AAHH Announces New Executive Director

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (February 2, 2016) — Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity today announced that Andy Barnett has been named as its new Executive Director. Barnett succeeds longtime Executive Director Lew Kraus, who has announced his retirement from the position.

Barnett comes to the affiliate from St. Paul, Minnesota, where he has been Coordinating Consultant for the Frogtown Rondo Home Fund for the last three years. Frogtown Rondo Home Fund is a unique collaboration of over 30 community, philanthropic, and local government organizations focused upon enriching the quality of life in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods of St. Paul. The Frogtown Rondo Home Fund connects and enhances public and private housing resources and activities in a very diverse section of the city, seeking to bring visible stability to the area while addressing residents’ most pressing housing needs.

Prior to his three years with Frogtown Rondo Home Fund, Barnett was with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity for nearly 14 years. During his tenure with one of the most innovative Habitat affiliates in the nation, Barnett served in a variety of roles including Site Supervisor, Director of Construction, and Director of Community Development. In 2010, as interim Director of Programs and Services, he co-chaired the affiliate’s participation in the prestigious Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, with responsibility for neighborhood engagement, family services, volunteerism, construction, logistics, gifts-in-kind, and events.

“Andy’s track record of hands-on leadership and experience with affordable housing initiatives at Twin Cities Habitat and Frogtown Rondo Home Fund will be great assets for both Asheville and Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity,” said David Whilden, Board chairman for the organization. “He comes to Asheville having made strong contributions to the cause of improving the lives of Twin Cities residents by building homes and stronger neighborhoods. We believe Andy is an excellent fit for our organization, our community, and our values of collaboration, opportunity, dignity, and empowerment.”

Barnett is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in Housing Studies. However, he is no stranger to Asheville and western North Carolina. He began his studies at Appalachian State University and started his career in affordable housing by helping establish a Habitat affiliate in Rockingham County, NC after attending a regional Habitat affiliate conference in Asheville that was held in 1993. Additionally, Barnett and his wife were married at the Asheville Botanical Gardens.

“The Board of Directors recognizes that we have been so fortunate to have someone with Lew Kraus’ tremendous character, energy, and capabilities as our leader for 28 years,” said Whilden. “The staff, homeowners, volunteers, donors, and supporters of Asheville Habitat have achieved remarkable things during this time. We are also very enthusiastic about having a leader succeed him, who will build upon that legacy and help achieve our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

Kraus added, “Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is considered a model Habitat affiliate, and we are grateful to have Barnett’s experience with that organization here in Buncombe County. His involvement with so many facets of the Habitat operation will be especially valuable in his role as Executive Director. Additionally, his experience with a community-based organization like the Frogtown Rondo Home Fund will be a great asset as we address the challenges of affordable housing in our neighborhoods.”

Barnett will begin his work as Executive Director in March.

Kraus/Cooper Cottage Celebrates Lifelong Dedication to Affordable Housing

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In 1988, Lew Kraus accepted a one-year position as Executive Director with Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity (AAHH). That one year commitment extended into 28 years of working to provide decent, affordable housing for families in our community. He will be retiring this spring.

Our organization is planning a number of events and initiatives to recognize and honor Kraus, the first of which was announced at an event celebrating the successful culmination of the organization’s $5M Building a Way Home campaign. To Kraus’ surprise, Board MeLew and Joan with signsmber Spencer Duin announced that the non-profit’s administrative building will be named in his honor. “You probably don’t realize it, but you are sitting in the Lewis J. Kraus Building,” he said to the audience. The signage will be installed this year.

Joan Cooper, long-time Family Services Director and Kraus’ wife, will retire as well. Duin announced that the Family Services Suite in the administrative building will be dedicated and named for Cooper’s own exceptional 26 years of service with the affiliate.

The organization has also decided that the most fitting way to honor the duo who made lifelong careers of helping families in need of safe, decent housing is to build a Habitat house in their name. The Kraus/Cooper Cottage will be built in Habitat’s Hudson Hills neighborhood and will
commence with a wall raising event at 12noon on Friday, February 26th.Donate to cottage button

Those who wish to give a gift to thank Lew and Joan for their dedicated service and wish them well in retirement are encouraged to donate to the Kraus/Cooper Cottage. (Please select Kraus/Cooper Cottage in Area of Support drop down menu.)

A new Executive Director will be named in the coming months and Kraus and Cooper will subsequently retire in March.

 

 

ReStore Manager Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

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DSC_0011At the recent national Habitat for Humanity Affiliate Conference in Atlanta, retired Asheville Habitat ReStore Manager Jay Sloan (L) was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was one of three recipients nationwide to receive this prestigious award. Frank Reed, Senior Director of ReStore Support at Habitat for Humanity International acknowledged Sloan’s accomplishments and mentioned how the Asheville ReStore stands as an example for ReStores across the nation.

