laid out in the Shiloh Community Plan 2025 approved by Asheville City Council in 2010.  We are proud to leverage our skills and work alongside others with different proficiencies to work collectively to address needs that go well beyond housing.

Paul Reeves, Director of Construction Services for Asheville Area Habitat adds, “It is truly a pleasure for Habitat to be working in a community that has a clear vision for its future and residents who are organized, motivated and actively working toward increasing the quality of life for all of its community members. Shiloh has embraced our work in their community and sees us as a strong partner in providing affordable housing and home repair.”

Setting a Good Example


What makes the current Silent Auction so special? Every item in it was donated by Brian and Susan Haynes! Looking to be a model for other families who are downsizing, cleaning out an estate, or simply pairing down their possessions, the Haynes family donated a collection of items to the ReStore specifically for the Silent Auction. Items include vintage toys and lunchboxes, a mid-century Drexel chest, instruments handmade in Black Mountain, NC, vintage barware, a collection of Beatles memorabilia, and much more. Brian and Susan are life-long area residents, they are the former owners of Almost Blue, and they also happen to be Habitat employees. Now with grown children, they recently down-sized and donated a collection of unique items to the Silent Auction. You can also find many unique albums, posters and music memorabilia in the ReStore’s Book and Music area, thanks to the Haynes family. To see photos of just some of the items in this auction, click here. Auction ends January 21 at 2pm.

New Year Truly Marks a New Beginning for Local Family

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The New Year is symbolic of new beginnings, resolutions, and goals. For Lekisha Beamon and her two children, 2015 will truly mark a fresh start. On Friday, January 9th at 12 noon in Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity’s Hudson Hills subdivision, Habitat volunteers raised the first wall of the Beamons’ future home. See pictures from the Wall Raising here. By June, Lekisha will be a first-time homeowner and the family will be moving into a new, energy efficient, affordable home of their very own.

“This will be a new start for me and my family…This will be the security that my family and I need in our lives. My children being able to go outside and play in ‘our’ yard means so much to me”, Lekisha wrote to Habitat.

This home will be fully sponsored with a generous gift by Steve and Frosene Zeis and is to be built in honor of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. In turn, Lekisha will repay a 30-year, 0% interest mortgage to Habitat, which Habitat will use to build more homes.


Meet your match on the Habitat jobsite!

This Valentine’s Day, join 30 other young, single professionals for a meaningful day of making connections and making a difference.

Your $20 registration fee will cover the cost of building materials and lunch. Participants will also take part in fun meet & mingle activities and will be invited to a Singles Build happy hour at the end of the day!
No experience is necessary, just come prepared to work hard and have a great time.

♥ Saturday, February 14, 2015

♥ 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Hudson Hills jobsite off Johnston Boulevard in west Asheville.

Step 1Sign Up: Register on HUB, our volunteer sign-up page.
Step 2Donate: Your $20 donation will complete your registration; please click here to donate online. Remember to choose “Singles Build” as your Area of Support.
Step 3Build! You will receive an email confirmation with details upon registration and a reminder before your build day on February 14th.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Wallace, Construction Services Volunteer Coordinator.

Jen and Josh Morris met on a Habitat jobsite on the Gulf Coast. They married last summer and honeymooned in Asheville, where they spent a day volunteering on Asheville Area Habitat’s jobsite (pictured here).