From Surviving to Thriving

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By Bill DuPre, Habitat for Humanity NC

It’s a steep walk up the drive to Will and Savannah Alshaer’s new home in Mars Hill, NC. But once you’re there you can see a long way.

Vision was a big topic at the home’s dedication in late October. The tidy three-bedroom, two bath home is the first project in years for the Madison County Habitat for Humanity affiliate. It was built with help from the Asheville Habitat affiliate and a big boost from the State Employees Credit Union Foundation’s $10 million Mountains-to-the-Sea Challenge – to build a Habitat for Humanity home in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

“It’s been really great for us to be a part of bringing Habitat for Humanity back to Madison County,” said Andy Barnett, executive director of the Asheville Habitat affiliate. “A couple of years ago, SECU reached out to North Carolina” with an audacious idea to take Habitat to places in the state that had never benefited from Habitat’s global reach.

“No state has done this,” Barnett said. “But it did something even more important. It helped us look at our vision differently. Somehow Habitat for Humanity has figured how to work in 50 or 60 countries around the world but we haven’t figured out how to work together across the county line.”

That comment brought laughs from the dedication crowd, but Barnett was serious about the need. “To make sure that everywhere in our region benefits, we’re sharing the resources we have with each other to make sure that our mission that everyone has a place to call home can really happen. If that can happen in Guatemala and Bangladesh it ought to be able to happen in Madison and McDowell and Swain county.”

That’s where SECU’s vision created a spark.“Sometimes organizations just need a bit of push,” Barnett said. It was a big push for the Madison affiliate; once the Alshaer family assumes a zero-percent-interest loan from SECU, the money will be returned to the affiliate so that another home can be built.

For Savannah and Will, parents of Lyla and her younger sister Violet, move-in day, set for mid-November, will be a blessing. “Thank you to everybody who made this happen,” Savannah told the dedication crowd. “This is definitely a life-changing event. It’s bringing us out of a nasty cycle and it’s going to give us a boost so we can flourish in this community and set down permanent roots and feel much more secure as a family.”

The couple have a long history together: Will and Savannah met in a 10th-grade horticulture class. While the attraction was mutual, they were still young, so for a time they went their separate ways. Savannah went on to earn a degree in art education while Will became an expert mechanic. When their paths crossed again, they realized that they were much better together than apart. They married and moved to Mars Hill, a quaint college town of about 1,600 souls 20 miles north of Asheville.

On this day, the clarity of that decision was evident.“This takes so much stress away,” she continued, “so we can do good things for this community instead of just surviving. We’re excited to be here and so grateful we can raise our kids in this town. I was always drawn here as a child. I can’t believe it’s happening.”

 

 

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When drug activity in her neighborhood led to increased violence, LaQuila Harris and her daughter began spending their days at work and school, and their evenings anywhere but at their apartment. It was exhausting and LaQuila knew they could not continue living like that.

Kedric Justice noticed increased drug activity and crime where he was living too. Having lost his own father to violence, he was painfully aware that crime wasn’t just something that happened to other people. And, his rent had sky-rocketed to $900/month.

Drug activity was on the rise where Staci Williams and her children were living too. And because it was an income-based apartment, she feared getting a raise at work.

Benitia Henson had to convert a closet under the stairs into a makeshift bedroom for her son.

A search for something better led all of these families to Habitat. Thank you for making the opportunity to purchase a safe, affordable Habitat house possible for local families. Together, we will empower 1,000 more families in the next decade to build better futures on safe, stable housing.

To view photos from the 4-house dedication, please click here.

Thank you to the businesses & individuals who sponsored these homes: Bank of America Merrill-Lynch, the coalition of local business that supported the Business Bungalow House, Eaton, Ernest & Shirley Ferguson, The Ferguson Family,  friends of Jerry and Lou Towson who sponsored a lot in their name, The Guthy Family, our Legacy Builders Society, Publix Supermarket Charities, The Pullium Foundation, and Wicked Weed.

