Meet office volunteers Aaron Finkel and Steven Casciato

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Affectionately dubbed “The Boys,” Aaron Finkel and Steven Casciato are our exceedingly dedicated volunteers tasked with conquering piles of waivers and sign-in sheets ­– a task vital to the efficient operation of our large volunteer program.

Home Repair through the eyes of volunteer Austin Brown

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If you ask Austin Brown about his favorite moment as a volunteer with Asheville Habitat, his answer might sound like a platitude: “they all are.” But that is not a brush-off.

Habitat receives transformational gift from MacKenzie Scott

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Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, Habitat for Humanity International and 83 Habitat affiliates receive transformational $436M gift from MacKenzie Scott

Asheville Habitat will use gift to address affordable housing shortage in Buncombe and Madison Counties

ASHEVILLE, NC (March 22, 2022) — Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, along with Habitat for Humanity International and 83 U.S. Habitat affiliate organizations, recently received $436 million in unrestricted giving from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. [Of that, Asheville Habitat received $5M.] This transformational donation will substantially help further Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has equitable access to a safe, decent and affordable place to call home.

“We are incredibly grateful and honored to receive this gift. It comes at an opportune time as we are finalizing our ambitious five-year strategic plan that will keep us on track to realize our current 10-year vision of serving another 1,000 families by 2028,” shared Andy Barnett, Executive Director of Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.

Over the next 3-5 years, Asheville Habitat will use the $5 million donation to ramp up its home repair program, accelerate its new home construction program in Buncombe County, expand services to Madison County, and secure land to build future Habitat neighborhoods.

Affordable housing is needed more than ever before. Housing costs far outweigh local salaries and nearly half of all households in Buncombe County (48.5 percent) are “cost-burdened,” meaning that they pay more than 30 percent of income toward housing. Nearly two in five households in Buncombe are “severely” cost-burdened, paying half of more of all income to meet housing costs. “Receiving these generous and unrestricted funds allows us to scale up our work and meet more of the growing needs of our region,” added Barnett.

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About Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity
Founded in 1983, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity was the first Habitat affiliate in North Carolina. Through Habitat homeownership and home repair programs, 2,000 adults and children in Buncombe County have achieved the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build a better future. A decent place to call home and an affordable mortgage enables Habitat homeowners to save more, invest in education, pursue opportunities and have greater financial stability. Learn more about Asheville Area Habitat, a Charity Navigator 4-star non-profit, and how you can get involved at ashevillehabitat.org.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in south Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

 

 

 

 

First Two Aging in Place Homebuyers Move HOME

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Thanks to a partnership with Deerfield, 8 single-level Aging in Place (AiP) townhomes specifically designed for low-income aging adults are being built in Asheville Habitat’s New Heights neighborhood– and the first two buyers recently moved in.  

5 Reasons to Donate to Asheville Habitat

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A donation to Asheville Habitat makes homeownership possible for all of our neighbors, helps provide a stable foundation so children can thrive, allows homeowners to age in their communities, helps break the cycle of poverty, and helps families build strength, stability and self-reliance.

5 Reasons to Volunteer with Asheville Habitat

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5 Reasons to volunteer with Asheville Habitat: the people, the process, the product, the byproduct, and the legacy.

Volunteers needed to build largest-ever neighborhood

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We are currently building New Heights, our most ambitious neighborhood to-date, and community volunteers are invited to help build. Take an active role in ensuring everyone has an affordable place to call home by learning new skills or honing existing ones while working alongside community-minded people and future Habitat homeowners.

Asheville Habitat has been bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope for nearly four decades. The reasons people donate their time and talent to Asheville Habitat are as varied as the volunteer themselves. Those who so enjoyed volunteering once on the Women Build House that they keep coming back every week. Those that spent decades in a corporate boardroom and simply want to do something totally different in retirement. Those that work for a company that sponsors Asheville Habitat and therefore have the opportunity to participate in an employee build day. Those that are in high school and learning about our region’s affordable housing crisis. Those putting faith into action by working on a house their church sponsors. How people come to volunteer with Asheville Habitat is wide-ranging. Why they continue to volunteer is the same: Comradery. Meeting the families. Fulfillment. Fun. Making a difference. Feeling part of something bigger.