Jay Sloan managed the Asheville Habitat ReStore from 1999 to late 2012 when he began his succession plan and became Donations Manager until his retirement in June 2014. During his time as General Manager he oversaw a relocation of the store from its original Biltmore Avenue space to its current location at 31 Meadow Road, and in 2011, a major renovation of the store that doubled its square footage. By the time he retired, the Asheville ReStore was running smoothly with 160 volunteers each week, and was ranked the #3 ReStore in the nation for gross sales in one store (out of over 775 ReStores). Under his leadership, sales increased more than 800% during his 13 year tenure!

“Jay brought more than a background in big-box retail to our organization in 1999. He brought the knowledge and deep understanding that every dollar of ReStore revenue enables us to serve more families in Buncombe County. Jay communicated that sense of mission to ReStore staff, volunteers, donors and customers. When you couple retail experience with passion for the mission you see the results. Today, the Asheville ReStore is the #2 ReStore in the nation,” stated Lew Kraus, Executive Director.

A video of Sloan that was shown at the award ceremony can be viewed here.

Habitat Welcomes Jill Franklin Home

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Originally from Asheville, NC, Jill Franklin is excited to return to her hometown and thrilled to have the opportunity to continuing working for Habitat for Humanity.

Recently hired as Family Selection Coordinator, Jill will be responsible for administering and documenting the family selection application process for our homeownership and home repair programs. This is familiar territory for Jill who has spent the past eight years in the same position at Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte (NC).

Prior to her career with Habitat Jill worked in banking and brings proficiency in mortgage loan origination and processing. She is also an NC Certified Housing Counselor, trained to provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues.

Jill holds a B.A. from Appalachian State University and a B.S.B.A, Administration and Marketing from UNC-Charlotte. When not at work, Jill can be found hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Welcome to the Asheville Habitat team, Jill — and welcome back to Asheville!

Farewell to our longtime ReStore Manager

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In 14 years of managing Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, Jay Sloan led the store to be the 3rd in the nation for sales – out of nearly 800 ReStores! Jay served as ReStore General Manager for 12 years and stepped into a position as ReStore Donations Manager in the recent two years to “ease into retirement” while Scott Stetson (formerly Assistant Manager) took the helm as ReStore General Manager. Asheville Area Habitat sincerely thanks Jay, who retired on June 30th, for his years of service and dedication to Habitat’s mission.

Recently, Habitat staffers and volunteers gathered at the store for a celebration to wish Jay well in his retirement. Many people spoke to his accomplishments and leadership style, sharing funny stories and sincere compliments. View the photos and watch the videos.

Scott said, “Over the years, Jay has armed me with the knowledge and the skills to run one of the best performing and most respected ReStores in the country, and I’m really proud to be a part of that. Jay taught me the value of our precious volunteers. He definitely taught me valuable lessons that will stick with me for many years to come here at the ReStore.”

Lew Kraus noted that from the year Jaystarted as General Manager in 1988 to the year he stepped down, sales increased by 1,170%. “Many of you have heard me say that 30 years ago it took us 18 months to build our first [Habitat] house, and now, we are starting a new house every three and a half weeks. Much of that is due to the success of the ReStore and the money it puts into this organization—and Jay, you’ve brought us there, so thank you for that.” Proceeds from ReStore sales are a valuable source of sustainable income to the affiliate, helping to cover AAHH’s administrative and fundraising expenses and provide funding for building programs.

Jay was quick to reply: “To hear everyone speak you’d think I did this all single-handedly. Well, it doesn’t happen that way. The reason this store has performed the way it has is because of staff and volunteers. They all wanted this store to be successful and to perform well… I want to thank all of you—you’re the reason the store is where it’s at today.”

Jay is now enjoying retirement with his wife, Dorothy, in South Carolina.

Habitat Welcomes New Home Repair Manager

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We are pleased to welcome Hugh Lipham as Home Repair Manager. In this new position, Lipham will coordinate the day-to-day Construction Services operations of the Home Repair program including: inspection, scope of work, pricing, scheduling, project planning, subcontractor coordination and acceptance.

Lipham comes to Habitat from The Housing Assistance Corporation in Hendersonville, where he worked as Director of Residential Development for more than seven years. Having managed affordable single-family and multi-family housing development activities for that agency, he brings a wealth of experience in affordable housing. Prior, Hugh served as a field coordinator of the very highly regarded emergency home repair program at The Appalachia Service Project. Hugh is also a licensed general contractor in North Carolina and has spent time in management with a family-owned business.

Asheville Area Habitat was one of the first Habitat affiliates to introduce Neighborhood Revitalization (Home Repair) as an extension of its new house construction program in 2009. This expansion of housing services was part of Asheville Habitat’s Building a Way Home campaign to triple the number of families served by 2015. Since 2010, the affiliate has completed more than 70 home repair projects in Buncombe County, ranging in scope from repairing walkways and improving accessibility, to replacing roofs and upgrading heating systems.

Bringing significant knowledge and experience, Lipham is a welcome addition to AAHH as the affiliate works to expand its home repair program in the coming years.