Community Spirit is Alive and Well at Carney Place


Two recent activities at Carney Place, an Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity neighborhood that received a 2014 Housing NC Award, epitomize what we often refer to as community. Last week homeowners in this engaged and vibrant neighborhood hosted a clean-up day for a section on the cul-de-sac. The local Boy Scout troop, which includes several Carney Place kids, helped with the project. They cleaned up the sidewalk, trimmed back overgrowth, planted apple trees and then celebrated their accomplishments with popsicles. In all, eight families from the neighborhood came out and worked side by side on the project. Click here to see photos.

The same week, Anna Herbert dedicated a Little Free Library (LFL) that she built for the children of Carney Place. Click here to see photos. With construction support and know-how provided by Habitat core volunteer Charlie Franck, Anna built the LFL and earned her Girl Scout Gold Award by doing so. A Little Free Library is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a small library constructed to be accessible for residents to take, leave and share books. Imagine a bird house – but slightly bigger. Little Free Libraries can hold anywhere from five books to possibly hundreds, depending on the size. In this case, the library will hold approximately 30 books for children ages 1-18. Residents are encouraged to take ‘take a book, return a book’. Anna built the Little Free Library to increase access to books, to promote a love for literature and reading, and to further increase a sense of community and sharing in Carney Place.

Defined as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals” community is evident at Carney Place. Check out this video about Carney Place and feel free to contact us at 828-251-5702 to schedule a visit to this or any other Asheville Area Habitat neighborhood.


Another Home Repair Success Story


The Barnard Family – Comfortable and Happy in Their Recently Repaired Home

Written by Pat Bacon, Habitat’s Family Support Specialist

When I pulled into the snowy driveway that faces the Barnard house, I could see a curtain move from one side of the window to the other, and before I could get out of my car and walk toward the front door, Angela Barnard had opened it and was standing on the front porch. Anticipating a visitor, a much-loved cat scampered underneath the house. Angela’s smile was welcoming as she invited me to come inside. She said that she had been waiting for me and in a pleasant voice, she called out to her husband, Neal, “Ms. Bacon is here. Come into the living room; she came from Habitat to talk with us.”

The living room was toasty and full of a variety of colorful artificial flowers. Neal said, “Ann (short for Angela) prefers artificial flowers to live plants because she doesn’t have to water them and there is always something pretty to look at in the room…. Ann likes pretty things.” Three of their twelve-year-old wedding pictures are proudly and prominently displayed on one wall. The wedding was in the living room and Ann did all the preparations for the wedding. A tall brown, beautifully dressed ceramic angel surrounded by sea shells reigns over the coffee table situated in the middle of the room. The angel, given to Ann by her mother, is bordered by two smaller angels, and Ann says, “Together they represent my mother, my sister and me.” She swallows because her mother and her sister are deceased, but Angela quickly recovers and says, “Now Neal is the focus of all of my attention.” With no hesitation Neal echoes Ann’s words, “And Ann is the focus of all of my attention.” They smile at each other knowingly; their devotion to one another obvious.

NRI_Barnard before and afterNeal and Ann have each known illness and stints in the hospital. Neal has also spent time in a rehabilitation facility to re-gain his ability to walk. Both are now recovering at a steady pace, mindful of their doctors’ directions, and equally mindful of each other.

When they realized that their house was in need of some repairs they knew that their combined, modest monthly incomes would not allow them to approach conventional repair sources. It was then that Angela remembered that she had heard about Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity’s repair program. After talking about it, just as they do everything else, Neal and Angela requested an application. They are both quick to say that from the onset Habitat’s staff was responsive and pleasant. They are appreciative of the way the staff carefully explained the application process, answered their questions and assessed the work that needed to be done.

And when the work was completed, they were very satisfied that it was well done and a good price. A new front door makes them feel safe and secure, and it also makes the approach to the house more attractive. An unsightly hole in the ceiling between the living room and the hallway has been repaired, and the new kitchen sink and cabinet makes Ann beam with delight. To top it all off, the kerosene heaters that they once used to keep themselves warm are now in a corner because they have a new HVAC system complete with floor registers and ducts.

Angela and Neal said that because the cost for the repair work was so reasonable, they will be able to make the payments with no trouble. They are actively telling other homeowners about Habitat’s Home Repair program, and Ann says, “I want others, like Neal and me, to know about this wonderful opportunity that helps people who just need a chance. We want other people to enjoy their homes like we do now. Habitat is a program that cares about people.”

As I prepare to leave, Angela invites me to see the kitchen. As I stand in the doorway, she pats the new cabinet around the sink and we smile at each other. We make our way to the front door and as she opens the door, the cat scampers back inside as fast as he came out. It’s a cold day outside, but it’s warm and toasty inside the Barnard house.

If you or someone you know is interested in our Home Repair program, please click here.


Celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 12-18) with a very special house dedication and more

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Volunteers support Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity staff and homeowner families in every aspect of their work. Last year, 2,100 volunteers contributed more than 64,000 hours of service – a service valued at more than $1.3 million!* Another way to look at it: the hours contributed by volunteers equates to having an additional 30 full-time staff members!

As Executive Director Lew Kraus often says, “We can have all the money in the world, but without volunteers, the Habitat model doesn’t work. Volunteers are the backbone of our organization.” And what better way to honor them, than to build a house in their honor.

That house was started last fall and is known as the Hearts & Hammers House; built in celebration of all Habitat volunteers who make safe, decent, affordable homeownership a reality for local families. On Friday, April 17th at 12:30pm, Habitat will dedicate the Hearts & Hammers House and present a ceremonial key to future homeowner Gwen Jones and her family. The event will be held in Habitat’s Hudson Hills neighborhood in West Asheville and the public and media are invited to attend.

Habitat announced the idea for a house honoring volunteers last fall and the community responded swiftly to a $30,000 challenge match by generous sponsors New Morning Gallery and the local branches of BB&T, Carolina Alliance Bank, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo.  During the past six months core volunteers and visiting team alike, were busy building the Jones’ future home and Gwen herself contributed 200 Sweat Equity (volunteer) hours on the jobsite, in the ReStore and Office and in homeownership education classes as part of her partnership with Habitat. She is absolutely thrilled to soon move into her forever home. In fact, Habitat staffers heard her shrills of delight just the other day when Gwen received the good news that her closing would happen even earlier than anticipated!

During National Volunteer Appreciation Week, volunteers will receive small gifts of appreciation as well as complimentary lunch. On the construction site, lunches will be provided by Subway for the second year in a row. Subway will be saluting approximately 2,000 Habitat for Humanity volunteers working across the Carolinas by providing catered boxed lunches from local Subway franchises.

We hope you’ll join us on Friday, April 17 at 12:30pm to celebrate our volunteers and welcome the Jones family home!