 

 

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!

Six More Families Are HOME

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The heat and threat of storms didn’t deter homeowners, sponsors, volunteers, staff and community well-wishers from welcoming six more families HOME. These six new houses, one of which is our 300th, are part of Habitat’s McKinley neighborhood off Taft Ave. in Shiloh. The homeowners completed hundreds of hours of sweat equity and homeownership education classes before purchasing their homes from Habitat. They will repay a 30 year, interest-free mortgage – payments that Habitat uses to build more houses. And their annual property tax payments will bolster the local tax base.

These homeowners are putting down roots in a community, in a neighborhood where everyone already knows each another. They took classes together and helped build each others’ homes. Now, they sit on their front porches, watch kids ride bikes in the safe cul-de-sac, and host family and friends for BBQs. And they can plan and save for the future because they know the rent won’t go up, the house won’t be sold, and the children won’t have to switch schools due to yet another unwelcome move. They are building strength, stability, and self-reliance on the foundation of a decent and affordable home. Thanks to all of you who provided your time, your voice, and/or your financial support!

To see photos from the event, please click here.

The homeowner families and sponsors are listed below:

The Collington family’s home – Sponsored by Eaton #9/Alice D. Hamling Foundation/Asheville Duathlon/Anonymous Foundation House and Blue Ridge X-Ray Company, Inc. (Adopt-a-Lot sponsor)

The Heatherly/Leach family’s home – Sponsored by W&S Charitable Foundation with proceeds from Warren Haynes Presents: The Christmas Jam and James Ferguson (Adopt-a-Lot Sponsor)

The Suber family’s home – Sponsored by W&S Charitable Foundation with proceeds from Warren Haynes Presents: The Christmas Jam and Virginia and Drew Litzenberger & Five Fingers Partnership (Adopt-a-Lot sponsors)

The Lucy family’s home – Our 300th house! Sponsored by Legacy Builder’s Society and Scott & Mary Gillam (Adopt-a-Lot sponsors)

The Fulga/Calburgan family’s home Sponsored by Land of the Sky Association of Relators House/Rusty Pulliam Foundation and Asheville Fence (Adopt-a-Lot sponsor)

The Knight family’s homeSponsored by Publix Super Market Charities House and Tom & Nancy Maher (Adopt-a-Lot sponsors)

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.

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.

It’s time again for “Before the Jam, Lend a Hand”!

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Saturday, December 12 will mark the 27th Annual Christmas Jam, presented by Warren Haynes. To date, the Christmas Jam has raised more than $1.8m for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, building houses and neighborhoods for hard-working low income Buncombe County families in need of safe, decent and affordable homes.

As in previous years, Habitat will again host local and out-of-town volunteers for Before the Jam, Lend a Hand. In the days leading up to the benefit concert, fans get involved – in a hands on way – with the cause that the Jam supports. Volunteers help both in the ReStore and on the construction site; on site, the volunteers help on various houses under construction, but some help to prepare the floor system and build the walls that will be raised at the Christmas Jam House wall-raising event on December 11th.

In our ReStore, we had Bryan Prim, Rich Granaas and Shawn Crisholm volunteering all day to make improvements to our well-worn conference room. They painted the room and removed carpet in preparation for new laminate flooring. Over a catered lunch from Village Wayside Bar & Grille, one of the lunch sponsors of the event, Shawn explained what led her and Rich to volunteer.

“We have been fans of Warren Haynes’ music forever, and we came to Asheville for the music,” she said (they recently moved here from Virginia). “This is our first time getting to volunteer with Habitat, though.”

It was this love of the music that led them to volunteering, and they even have a block on an online radio station dedicated solely to the music of Warren Haynes.

“We’ve been to the Jam before and we love the show and it’s for such a great cause,” Shawn said. “We’re really thankful that Habitat does this.”

