AmeriCorps Member Reflects on a Special Day

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The Most “Habitat” Day

By Sydney Monshaw (pictured center and top far R)

Towards the end of October I experienced a day so quintessentially “Habitat” it was almost unreal. As an AmeriCorps member serving with Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity on the Home Repair team, my days are fairly similar. Our small team works all over Buncombe County repairing everything from porches to roofs, and everything in between. On this particular fall day, however, my day started at a local attorney’s office and ended at a Habitat neighborhood of 10 new homes. On that singular day, I attended a closing with a new homeowner in the morning, worked on a Home Repair project down the road from Habitat’s newest neighborhood, and attended a 4-house dedication event in that same community later that afternoon.

I had never been to a house closing before and was not entirely sure what to expect. What struck me most was the palpable joy in the room as the mortgage details were explained, documents were signed, and a young couple became homeowners for the first time. These two were so proud of all of their hard work, and rightfully so! Not only had they physically contributed to the construction of their new home, they had also completed a full series of homeowner education classes. They were set to move into their new space that afternoon and were eager to get I’s dotted and T’s crossed so that they could get back to packing and moving. This couple has three small children who were also excited to help their parents move all of their belongings, pick out their rooms, and turn their new house into a home.

After the closing, I changed into my painting pants and work boots and jumped in our van to meet volunteers on our Home Repair job site. Our job that week was working on the home of the President of the Shiloh Community Association, scraping and repainting the exterior of her house. She is 80 years old and one of the busiest ladies I have ever met! She volunteers for a local radio station, goes on senior trips to explore nearby cities, and works tirelessly for the Shiloh community where she has lived for more than 50 years. It was great to be able to help her, and I could swear that on this day I saw the fresh coat of paint sparkle a little bit in the afternoon sun. Maybe it was just wet paint, but based on the way the whole day was unfolding, I think it was a little bit of Habitat magic.

Later, after thanking my volunteers and sending them home tired and covered in paint, I walked up the street to Habitat’s McKinley neighborhood where the last four houses in the 10-house community were to be dedicated. The event was just getting started and as I walked down the street towards the big tent I remember feeling overwhelmed by the gratitude I had for the amazing people working at our Habitat affiliate and the incredible community I am lucky to be a part of. The weather was perfect with bright blue skies and fall foliage, kids were playing in the street, and Habitat supporters were mingling with construction folks and homeowner families. The best way to describe the dedication is elation personified. There was joy on the part of the homeowners, the donors, the volunteers, the Habitat staff, and all of the community members who were there to celebrate homes, communities, and hope.

That day highlighted the incredible work that Habitat does every day. Homes are built by dedicated volunteers, with generous financial support of donors; homeowners pour themselves into their journey towards homeownership; and homes are repaired, enabling homeowners to live more safely and comfortably in their own homes. Habitat is a “hand up, not a hand out,” and that was especially evident on this special fall day. It was easy to see all the partnerships between homeowners, Habitat, and the Shiloh community. Together, we serve the needs of the community in a way that makes sense.

I feel extraordinarily thankful to be spending my AmeriCorps term with Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity. Days like this incredible October day will stay with me for the rest of my life as a reminder of what hard work, dedication, and love can do.

Photos: Holt Pearce’s Journey to Homeownership

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Holt Pearce came to Asheville because of the music of Warren Haynes. Anyone who has volunteered with Habitat’s Before the Jam, Lend a Hand program over the past eight years is well acquainted with Holt. He is the kind of guy who places importance on helping others. After years of helping others on their path to homeownership, he applied and decided to allow other to help him.

On Thursday November 16th Holt Pearce closed on his affordable 2 bedroom/one bathroom home, making him and his daughter Piper the final family to purchase and move into their home on McKinley Avenue! Best wishes to Holt and Piper as they start this new chapter of their lives!

Holt on his first day of sweat equity.

Holt with his daughter Piper at a key passing for a Christmas Jam House in 2013, before applying for homeownership.

His daughter Piper signing a stud during the kick-off event for their house.

Holt signing his closing documents Nov. 16, 2017 at Roberts & Stevens in downtown Asheville.

Holt working at McKinley Avenue March 2017.

Holt shouts “hello” to his next door neighbor’s youngest daughter as she waves while moving in Thursday Nov. 16.

Holt in front of his affordable home he purchased that morning, Thursday Nov. 16.

Build a Better Future With Your Holiday Gift

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Perseverance is the cornerstone of Lindsay’s life. It is how she cares for her son with cerebral palsy, how she is five years sober, and how she mentors families struggling with addiction in her job as a Peer Support Specialist. Now, this cornerstone is helping Lindsay build a better future — on the foundation of a Habitat home.

