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.

Tickets On Sale for the 7th Annual Poverty Forum

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The 7th annual Poverty Forum “Evicted: Housing Crisis in WNC” is hosted by Pisgah Legal Services and presented with Mountain Housing Opportunities, Homeward Bound and Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.

Please join us for a community conversation about affordable housing issues in WNC and how we can work together to bring about change.

Dr. Matthew Desmond is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project.

His New York Times bestselling book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City draws on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data. Evicted won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, National Books Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

In 2015, Desmond was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” grant.

Event info:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Sherrill Center/Kimmel Arena, UNC Asheville

5:30pm – Cocktail Reception with Matthew Desmond
7:00pm – Forum

To buy tickets, click here

FREE Reuse Documentary Film Screening

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Join us at the Asheville Area Habitat ReStore (31 Meadow Road) to screen the documentary REUSE! Because You Can’t Recycle The Planet. Learn about different ways people across the country reuse materials, and be inspired on what you can do, too! Habitat ReStore and Asheville Greenworks staff will kick off the evening with a brief introduction.

Entry is free,with free beer (thanks to Hi-Wire) and popcorn during the show. Bring a friend! All attendees will also receive a 20% coupon for the ReStore. Please RSVP via the button below so we can get a headcount! Thanks!

 

About the documentary:
REUSE! Because You Can’t Recycle The Planet.

This film isn’t about our waste problem. It’s about solutions. And they are everywhere!
We live in a challenging time. Climate change and mass consumption is threatening our planet’s existence. Excessive extraction of natural resources has created immeasurable waste and pollution. This issue is complicated and imminent. While recognition and awareness is important, direct action is by far the most effective. But traditional recycling is not enough. The reuse mission offers a more sustainable solution that everyone can be a part of. REUSE! Because You Can’t Recycle The Planet follows Reuse Pro Alex Eaves’ cross-country adventure to the 48 contiguous U.S. states. On his journey, he finds endless reuse solutions for our waste problem that are not only sustainable, but many of which are easy and fun! And he learns just how reuse truly benefits “people, planet, and wallet.”
For more details on the documentary visit: reusedocumentary.com.

Building More than Houses

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Each February, we celebrate our Construction Services volunteers with an Appreciation Breakfast. This year nearly 80 volunteers and staff members gathered as we celebrated collective accomplishments, honored longevity, recognized significant hourly contributions, and talked about the future.

Here are a few highlights shared during the event:
• More than 50% of the total volunteer hours contributed to Asheville Habitat’s construction program in 2016, were contributed by 80 construction “core” volunteers! These folks volunteer on our jobsite at least one day each week.
• Collectively, construction cores provided 17,570 hours of volunteer service!
• 28 cores each contributed more than 250 hours of service last year. Each received a golden hammer pin.
• The highest hours earner was CJ Obara, with 641 hours!

Longevity awards recognize years of volunteer service:
• 5 years – Beth Greck and Buddy Tallant
• 10 years – Ross Akin, Alan Cutter, Joyce Davis, Lou Farquhar, Neil O’Sullivan, Ken Roth, Sharon Waugh, Jim Worley
• 15 years – Ray Ducharme, Bob Laveck
• 20 years – Ken and Carol Deal (pictured, R)

We celebrated staff milestones, too. John Meadows has been a Construction Supervisor for 10 years and Kenny Busch just reached the 15 year mark!

Director of Construction Services Paul Reeves noted that 2016 was a year of change, with multiple staffing changes and four different building sites. None the less, our staff and volunteers rose to the occasion and served the largest number of families to date. 44 Home Repair clients and 14 new homeowners in Buncombe County now have decent and affordable housing.

Looking forward, we’ll be moving to Arden in the early summer to begin a 21-house subdivision, and we’ll be building a Habitat house in McDowell County as part of the SECU Challenge to build or renovate 100 houses in 100 NC counties. Also, we will solidify plans to introduce multi-family housing on a 16-acre parcel in West Asheville that the City of Asheville is helping us secure.

