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A empty field to 21 homes, a thriving community

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Asheville Habitat is excited to announce the completion of its first neighborhood in South Buncombe- a 21-home community in Arden. Preliminary infrastructure began in the fall of 2016 and the last family bought their home, Student Build #4, in April of 2019.

Diverse Group of Sponsors Help Empower Five Families to Build Better Futures

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By Zoe Trout 

More than 100 Habitat friends and supporters recently gathered at Givens Estates for a 5-Home Dedication. Typically held on the jobsite, we take this celebratory event indoors in February and serve a warm chili lunch. Given’s graciously donated the space this year and their amazing culinary team prepared a delicious meal. We are grateful for their ongoing partnership and this new form of support. 

With five homes being dedicated, the program was filled with words of joy from all different voices – faith communities, businesses, and individuals. The event started with music from Aaron Price, Music Director at West Asheville Presbyterian Church—a longtime partner in the Presbyterian Methodist House. Their annual benefit concert for the Presbyterian Methodist House will take place on February 24 (reschedule from January 20). Lynn Bledsoe, Chaplin for Givens Estates did the invocation for the event and recited the E.E. Cummings poem, “I thank You God for most this amazing day”. 

I thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes 

We celebrated more “yeses” with the 35th Anniversary House presented by AvL Technologies. On behalf of the company, Krystal Dredge presented a ceremonial key to Celia Ramirez, who closed on her home in Arden in December. Celia thanked everyone for their support– the sponsors of her house, her employer Diamond Brand, and all the volunteers that worked on her home. She choked up a little when describing what it meant for her and her son to celebrate Christmas and the New Year in their new home. 

Robyn Mondin of sponsoring business Wells Fargo presented a ceremonial key to Mary Leake, who purchased the Voluntourism House in January. This home celebrates the many visiting groups that come to Asheville and support Habitat’s work financially and through volunteer service. “My favorite part of the Habitat process was working on the jobsite building my house and my neighbor’s homes,” she noted. 

Merritt Moseley, a volunteer at Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church presented a key to Shaketia Simpson and her two children, who had just closed on their home (the Presbyterian-Methodist House 27) the day before! Merritt has been volunteering with Habitat for 10+ years and coordinates volunteers from Asbury UMC annually for the Presbyterian Methodist House, or as he calls it – the Methodist Presbyterian House! 

Tyerecka Howell will purchase the 20th Interfaith House in March. There with her older son, she told the crowd about her struggles to complete her sweat equity after the pre-term birth of her youngest son a few months before. But with the support of Habitat and her family, she was able to complete most of her hours while on maternity leave. Presenting Tyerecka with her key was Nancy Sehested the pastor at Circle of Mercy, one of the Interfaith House congregations. She recapped her experience of participated in our “Clergy Build” day on the jobsite last year, noting how invigorating it was to build together with people of all different faiths and backgrounds. 

Jack Webb and Nancy Allen presented a key to Iurii and Galyna Lanovyi. Cassie Dillon was also a sponsor of this home. Of this family that immigrated to the US for religious asylum, Jack spoke about their incredible hard work and determination. Despite a language barrier, the connection between these sponsors and the homeowner family is very strong, and was quite evident.  

Near the end of the program, Marge Marsh, a longtime ReStore volunteer and a resident of Givens Estates, led guests in a lovely Litany of Dedication. This event celebrated the last of the homes in the 21-house Arden neighborhood. United around the vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live, this joyous event brought many different people from various backgrounds together to celebrate what is accomplished when people work together for a common goal.  

To see a few photos from the event, click here.

If you’d like to learn about Habitat sponsorship opportunities, please click here or contact Beth at brusso@ashevillehabitat.org 

 

A Strong Start for Women Build #13

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Women Build House #13 officially began construction April 17, and since then Asheville Habitat has seen numerous dedicated groups of sponsors out at the jobsite in Arden lending a hand. There may have been a lot of rain, but that didn’t put a damper on the volunteers or the house progress. Volunteers worked diligently, under the watchful eye of Construction Supervisor John Meadows, to build frames for the walls and raise them. Several Blueprint Sponsors were present at the jobsite- WomBATS kicked-off the build and this week the Fiji Hammerheads, Peggy Crowe Realtor, and the Wild Bodemas all spent a day working together on Ashley Blankenship‘s future home.

For the 11th year, Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s are engaging women nationwide to work together to build Habitat homes during this year’s National Women Build Week from May 5-13, 2018. On Friday, May 11th Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s hosted a special volunteer work day where Women Build and Lowe’s volunteers worked alongside future homeowner Ashley Blankenship on Women Build House #13 and then celebrated together with a potluck lunch and a home dedication. Renowned cookbook author and homesteader Ashley English of Small Measure joined and talked about the importance of community and home.

To see a WLOS clip, click here.

Click here to view a photo gallery from the event!

Thank You March Madness Volunteers!

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As we near the end of this year’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity takes a look back to recognize all the amazing students and Collegiate Challenge groups who traveled to Asheville in March to volunteer with us. Students came from all over the country including the University of Florida, College of Charleston, University of Wisconsin, and Lesley University (Massachusetts).

Click this photo to view an album!

Students worked at the jobsite in Arden, alongside future homeowners and core volunteers. The highlight of the week is always a group dinner with a homeowner family. Lesley University students and future homeowner LaQuila Harris celebrated Pie Day on March with pizza and dessert pies!

“It’s amazing to see different people coming together, and see the students really learn and connect,” Construction Services Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Wallace recalled. “Core volunteers rallied together to get Biltmore Estate tickets for each group of students, going above and beyond to make the students’ experience in Asheville that much more memorable.”

Lesley University students with LaQuila Harris and her daughter in the ReStore.

Stephanie added, “The generosity around this particular month was really special.”

For many of the students, this experience is one they will never forget and leaves a lasting impact. Stephanie recalled Sofia Atzrodt, a University of Florida student, who began the week very timidly and lacking confidence in her building skills at the jobsite. Throughout the week, with mentorship from the construction staff, Sofia became empowered and really flourished.

“I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from a week long Habitat trip with eight strangers, but I have come out of it with close and meaningful friendships, a new sense of purpose, and a different perspective of the world,” Sofia remarked.

University of Florida student Ajay Patel offered this reflection: “The experience of building something for another human cannot be paralleled. These people blew us away with their hospitality, life knowledge, and especially warm hearts. If done correctly this experience should help restore your faith in humanity.”

 

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!

Wicked Weed Donates $75,000

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Rick Guthy (left) presents check to Andy Barnett, Robby Russell and Beth Russo of Asheville Habitat

 

Recently, Wicked Weed Brewing’s co-founder Rick Guthy presented Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity with a $75,000 donation. “We are very grateful to the Guthy family and to Wicked Weed for their generous gift. We will use this gift to build a safe, affordable Habitat home in our new community in Arden, just up the road from Wicked Weed’s corporate offices,” said Kit Rains, Development Director for Asheville Habitat.

Asheville Habitat’s Executive Director Andy Barnett added, “I am grateful for Wicked Weed’s philanthropic leadership. With this generous investment in Habitat’s mission, Wicked Weed makes it clear that they believe our community can be a place where everyone has a decent, affordable place to call home.”

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.

 

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