Make a gift this holiday season to support Lindsay, her sons, and other hard working families on their journey to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through decent, affordable housing.

Every child deserves a foundation to build their future, and
everyone deserves a decent place to call home.

Please give a gift today.

Note: If you’re making a holiday gift in honor of someone, let us know and we will mail a holiday card to them to acknowledge your gift. We request a minimum donation of $10 per card. If you live in Asheville and would like to pick up holiday cards to hand write, please stop by our office M-F between 8:30am and 5pm.

Habitat Construction Supervisor John Meadows and Habitat homebuyer Lindsay review the floor plans of her future home in Arden.

Homeownership Brings Friendship Full Circle

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By Shannon Kauffmann

I met Kelly Lucy (above R) about eight years ago when I was working as a childcare subsidy case worker. She was one of my clients. Kelly recalled, “I remember the very first time that I met you because I cried through the entire appointment. You probably thought I was crazy!” Nothing could be further from the truth. If she needed a case worker to cry to, she came to the right person.

As a stressed out single parent myself, I had been on the other side of the desk many time before. Being employed as a full-time case worker meant that I earned just enough to disqualify me from receiving any public assistance, but not enough to pay the bills. One bi-weekly paycheck went towards paying the rent without a dollar to spare. I remember crying at the grocery store because I didn’t have enough change to buy a box of tissues for my sick child. Kelly may have been embarrassed about crying in my office, but seeing a single parent in tears was neither surprising nor memorable; it was my life reflected back at me.

Over the next eight years, I met with Kelly 2 or 3 times a year to renew her vouchers. I was always happy to see her name on my calendar because she came prepared and she made me laugh. We swapped stories about our boys and commiserated on the woes of single parenting. With our boys being close in age, we seemed to live parallel lives. If my son had gotten into trouble for making noises in class, I could be confident that Kelly had a similar story to tell. One appointment at a time, Kelly and I had become friends. We were no longer constrained by the case worker/client relationship.

That being said, it’s no surprise that when I purchased a home through Habitat, I was eager to share my excitement with her. I explained that purchasing a home through Habitat completely changed my life, and my son’s life. Having a mortgage that was half of what I had been paying for rent, not only provided financial relief, it allowed me to be a better parent. The stress that came from not being able to pay my bills had turned me into someone I barely recognized. When I made my first mortgage payment and realized I had money “left over,” I literally felt as though pressure had been lifted from my chest. Knowing that Kelly was still experiencing that same suffocating stress, I encouraged her to apply to Habitat’s Homeownership program and hoped for the best.

I had no way of knowing then, that when she applied, I would be the one to process her application. But that’s exactly what happened! When Kelly was in the process of applying for Habitat homeownership, I was in the process of applying for a job with Asheville Habitat. Without either of us knowing, Kelly and I had continued on separate, yet parallel paths. When I sat down at my new desk and saw her application, I was elated! Our friendship had come full circle.

Kelly was the first homeowner I saw all the way through the process – from application to closing – as Asheville Habitat’s Homeowner Selection Coordinator, and I was invited to go with her to the attorney’s office to sign her mortgage documents.

Watching Kelly sign her closing papers and accept the keys to her house brought tears to my eyes. It took me back to our first meeting many years ago, when Kelly was crying and I couldn’t afford a box of tissues! Back then, thinking that both of us would become homeowners was as absurd as thinking that both of us would win the lottery; and yet here we are. Because of Habitat’s interest-free loan and affordable monthly payments, Kelly and I can focus on being present for our children, and also for each other. With both of our boys approaching puberty, we will continue on our parallel paths as single mothers, meeting every few months to commiserate, to laugh, and to cry — and for old time sake, we will take turns buying the tissues.

Kelly’s new Habitat home in Shiloh is our first Legacy Builders Society House and Asheville Habitat’s 300th house!

Shannon’s Habitat home in West Asheville was made possible by Warren Haynes Presents: The Christmas Jam (in 2012).

 

Shiloh: Let’s Build! Campaign Built More Than Houses

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This month, Asheville Habitat will complete the 10-home McKinley neighborhood off Taft Ave. in Shiloh, which also signifies the culmination of the three year Shiloh: Let’s Build! campaign. Houses built at McKinley (10), Creekside (4), and Caribou Corner (1) represent the 15 new homes that were part of the campaign. On the Home Repair side, we will come out ahead of the 30 project goal with 39 home repairs completed in Shiloh in the last three years!