The event is not just a way for music fans to get involved, but also a means for potentially new volunteers to begin with us at Asheville Area Habitat. Bryan Prim, while new to the area, has volunteered with another Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Pensacola, FL, where he racked up over 100 hours with them.

“When I moved, I looked to continue volunteering here,” Bryan said. “I believe in the cause.”

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This holiday season, help change the future.

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Thanks to an affordable Habitat mortgage, Maria Lomeli, a warehouse forklift operator, is now able to provide her children with an opportunity that she didn’t have at their age – higher education.

Her children took her advice and studied hard in their new, quiet and safe home. Now, her daughter, Maria, is at UNC-Asheville, Abel attends UNC-Chapel Hill, and Emmanuel studies at Berea College in Kentucky. Josue, a junior at Asheville High School, has his sights set on attending UNC-Chapel Hill, too. In the face of Asheville’s housing crisis, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity is committed to providing more hardworking families, like the Lomelis, an opportunity to own a home – a home that can be the foundation for growth and success.

Donate ButtonYou can change the future for families in our community.
Please donate today.

P.S. – Every dollar matters! $10 can buy a
porch light, $50 a kitchen sink, $150 a front door…

Thank You Thrivent!

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by Jonathan Dermid

Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity is a multi-year, multi-million dollar mission partnership between Thrivent Financial and Habitat for Humanity International. Thrivent is the largest non-government partner and sponsor of Habitat for Humanity, and this is the eighth year that Thrivent Financial has sponsored a Habitat house here in Buncombe County. Each time, they have donated 50% of the affiliate’s construction costs ($75,693), which is nearly 1½ times the designated full-house sponsorship level.

This year’s Thrivent Builds House partner family is the Hodoroba family. Originally from Moldova, Ion and Natalya have lived in the Asheville area since 2010. For more than five years, Ion has worked as a forklift driver for Carolina Transportation. Natalya stays at home to raise the children. They have a 3 year old, 2 year old daughter and a newborn baby girl.

With unseasonably warm temperatures and under sunny skies, today was a beautiful day for the dedication of their new home. (Photos coming soon!) The family is thrilled to be moving from an old, moldy apartment to their new GreenBuilt NC home complete with a yard, in a neighborhood full of children. And they are grateful for their house sponsor, Thrivent Builds and the partnering churches, that helped make their dream of home ownership a reality.

Today’s dedication event was made even more special by our special guests. We are pleased to be hosting Thrivent volunteers from Ohio, Wisconsin, and elsewhere around the country. They are spending the week working on our jobsite as part of Thrivent Builds Worldwide, showing a solidarity that goes beyond Asheville. These Thrivent members, through their loyalty to and trust in Thrivent, are providing both funding to build Habitat houses and making a hands-on contribution by volunteering.

In addition to this visiting team, we have our local Thrivent partners to thank. “We’re fortunate to be partnered again with Abiding Savior, Emmanuel, Nativity, and St. Mark’s in our Thrivent Build, as these folks volunteered on the house and have really been the backbone of the construction,” Betsy Warren said. “If we didn’t have the full support of our Thrivent Financial representatives, this would not be possible, so we thank them for that.”

Ed Hauser is one of the Thrivent representatives that makes the Thrivent homes come together, acting as the Chapter Build Specialist and doing background work that involves things like writing grants and planning events for the local Thrivent chapter. “I’ve been involved on the college level with grant writing and applications,” Ed said, “so it was a natural fit to be able to work with the local Habitat affiliate, particularly an outstanding one like Asheville Area Habitat, to bring something like this to fruition.”

Ed’s drive to give back comes from his own childhood experience. “I grew up the oldest of 14 children, and we lived in a 1,200 square foot farmhouse with no running water and a wood-burning stove,” he said. “So I know what it’s like to live in poverty.”

This experience allowed him to gain an appreciation for helping others as he was helped, and sees his work with Thrivent Builds as an extension of that.