Home Repair Supervisor Joel Johnson thanked his core volunteers, Lonnie Lief and Garland Walker, who have been volunteering consistently for 3 years. Home Repair is unlike new construction in that the scope of work varies from project to project and the jobsite often changes daily. It’s difficult to plan a volunteer calendar in advance, so we appreciate Lonnie and Garland’s flexibility and commitment to the growing Home Repair program.

We were also pleased to be joined by Jeff Staudinger (pictured below), the Community Development Director for the City of Asheville, who was able to put Habitat’s contributions into the larger affordable housing context. He expressed the City’s enthusiasm for Habitat’s upcoming higher density neighborhood in West Asheville (currently referred to as Cedar Hill). Staudinger also referenced statistics from the Bowen Report and reiterate the City’s commitment to creating new public/private partnerships, and continuing to work to remove barriers, increase density, and strengthen the relationship between housing and transportation. “Shelter is the foundation for everything else,” he noted. “And as Habitat volunteers, you are working directly on the affordable housing crisis.”

In closing remarks, Executive Director Andy Barnett reminded the audience, “You are volunteering regularly to build the kind of community you want to live in…you are the hearts, hands and voices of affordable housing. You embody our mission.”

Habitat volunteers build and repair houses – and they build community. They help families build strength, stability and self-reliance. If you would like to be part of the affordable housing solution, click here to learn about Habitat volunteer opportunities.

To see event photos, please click here.

 

Sign Up Now for Singles Build!

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This Valentine’s Day weekend 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. Lunch is generously provided by Moe’s Original Bar B Que! Participants (age 21+) will also take part in fun meet & mingle activities and will be invited to a Singles Build happy hour at Village Wayside Bar and Grille at the end of the day! (Thank you to Village Wayside for contributing 50% off coupons to our participants!)
No experience is necessary, just come prepared to work hard on our construction site and have a great time.

♥ Saturday, February 11, 2017

♥ 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the McKinley jobsite off Taft Avenue in Shiloh neighborhood.

Step 1 – Sign Up: Create an account and register using our online system.
Step 2 – Donate: Your $20 donation will complete your registration; please click here to donate online. Please choose “Singles Build” as your Area of Support.
Step 3 – Build! You will receive an email confirmation upon registration and a reminder before your build day on February 11th.

For more information, please contact Sammie Smith, Volunteer Services Intern.

 

Hudson Hills is complete!

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“I come home each day through the street filled with smiling children on bikes, playing on the sidewalks and shooting baskets through hoops. I come home to people visiting and sharing and laughing and smiling on their porches or walking their babies or puppy dogs. I come home to a sanctuary. A place filled with so much love. Hudson Hills Soulshine.”
~ Rhonda, Habitat homeowner

Successful affordable housing initiatives require the partnership of many constituent groups – public, private and municipalities. Last week, we celebrated the completion of our most recent neighborhood, Hudson Hills. It was made possible with the support of the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, the W&S Foundation (through Warren Haynes Presents: The Christmas Jam), and many local businesses, individuals, faith partners, and foundations. Funding was also provided by Habitat homeowner mortgage payments and ReStore proceeds. And in addition to funding, thousands of community volunteers – alongside future homeowners – built these homes.

House sponsor representatives presented ceremonial keys to the last six homes in the neighborhood, among a sea of children and large group of well-wishers. Executive Director Andy Barnett pointed out that three of the program participants have dedicated their careers to affordable housing: Bill Dowse from NCHFA (North Carolina Housing Finance Agency); Lew Kraus and Joan Cooper who recently retired from Asheville Area Habitat; and Jeff Staudinger, the City of Asheville’s Assistant Director of Community and Economic Development. Leadership from affordable housing advocates like these three, coupled with diverse funding partnerships, dedicated volunteers,  and future homeowner participation has proven time and again to be a recipe for a successful Habitat community.