Click here to see photos from the recent dedication of the last 3 homes in Shiloh (and one built in McDowell County).

We’d like to extend a big thanks to all the Shiloh: Let’s Build sponsors who supported this campaign to serve a minimum of 45 families in Shiloh through homeownership and home repair. Your support provided more individuals and families with the opportunity to build strength, stability and self-reliance on the foundation of a decent, affordable home.


Habitat has been active in the Shiloh community since the mid-1990’s when we built the Wilson Creek neighborhood of 32 houses. Since then, we have built new homes, repaired existing ones, and recently worked alongside the Shiloh Community Association towards the goals laid out in the Shiloh Community Plan 2025 approved by Asheville City Council in 2010. We proudly leveraged our skills and worked alongside others with different proficiencies to help collectively address needs that go beyond housing.

For example, Habitat built a storage shed and raised garden beds in the Shiloh Community Garden, helped bring electric service to the garden and pavilion, and donated a parcel of land adjacent to the garden. A Habitat volunteer constructed a Little Free Library for the garden using materials donated by Habitat and the initial collection of books came from the Habitat ReStore, among other sources.

Habitat also partnered with Estes Elementary School to build a storage closet, install floors, and paint walls in their new Community Resource Center. The Resource Center provides food and clothing support for families of children attending the school and works to connect families to other resources in the community. The school serves approximately 75% of elementary school-aged children who live in the Shiloh neighborhood.

Paul Reeves, Director of Construction Services for Asheville 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.”

 

 

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity Partners with Dynamite Roasting Co. to Ensure More Healthy Homes

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The Habitat ReStore will soon be selling Guatemalan roast coffee from Dynamite Roasting Co. – by the cup and the bag. Other area retailers will also sell the bagged coffee, which will be available in mid-late November, just in time for holiday gift giving.

Proceeds from the sale of this coffee will go to Habitat for Humanity Guatemala for the installation of Healthy Home Kits (smokeless stoves, sanitary latrines, and water filters) in the homes of Guatemalan coffee farmers. “Selling coffee that directly helps ensure Guatemalan coffee farmers have a decent and healthy home, brings our work full circle,” said Scott Stetson, ReStore General Manager.

“Our farmer friends work so hard to provide us with coffee crops of exceptional quality. When they and their families are healthy, communities grow stronger in their region- and in ours. A healthy farmer makes the world healthier in countless ways. This partnership between Dynamite Roasting Co. and Habitat for Humanity is direct action with immediate results. We are thrilled to put this positive plan into motion,” said Josh Gibbs, co-owner Dynamite Roasting Co.

Speaking of Guatemala, a team of 12 Asheville Habitat volunteers are leaving for Guatemala this weekend (October 21, 2017) to help install Healthy Home Kits. To support this endeavor, the ReStore’s “Register Round Up” program is being directed to Habitat Guatemala during the month of October. Customers can choose to “round up” their purchase to the nearest dollar. Fashor example, if your purchase totals $9.60, you can round up to $10 and the 40 cents will be donated. “Its small change that adds up and makes a big impact,” said Asheville Habitat staffer and trip leader, Joel Johnson. “For example, the cost of a smokeless stove is only $100 USD, but it will change the lives of Guatemalan women and children dramatically. Most have severe respiratory illness because they are not cooking or heating with proper ventilation.”

Makenzie Brown, Habitat Guatemala Donor Relations Officer added, “We are grateful for our partnership with Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity. It is because of such support that we are able to work alongside Guatemalan families, and together, improve their quality of life. Today, 46% of Guatemalans use an inadequate latrine or no sanitary services at all, 95% of the water in Guatemala is contaminated, and 52% of Guatemalans suffer from respiratory disease. It is our hope that with each Healthy Home Kit, a family will make a small change that will have a big impact in their home.”

Proceeds from the ReStore have been supporting Asheville Habitat’s building programs since 1990, when the resale shop (then known as the Habitat Home Store) first opened its doors on Biltmore Avenue. Supporting a sister affiliate in Guatemala through the sale of coffee, is another way the ReStore supports Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Learn more about Habitat Guatemala’s Healthy Home Kits.

Learn more about Dynamite Roasting Co.

 

Sponsors Join on to Business Bungalow #3

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Local Businesses Partner to Sponsor Business Bungalow House #3

Affordable housing continues to be one of the most pressing, unmet needs in our region. Studies* have shown that the combination of a lack of affordable units, a critically low vacancy rate and a significant projected population growth will make housing availability in our area, especially affordable housing, a rare commodity.