If you are ready to be the change you want to see in the world, learn more and sign up now or call 828.251.5702. “Volunteers are truly an extension of our staff,” shares Construction Services Volunteer Manager Stephanie Wallace. “We offer year-round opportunities for those age 16+. It’s hard work, but very rewarding. Stepping back at the end of the day, you can SEE the difference you’ve made and feel proud about it.”

If construction isn’t your cup of tea, contact Carrie at 828.210.9381 or cburgin@ashevillehabitat.org to learn about volunteer opportunities in the Asheville and Weaverville ReStores. Proceeds from ReStore sales support Habitat’s building programs, so your volunteer efforts there directly support affordable housing, too. Volunteer positions include customer service, such as running the cash register and providing sales support on the floor; intake and receiving; sorting and processing donations; testing and repairing appliances; and other fun opportunities. Learn more and sign up today!

Home Repair Makes Big Impacts

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Home Repair For Enews Aug2017

The Asheville Habitat Home Repair Program is an affordable housing superstar that tends to stay out of the spotlight while having a huge impact on our communities. It is integral in improving affordable housing in our area as it helps low income and older adult residents live better in their homes, for longer. Whether fixing a leaky roof, installing a ramp, or replacing heating systems, Asheville Habitat’s affordable home repairs enable homeowners to live safely, and with dignity, where it may otherwise have been financially out of reach. Home repair preserves the character, affordability, and diversity in our local neighborhoods and allows long-time residents to stay in their most affordable option- the home they already own, and avoid being priced out of their community. It is clear why this type of affordable housing program is vital to our community and why 75% of the families served through Asheville Habitat are home repair clients.

In an effort to learn more about the impact of home repair on the lives of our clients, as well as learn how the program can improve, Asheville Habitat AmeriCorps member Jessica Gustines, recently conducted a survey of 103 households who were served through the Home Repair program between 2018 and 2021. Between March, 2018 and July, 2021, the Asheville Habitat Home Repair program completed 135 repair jobs through a broad range of services, including accessibility modifications, heating/cooling systems repair, roof repair, floor repair, interior and exterior repairs, and exterior painting/staining. Jessica personally chatted with over 100 families, verbally collecting feedback on various parts of the Home Repair program process. Families were asked to rank on a scale of 1-5, how the repair job impacted various aspects of their life in their home. The biggest impacts were in the safety and longevity of clients homes with the enjoyment of their homes close behind.  However, every category scored above a 4.5 (out of 5), a very telling outcome!

Survey Results Infographic

Survey Results

Jessica recalls that outside of the high rankings in all the categories, many clients were effusive in their praises of the program. She heard many times how kind, courteous, and diligent the team was and how happy the clients were to have the team working in their homes. She also heard many times that the families would not have been able to get the repairs done without Habitat’s affordable program, and families expressed much gratitude for making repairs possible for them.

The survey revealed overwhelmingly positive results- confirming both the great need for affordable home repair and the quality of the work done by Asheville Habitat’s program. Home repairs done through the AAHH program are not free, but because of generous donors, sponsors and grants, the cost is significantly lower, and families are set up with a short-term payment plan they can afford. In fact, the data collected by this survey has been used to secure future funding to continue to grow this much needed service in our community.

After completing the survey process, Jessica commented, “It’s obvious the need is great and our program is successfully addressing that need. But I know that despite our best efforts there are many people and repairs we cannot serve or address. I think the repair program is really important for maintaining affordability though preserving the existing stock of affordable homes in the area. It is essential work to take care of the people that have been living here their whole lives. While there are a few other affordable repair programs in the area, it’s definitely an issue that could use more attention, manpower, and resources.”

If you would like to sponsor a home repair through Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, contact Beth Russo at 828-407-4487 or email brusso@ashevillehabitat.org.

Lumber prices adds to challenge of building affordable housing

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Skyrocketing building material prices, supply chain issues, and a building boom has created a challenging environment in which to build affordable housing. Unlike other builders, Asheville Habitat can’t pass on to homebuyers increased costs.

My One Year Reflection

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While we wait for our shots, I’ve been reflecting on how this experience provides a new way to think about the goal of building a community where all of our neighbors have a healthy and stable home. At a 2019 fundraising event, I quoted Dr. Megan Sandal comparing housing to a vaccine.