With the strong foundation provided by decent and affordable homes, 24 more local families now have the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build a better future for themselves. With a decent place to live and an affordable mortgage, these homeowners can save more, invest in the future, pursue opportunities, and have more stability. THANK YOU to everyone who helped us build Hudson Hills, a beautiful community of decent, affordable, energy-efficient houses, that are being turned into homes.

To see photos from the October 14th dedication event, please click here.

To see a short video produced by Buncombe County TV, click here.

Commitment to Service Deserves Celebration

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By Kristen Keefer

Through a combined effort led by ReStore Volunteer Coordinator Carrie Burgin, the annual ReStore Volunteer Appreciation Party was a huge success! On Tuesday, September 20th, more than 150 attendees gathered at Highland Brewing Company in their new event space and savored a beautiful spread of food prepared lovingly by Events Committee chair Alice Donnelly. Volunteers, staff, and their guests also enjoyed live music performed by Hank Bones while sharing in the company of one another throughout the evening.

ReStore Manager Scott Stetson, began the program with a warm welcome while sharing his appreciation for how largely volunteer efforts contribute to a thriving ReStore; efforts that ultimately contribute to the Habitat’s ability to create affordable housing. Future homeowner Heidi Chapman and her two sons took the stage next, expressing excitement and gratitude. Executive Director Andy Barnett followed, interweaving volunteer contributions to the global impact of Habitat’s tithing program. For every home built in Buncombe County, Asheville Habitat tithes to affiliates in Guatemala, Malawi, Haiti, Bangladesh, or Egypt. This incredible tithe program is made possible through many efforts, including our volunteers’ unwavering commitment to service at Habitat.

Next came awards for length of service. Katie Caron, Diane McLean, Dan Shackelford, Arnold Willen, and Marci Windham were all recognized for volunteering for 5 years at the ReStore. Anne Connelly, Bruce Emory, Daphne Fox, Jim Goodson, Sherry Griffith, Connie Koiner, Laura Lowe, Jane Parmley, Betty Jo Readling, Ron Schmid, and Trina Summers were recognized for 10 years of volunteer service. Phil Casey, Bill Crownover, and Alan Williams were recognized for 15 years of service. Additional awards went to Helen Andrews and Bruce Tettemer. And, Shirley Studwell was presented with a special award for sharing her time and talent with Asheville Area Habitat for 25 years!

Thank you volunteers, new and long-standing, for all of your efforts! Day after day your talent, effort, and spirit make the ReStore a special place to be. Without your dedication, operating the Restore, and building homes both locally and globally would not be possible. Your joyful participation at the ReStore and your commitment to Habitat’s mission truly does make a world of a difference!

2016 ReStore ReUse Contest

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For the fifth consecutive year, the Asheville Habitat ReStore is encouraging residents to show off their creativity and talent for a chance to win the ReStore ReUse Contest. Garden shed, artist studio, chicken coop…tree house, dog house, playhouse…if you recently built a structure like this using predominantly reused building materials, Habitat wants to know! The contest runs July 1-August 31 and submissions must be sent electronically. Click here for entry form.

The purpose of the contest is to showcase innovative building projects constructed predominantly of used building materials. “Our customers often tell us about the projects they make using materials purchased at the ReStore. This contest is a great way to showcase their projects and inspire others to reuse, recycle and repurpose usable building materials and supplies,” said Scott Stetson, ReStore General Manager.

Five judges will select winners in the following categories: Furniture, Homesteading, Live/Work Space, and Best in Show. The public will be encouraged to vote for their favorite entry (People’s Choice Award) in the ReStore and on-line starting in early September. Details will be announced later this summer.

To see all photos from last year’s contest, please click here.

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The Du is Done!