The local business community is coming together to address this issue head-on by sponsoring the 3rd Business Bungalow home. Eaton Corporation has made a generous lead gift of $20,000. Businesses of all sizes can make any level of contribution to support affordable housing.

This is your opportunity to be part of the solution. Together we can build a Habitat house, address a pressing community need, and most importantly, transform the life of another family. Come join us!

*The January 2015 Regional Housing Analysis by Bowen Research Group, commissioned by the City of Asheville.

Visit our Sponsors Page to see all the local businesses participating!

Read about the family and check in on the house construction!

Events

  • Every Monday, October – December 17 – Altar’d State
    • 10% of sales every Monday throughout the rest of 2017
  • October 24, 2017 – Virgola Italian Wine Bar
    • 10% of sales from 4 – 10 pm
  • November 18, 2017 – Second Gear
    • stud signing event from 11 am – 2 pm
    • next door at Whist, 10% of sales
  • March 8, 2018 – Rezaz
    • 15% of proceeds from Grand ReOpening lunch & dinner
    • 10% of sale from “Herbal Habitat” specialty cocktail, through 3/31/18

Donate

Anyone can support Business Bungalow #3, not just businesses! Click here to donate online. Select Business Bungalow in Area of Support.

Habitat ReStore Thanks Community with Annual Customer Appreciation Sale on Saturday, October 7th  

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We’re thanking the community for its ongoing support by offering 25% off storewide from 9am until 6pm on Saturday, October 7th. All ReStore merchandise – including furniture, housewares, appliances, building materials, music, art, antiques and more – will be 25% percent off! 98.1 The River will be onsite from 9-11am, and free hot dogs and soft drinks will be served between noon and 2pm.

Samples of Guatemalan coffee from Dynamite Roasting Co. will also be available as a preview of coming attractions. The ReStore is partnering with Dynamite to soon sell bagged Guatemalan coffee at the ReStore and other area retailers. The coffee will also be sold by the cup in the ReStore later this fall. Proceeds from the sale of this coffee will go to Habitat for Humanity Guatemala for the installation of Healthy Home Kits (smokeless stoves, sanitary latrines, and water filters) in the homes of Guatemalan coffee farmers. “Selling coffee that directly helps ensure Guatemalan coffee farmers have a decent and healthy home, brings our work full circle,” said Scott Stetson, ReStore General Manager.

Speaking of Guatemala, a team of 12 Asheville Habitat volunteers will be going to Guatemala in October to help the affiliate install Healthy Home Kits. To support that endeavor, the ReStore’s “Register Round Up” program will go towards Habitat Guatemala during the month of October. Customers can choose to “round up” their purchase to the nearest dollar. For example, if your purchase totals $9.60, you can round up to $10 and the 40 cents will be donated. “Its small change that adds up and makes a big impact,” said Asheville Habitat staffer and trip leader, Joel Johnson. “For example, the cost of a smokeless stove is only $100 USD, but it will change the lives of Guatemalan women and children dramatically. Most have severe respiratory illness because they are not cooking or heating with proper ventilation.”

Proceeds from the ReStore have been supporting Asheville Habitat’s building programs since 1990, when the resale shop (then known as the Habitat Home Store) first opened its doors on Biltmore Avenue. Supporting a sister affiliate in Guatemala through the sale of coffee, is another way the ReStore supports Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

 

Support Continues to Grow for The House That Beer Built

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Support Continues to Grow for The House That Beer Built

The lack of affordable housing is a problem many people in Asheville and Buncombe County are all too familiar with. The people and local businesses that make Asheville great—the creatives, artists, brewers, servers, chefs, entrepreneurs—deserve to live in a house they can afford.

We are excited to announce The House That Beer Built! This house, funded and built by our local brewing community, is being built in Arden. We’re excited that the breweries that add so much to Asheville culture will have a direct way to help ease its affordable housing crisis.

This house has a lead gift from the Asheville Brewers Alliance, but breweries of all sizes are getting involved. From percentage nights or a Habitat brew to volunteering or spreading the word about Habitat, there are a lot of creative ways local breweries are joining in.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the craft beer community and the spirit that makes Asheville home for us all. See below to see participating breweries and upcoming events, so you can grab a pint and support affordable housing!

Participating breweries

Burial Beer · Bhramari Brewing Company · Catawba Brewing · Habitat Brewing Company · Highland Brewing · Hillman Beer · Hi-Wire Brewing · New Belgium Brewing · One World Brewing · Pour Taproom · Tasty Beverage · Twin Leaf Brewery · UpCountry Brewing · White Labs, Inc. · Wicked Weed Brewing

Stay up to date with the progress of the House That Beer Built and read about the family!

