Tag Archive for: Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity

More than paper and staples

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By Rhonda Kensinger, Habitat Partner Family in process

Small children have no concept of time. Jimbo and Nick were no exception. I forgot about something I did – more out of self preservation from the “When are we going to Disney?” kind of questions than anything else – and that was to make a paper chain. Each day they would take a link off; that way they knew how many more days before an event would happen.

I forgot that until Nicholas presented me with my very own paper chain last Sunday. It had 200 links! How a doctor and a first-semester physical therapist student (Havely) have had time to cut and count and staple that many, I don’t know! But they did!

I took 7 links off last week. Here is a picture of a Habitat construction crew holding the 193 left to go. At the end of my last shift, I took off another 7. I’ll keep you posted with pictures as the chain shortens.

What I loved about doing this is that it made everyone, even the serious guys on the construction site, smile wide and big. The connection there was more than staples to paper.

Thank you Nick and Havely for putting my chain together!

Carney Place Wins Statewide Housing Award

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Four housing developments, including Asheville Area Habitat’s Carney Place, and the cities of Asheboro and Jacksonville recently received Housing North Carolina Awards for excellence in affordable housing. The winners were selected for affordability; design (attractiveness, energy-efficiency); contribution to the community; sustainability as affordable housing; and features such as services for residents and creative partnerships.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, the 25-year-old statewide awards recognize outstanding rental, homeownership and supportive housing developments that can serve as models for other communities. More than 1,000 people attended the awards luncheon that was part of the 2014 NC Affordable Housing Conference in Raleigh.

Great location, appealing design, energy-efficient construction – all at an affordable price. This is Carney Place. This 22-home Asheville Area Habitat neighborhood created with partnership from the City of Asheville, produced a community of energy-efficient, single-family homes in the trendy West Asheville area. With the city financing the land costs, Asheville Habitat for Humanity created a subdivision affordable to buyers who would have otherwise been priced out of this trendy and convenient part of town.

Making the homes even more affordable, construction to SystemVision™ standards will keep heating and cooling costs to an average of $25 to $35 per month. The two-, three- and four-bedroom homes range from 900 to 1,400 square feet, incorporate universal design features such as accessible bathrooms and at-grade or ramped entrances, and are Green Built NC certified through the use of high-efficiency vinyl windows and high-efficiency heat pumps, water heaters and appliances. Forgivable second and third mortgages provided by Habitat and the city of Asheville, plus zero-percent participation loans from the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, made the homes affordable to qualified buyers. In addition to helping build their own homes, homeowners completed 50 hours of homeownership education to help ensure that they will be able to maintain their investment.

To read more about the 2014 Housing NC Awards and other award-winning communities, please click here. Want to see Carney Place? Click here to watch a short video about the community.

Pisgah Brewing Company, F.A.T.E., Asheville Area Habitat and WNCW Join Forces for the end of season closer on the Outdoor Stage for WNCW’s 25th Anniversary

{From Pisgah Brewing Company press release}

Pisgah Brewing Company is hosting their end-of-season celebration for the Pisgah Brewing Outdoor Stage the last weekend of September, which will jointly benefit and celebrate 25 years of stellar local radio from the North Carolina media gem that is 88.7 WNCW. Pisgah and WNCW will also trade help hand-in-hand with Funding America Through Entertainment (FATE) as well as Asheville Area Habitat For Humanity for this special occasion. The free community event will take place on Saturday, September 27th and will feature a headlining set on the Outdoor Stage from local new-grass pioneers Acoustic Syndicate. Other acts for the event will include a special set from guitar virtuoso Shane Pruitt Band and Friends, as well as an opening set from the Pisgah Brewing house band, Phuncle Sam. The event is set to be an all day celebration with the gates opening at 4pm and music starting at 5pm. Click here for more information.

Bring your friends and family to what is sure to be a fantastically fun event!

Habitat Celebrates Completion of 9th “Women Build” Home

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On Friday, August 22nd at 3:30pm in Swannanoa, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity will hold a key presentation ceremony to celebrate the completion of its 9th Women Build home and the beginning of the Stynka family’s new future. With Women Build as the sponsor, the majority of the home was built by women from all walks of life—from college-aged volunteers to retirees.

Andrei and Rodika Stynka, the partner family, are scheduled to officially close on the home the following week. After putting in 400 hours of “sweat equity” at Habitat’s jobsites, ReStore, and in homeownership preparation classes the family will become legal Habitat homeowners with an affordable 0% interest mortgage. With their two young children they will start a new life in a community surrounded by Habitat neighbors they met during their sweat equity process.

Women Build is Habitat for Humanity’s program for women who want to learn construction skills and build homes and communities. The purpose of Women Build is not to exclude men, but to focus on including women in the home building process. The house is mostly built by female volunteers and construction supervisors. A team of women comprise the Women Build advocacy team (WOMbats), and the major sponsors are predominantly female. Major sponsors for this particular Women Build house are: Global Village Teams in Support of Women Build, Minigowin Fund, Publix Super Markets Charities, and “The Three Marthas”. Lowe’s is the national underwriter of the Women Build program. Additionally, the WOMbats raised money using an online crowd-sourcing platform.

This year, the WOMbats focused on a “recipe” theme. Event attendees are encouraged to bring a favorite hand-written recipe which will be included in an album and presented as a gift to the family. The recipe theme represents the many “ingredients” which are needed to build the home: community support, donors, volunteers, building materials, and a partner family. A recipe for success!

First-Ever Family Vacation

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We love hearing success stories from our families—it is “gas in our tank” as we like to say. The other day, our Family Support Administrator, Jeff Paul, was catching up with a Habitat homeowner who moved into her home last October. She is a single mother with three children. Asheville Area Habitat’s homeownership program is designed to set families up for success. When we hear a story like the one below, it is affirmation that the process is working.

Here, we see three aspects of our program at play: All partner families are required to take classes prior to purchasing their home. Among the many classes, one is “Manage Your Money” offered by OnTrack Financial, where families learn about budgeting and planning ahead. Another is our Homebuyer Education Class, taught by Jeff, in which he teaches families how to wisely purchase a car without creating a new financial burden for their family. Additionally, all Asheville Area Habitat houses are Green Built NC certified—they are environmentally friendly and very energy efficient. Of course, once the family purchases the home, it is up to them to use what they learned.

What Jeff had to report from their conversation was definitely gas in our tank!

I had a nice conversation with Felicia today out at Swannanoa. Felicia closed on her Thrivent sponsored Habitat home last fall. I asked how her summer is going, she said “AWESOME!!!” Since moving into their house, she has been carefully monitoring her expenses and is amazed at the difference the house has made. Her water bill runs about $80 every other month and her electric bill has not been above $83. Previously, in her trailer, those were numbers to dream of. Recently, her minivan started causing trouble and was in need of some very expensive repair work. She shopped around and found a newer vehicle for a smaller payment, so she traded in the old minivan. She said she has been very careful with the extra money at the end of the month and has been making sure she stashes a portion of the savings in the bank.

During our conversation, her daughters came running out; they were all excited because, “Mom is taking us to the beach!” This is their first vacation as a family…EVER! Felicia said that in the past she was always too stressed out about making ends meet, their living conditions, and how she was going to provide a better life for her kids to even think about taking a vacation. They will soon head to the South Carolina coast for a very well-deserved family vacation. Her Habitat house is most definitely the “hand up” that this family needed.

We parted ways after she showed me the flowers and vegetables her kids were growing. It made me proud to be a part of an organization that creates these types of opportunities.

 

Tag Archive for: Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity

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