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We were absolutely thrilled to be the non-profit partner of the Asheville Duathlon, 10K Trail Run and Gravel Grinder Bike Events this year! And we are equally excited to say that we raised $17,000 which will directly support our Shiloh: Let’s Build! campaign. Funds will be used to help build 15 new houses and repair 30 existing homes (in Shiloh) by September 2017.
We are so very grateful to our Team Habitat athletes, Team Habitat sponsors, raffle prize donors, all the volunteers, and our dedicated staff — and their spouses! It really does take a village. Thank you!

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!

EVENT SPONSOR: Alice D. Hamling Foundation

Champion Sponsors: Asheville Savings Bank | In Honor of Dr. Roger Domby by Bill Brown | Chris and Pam Cavanaugh | Steve and Debbie Miller | Silver-Line Plastics

Race Day Sponsors: Eaton Charitable Fund: Gail Stashick’s James Stover Award | Roston and Patricia Williamson

Finish Line Sponsor: Thomas and Gay Carman


To see the official race photos, click here.
To see full race results, click here. Congratulatons to these Team Habitat members for their podium finishes!
  • Stephanie Wallace – 10k, 3rd place overall (female open)
  • Sumaya El-Attar – 10k, 1st place age group
  • Ariane Kjellquist – Duathlon, 2nd place age group
  • Dotty McLean – Duathlon, 3rd place age group
  • Lucas Schuldt – Kids Du, 3rd place
To see a few of our photos, click here.
To see a video from one of our volunteers, click here.

100 Years Young

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By Ariane Kjellquist

Maybe it’s the 700 steps of exercise that he completes every morning at the Wellness Center. Maybe it’s good genes. Maybe it’s loving family and friends. Maybe it’s staying active and engaged in the community. Whatever his “secret to longevity”, longtime Habitat volunteer and supporter Clarence Schmidt turned 100 on Sunday, May 1; and he’s not resting on his laurels.

Clarence regularly visits the Asheville Habitat office and ReStore. He attends Skyland United Methodist Church and is involved with activities at Givens Estates, the retirement community where he lives. And he plays Wii bowling every Tuesday with a group that, only in recent years, switched from regular bowling to the computerized version.

When Clarence comes to the office, we all stop what we’re doing and listen. The stories of his life radiate with love, faith and purpose.

The son of a minister, Clarence was born in St. Francis, Kansas in 1916. He lived in many different places including Colorado, Nebraska and Jerusalem.

He and his late wife Lucille met in Chicago, IL when he was a junior and she was a freshman at North Central College. They waited until she graduated to be married at Thorndike Hilton Chapel on the University of Chicago campus. In 2014, they celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.

After searching high and low, their children pointed out that no greeting card company makes “Happy 75th Wedding Anniversary” cards – because very few couples reach that milestone. So they purchased a Happy 50th and a Happy 25th!

After marrying, he started his 44 year-long career with the YMCA. When he retired, he became a Habitat for Humanity volunteer; first in Tryon, NC and then for 20+ years with us at Asheville Area Habitat. He volunteered at the ReStore and on the ReStore truck loading and unloading donations until he was in his late 80’s. When his doctor advised him to find a less physically strenuous volunteer activity, he began collecting the recycling every week at the Habitat offices and taking it to the recycling center. It required less physical exertion, but he was still kneeling, squatting, lifting and pushing things around. He did this until he was age 97. Yes, 97.

Clarence exudes positivity and happiness like no one else I have ever met. He is always smiling.  Living to age 100 is impressive in and of itself. But Clarence did not just “make it” to 100. He is a centenarian who has, and continues to live a meaningful and active life, every day.  He is mentally acute and incredibly agile. I am not alone, when I say “I hope to be like Clarence some day.”

Clarence loves life and does not take it for granted. 100 years, two children, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren later, Clarence says “I have had a wonderful life. I am so blessed.”

He knows what is important – family, friends, faith and purpose. Personally, I think that – and probably good genes, too – is the key to his longevity.

From all of us at Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, Happy 100th Birthday Clarence!