Events

  • May 31, 2017 – New Belgium Brewing
    • Sign-A-Stud, all tips from tours and the bar donated
  • June 2017 – One World Brewing
    • $1 of every Brett IPA donated
  • July 13, 2017 – Pour Taproom
    • 15 % of sales from 5-9pm
  • August 4-5 – Habitat Brewing
    • Live music, trivia, and $1 per pint sold donated
  • September 14, 2017 – Catawba Brewing
    • Release of their small batch German style Marzen, $1 from each pint sold donated for the following month
  • October 2017 – Bhramari Brewing Company
    • Donating $1 from every sale of Beaucatcher Brown Ale for the whole month
  • November 13, 2017 – Hi-Wire (Big Top) hosts The House That Beer Built Kick-Off Party, starting at 5:30pm. Open to the public! Will include the Big Top’s usual Monday Burger and Pint Night $12 from Foothills Food Truck. A portion of beer sales will be donated, guests will be invited to sign a stud wall, and a door prize will be provided by Asheville Habitat.
  • December 16, 2017 – UpCountry Brewing
    • Donating 10% of all house beer sales during their one year anniversary party.
  • January 25, 2018 – Highland Brewing 
    • Donating $1 from every pint between 3-9pm during their January Community Pint Night. Join us for great beer, great community, and Ryan Roots Open Mic Jam. Highland will also be donating their tour donations for the entire month of January.
  • February 7, 2018 – Pint Night at Twin Leaf Brewing
  • February 8, 2018 – Wicked Weed (Funkatorium)
    • $1 per pour of the “Saison V” will go toward’s The House That Beer Built.
  • February 19 – Pint Night at Hillman Beer
    • $1 from every Hillman Beer pint sold from 4-10pm will go to to Asheville Habitat. And enjoy some incredible live music from the amazing Melodic AF band! 
  • February 24, 2018 – UpCountry Brewing 
    • It’s a Habitat showcase with music by 4 Habitat ReStore employees and their bands! Scott Bianchi, Kilo Fresh, Moonlight Streetfolk, and The Dirty Badgers! Kid-friendly. Music starts at 5pm. $1 from every pour goes to Habitat. Face painting from 5:30-7:30 with donations going to Habitat.
  • March 22, 2018 – Catawba Brewing (South Slope)
    • New Beer Thursday, 2-10pm: $1 from each pint of the New England Session IPA sold, will be donated to Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity starting 3/22/18 and for 4 weeks after the release!

Donate

Anyone can support the House That Beer Built, not just breweries! Click here to donate online. Select House That Beer Built in Area of Support. Or donate via text. Simply send a text to 91999 with the keyword Beer. Thank you!

Local Realtors Continue to Support Affordable Housing

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Candy Whitt holds up a piece of siding while it’s nailed into place Aug. 8 at Women Build House #12 in Arden.

Just about everyone in Asheville knows how serious of a problem affordable housing is, but probably no one understands it better than our local realtors. For the month of August volunteers from Town and Mountain Realty, Candy Whitt and Associates, and Peggy Crowe Realtor, Coldwell Banker King came out to lend a hand with our new home construction at our Shiloh and Arden job sites. In addition to volunteering, these three realty firms are also proud Blueprint Sponsors ($1,000 +)!

“It’s important for local realtors to get involved with Habitat because we make a living off of housing. These (Habitat homeowner) families are so important; they are the heart of our community. Without Asheville Habitat, they would not be buying because Asheville’s affordable housing market is woefully pitiful,” Candy Whitt, of Candy Whitt and Associates said.

For Peggy Crowe, Habitat’s mission is one that resonates with her deeply and even affects the way she does business. For every sale, she donates a portion of that to Asheville Habitat’s Women Build House! In addition, Crowe is in her third year as a Blueprint Sponsor.

Town and Mountain Realty at the McKinley job site in Shiloh.

Also in August, was the closing of a Habitat home sponsored by the Rusty Pulliam Foundation and the Land of Sky Association of Realtors, located in Shiloh’s McKinley neighborhood. For $40 more a month than the Fulga-Caburgan family paid for rent, they purchased this four-bedroom/two-bath home allowing their three boys and two-month old girl space to live and thrive!

These agencies are just a few of many local realtors that volunteer time, funds, or both throughout the years to support Asheville Habitat. With each dollar donated and volunteer hour contributed, our local realtors are making a lasting impact on affordable housing around Buncombe County and Asheville. We feel proud to know that those selling homes here believe in our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Thank you!

Volunteers from Peggy Crowe’s team at the Arden job site this month.