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A Daily Exercise of Gratitude and Generosity

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By Zoe Trout

Beasley Family

The Beasley Family

Sarah and Andrew Beasley are always looking for ways for their children, age four and nine, to be more involved in giving back to their community. Like many parents, they want their children to be generous and kind, good citizens of the community. However, with limited options for children to volunteer in our area, they have struggled to find meaningful ways for their kids to give back. A way that Asheville Habitat involves kids in its work and mission is through a calendar activity called A Month for Habitat for Humanity. child receives a cardboard house bank and a calendar and are asked to follow the daily activities. The calendar has a different activity each day such as, “For each room in your house, deposit 10 cents… Add 5 cents per window in your house…. If you have a garage door opener, deposit 35 cents.” The activities require the participant to observe the house they live in and recognize and appreciate how much they haveand it offers them a way to give back.  

The Beasley children received the house banks one Sunday from their church. They attend Grace Episcopal Church, a longtime partner in the Episcopal House XIII. The Episcopal House is built every other year and is sponsored by Buncombe County Episcopal Churches and the Episcopal Diocese of WNC. Churches provide funding and volunteer on the construction site to build a house, which is then sold to a qualified homebuyer. 

The Beasley family enjoyed spending the next month counting their blessing, and filling their banks with money to donate to Asheville Habitat. Sarah told us, “Not only did this activity involve our whole family counting light fixtures and air vents, but it also involved a great reallife math problem for my son (who loves math) to add items and convert it to decimals.” The reallife math really engaged his attention, she added. According to Sarah, it was so magical to have conversations about housing and gratitude everyday with her children. “My fouryear old daughter asked what we were going to give to our house each morning after breakfast.”  

To learn more about A Month for Habitat for Humanity or to get your own calendars and banks, please contact Zoe at ztrout@ashevillehabitat.org. Thank you! 

Click here to see the calendar.

 

 

 

What One Asheville Woman is doing About Gentrification

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By Greta Bush

As Asheville continues to land on national “Best of” lists, it is experiencing tremendous growth, and with that comes gentrification. In this article, we focus on why gentrification can be a problem and how one young woman is making an effort to prevent it.

 

Kate Rasche moved to Asheville seven years ago to start a new job, unaware that her move could be tied to the growing gentrification affecting the city. She quickly fell in love with Asheville’s eclectic culture and creative vibe. She is grateful to have bought her house in west Asheville in 2012, just before housing prices began recovering from the 2008 crash. Three years later, a short supply and an influx of growth led the city to announce it had an affordable housing crisis.

She feels lucky for her good timing and is now acutely aware that she has contributed to the housing shortage. Kate wanted to join the community, not change it. She never intended to drive up property values and push out lower earners!

Kate wanted to do something to counteract the rapid gentrification in Asheville, and that’s why she joined Asheville Habitat’s #build828 club. Donating a small amount every month is her way to support income diversity and prevent gentrification that pushes people out.

What is Gentrification?

Gentrification occurs when lower cost neighborhoods start to attract wealthier residents. As a result, this can drive up house prices and rents, and drive out long time, lower income residents such as local artists. Gentrification often has a larger impact on ethnic and racial minorities. It always changes the social character of a neighborhood.

The positive side of the process is that homeowners are invested in their neighborhoods. Therefore, they repair or rebuild homes that had been neglected or open businesses in areas that might not have had them.

Why Habitat, and Why #build828?

Kate recognizes that it’s the people who make Asheville the city that she loves. The artists, musicians, and wait staff in this foodie mecca add to the culture, but are often lower earners. Consequently, without supporting those who tend to earn less, the city’s character won’t be preserved. Homeownership is a key to housing stability, and for Kate, “is part of the American dream…having a piece of the world to call your own.”

Originally from Knoxville, TN, Kate had previous experience with Habitat for Humanity in high school. She volunteered with Habitat through a school club and even took a trip to Americus, GA with the group. That’s where she learned about Habitat’s roots. Kate knew Habitat provided stable housing for people with low incomes, and she trusted the organization.