“I’m thankful for so many people who helped me along the way, particularly when it came to college, because I was the first one of my family to go to college,” he said. “So, the gratification for me comes from helping others in a similar way, and in terms of Christian love and sharing, Thrivent Builds with Habitat is just such a great opportunity to give back.”

We at Asheville Area Habitat appreciate this love and sharing, and thank all of our Thrivent partners for everything that they have done, and continue to do, in the name of service.

Strong Response Provides Launching Pad for Business Bungalow #2

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Local businesses are deeply concerned about the lack of affordable housing in Asheville, and they’re doing something about it. The response to our first ever Business Bungalow was so great that the house is fully funded and we have seed money to start a second Business Bungalow House!

#23_BizBungalow_8.26.15 (3)Thanks to an anonymous donation through the Community Foundation of WNC, Asheville Area Habitat launched it first-ever “Business Bungalow” House this past summer. All donations to the house by local businesses, were matched (up to $25,000) by that caring donor. This house (pictured left) is nearing completion and will soon be home to the Booth family.

Affordable housing is one of the most pressing unmet needs in our region. A recently released report* indicated 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. Numerous articles about the topic have been written in Mountain Xpress and the Asheville Citizen-Times, to name a few.

We are grateful to all the sponsors (listed below) who supported our first-ever Business Bungalow and we hope their support will inspire you to get involved with Business Bungalow #2.

How to get involved:
Donate
Donations of all sizes are welcome and appreciated. All donors will receive a special window cling (decal), be recognized in AAHH’s annual report (printed and online) and be included in a printed program at the dedication of the house. Click the green button to donate and select Business Bungalow under Area of Support.

Businesses that give $250 will be recognized as Housing Champions and will also receive the following benefits: the option to schedule one on-site volunteer workday, and a listing on AAHH’s website for the duration of the build (approximately six months).

Sponsorship opportunities ($1,000 and up) are also available. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/AAHHsponsorships or contact Betsy Warren, Sponsorship Coordinator, at bwarren@ashevillehabitat.org  or 828.210.9363.

Please click here to learn more.

 

THANK YOU TO OUR BUSINESS BUNGALOW SPONSORS!

$25,000 Challenge Sponsor:
Fidel Duke Fund of the Community Foundation of WNC

Partial House Sponsors:
AvL Technologies ($20,000)
Publix Super Markets Charities ($10,000)

Blueprint Sponsors ($1,000):
Alice D. Hamling Foundation
Alicia Rodriguez DDA PA
Altamont Environmental, Inc.
Anonymous
Asheville Downtown Association
Asheville Fence
Beverly-Hanks & Associates
BlueStar Hospitality Fairfield Inns
Bart and Elaine Boyer
Boys, Arnold & Company
Team Browne – Keller Williams
Brunk Auction
Carlton Architects
Charlie and Pat Clogston
Community Foundation of WNC
Corner Kitchen and Chestnut
Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community
Erie Insurance
Gerry and Nancy Kitch
Mark A. Kleive DDS
Mast General Store, Inc.
New Morning Ltd.
Smokey Park Supper Club
WCQS

Housing Champions ($250):
Allergy Partners of WNC
Ambiance Interiors
Anonymous
Atlanta Bread Company
Bankers Insurance
The Bayshore Company
Builders FirstSource
Clean Environments
Kit and Mark Cramer
Dennison and Kay Crews
Daniels Group
Eaton Corporation
Groce Funeral Home
Harry’s on the Hill
Jeff and Anne Imes
Kilwin’s Chocolates, Fudge & Ice Cream
Leslie and Associates, Inc.
McAbee & Associates, PA
Mediterranean Restaurant
Milkco, Inc
One Who Serves
Parsec Financial
Power Plus Electrical Service, Inc.
Rankin Vault
RealtyPro – Michael White
Silver-Line Plastics
Skyrunner
Twin Hills Structure, PLLC
Hank and Nancy Young

 

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