A few months ago, a quick Google search led her to Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity’s #build828 club. It’s a sustained giving club whose members make regular monthly donations. #build828 is a way to answer the affordable housing need and members enjoy benefits like an annual 40% off coupon to the Habitat ReStore! Kate decided that joining could be a way of “shoring up the community that she is a part of.”

Kate’s reasons for joining #build828 made sense:

  • From her administrative work experience, Kate understands the value of regular contributions. It helps any organization to plan ahead and keep their fundraising goals on track.
  • Kate didn’t have a big chunk of money to make a one-time donation. Signing up to make small monthly donations could really make a difference for Habitat and would better fit her situation.
  • She knew that if she were to buy or rent property now, her monthly payments would be much higher. So she felt a call to donate some of the money she is able to save every month to #build828. It’s her way to help others afford homeownership and combat the effects of gentrification.

Habitat for Humanity’s Role

Habitat for Humanity builds and repairs homes—so why is that work not contributing to gentrification? First, Habitat repairs homes so that lower-income residents can stay in their home even as the costs of homeownership rise. Second, Habitat builds affordable new homes in partnership with low-income qualifying buyers so that working class folks can achieve homeownership. Often, the cost of an Asheville Habitat mortgage is less than what the buyer had previously been paying in rent.

Habitat homeowners are artists, bus drivers, food service employees, social workers, healthcare staff, musicians, and more. They contribute to the heart and soul of Asheville’s creative and welcoming vibe. If you’re interested in supporting Habitat’s work and helping more of our neighbors build better futures in the foundation of stable, affordable housing, consider joining the #build828 movement.

Why does Kate think gentrification is a problem?

  • She loves the character of her neighborhood, where an artist lives across the street from her and the creativity in West Asheville is palpable at nearly every turn.
  • She’s worried that rising rents and home costs will force creatives to be unable to live here for much longer. While their contributions to our city’s culture are rich, their work tends to bring in lower wages.
  • She knows this is already happening. Such is the case with “Abby the Spoon Lady” (real name Abby Roach) a downtown performer who declared at a June 2019 City Council meeting that Asheville’s growth is pushing out musicians and artists, including herself. Abby said this would be her last summer in Asheville.

Join the Movement!

If you’re looking for a way to counteract the effects of gentrification, consider joining Asheville Habitat’s #build828 movement! Even $10 a month, the cost of a Netflix subscription, makes a difference. And, the more people who join, the bigger the impact! Not able to give yet? Help us spread the word and consider sharing Kate’s story with a friend. Have your own story to tell? Let us know.

 

Build a Better Future With Your Holiday Gift

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Perseverance is the cornerstone of Lindsay’s life. It is how she cares for her son with cerebral palsy, how she is five years sober, and how she mentors families struggling with addiction in her job as a Peer Support Specialist. Now, this cornerstone is helping Lindsay build a better future — on the foundation of a Habitat home.

Make a gift this holiday season to support Lindsay, her sons, and other hard working families on their journey to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through decent, affordable housing.

Every child deserves a foundation to build their future, and
everyone deserves a decent place to call home.

Please give a gift today.

Note: If you’re making a holiday gift in honor of someone, let us know and we will mail a holiday card to them to acknowledge your gift. We request a minimum donation of $10 per card. If you live in Asheville and would like to pick up holiday cards to hand write, please stop by our office M-F between 8:30am and 5pm.

Habitat Construction Supervisor John Meadows and Habitat homebuyer Lindsay review the floor plans of her future home in Arden.

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…

Give the Gift of Habitat

Looking for the perfect gift? Look no further! When you give to Habitat*, you build much more than houses. Houses become homes. Communities take shape. And dreams once out of reach before possibilities. This holiday season, please help more families host gatherings, play safely in their neighborhood, save for college, and take their first-ever family vacation. Your support changes lives in Buncombe County, so give the gift of Habitat today and cross another item off your holiday shopping list. Thank you!

* To acknowledge your gift, Habitat will send a card to your honoree. 

Please click the button below to donate and give more families the opportunity for a new start.

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