Tag Archive for: Habitat for Humanity

A reason to celebrate

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On Saturday, May 31st Habitat homeowner-to-be Rhonda Kensinger (right) worked her final 7 hours towards her 200 hours of required Sweat Equity. But for Rhonda, it’s not over. She remarked, “We still have a whole neighborhood to finish!” and then signed on as a Friday core construction volunteer going forward.

If you missed the initial article that Rhonda wrote about the paper chain, I encourage you to read it now.

200 hour chain_Rhonda K

200 hours chain, the start of the build

Rhonda celebrated the completion of her sweat equity hours with a 200 hour cake and her family, friends, fellow volunteers and construction supervisors by her side. Rhonda said, “We decided to celebrate everyone’s 200 hours from now on.” With vast personal and professional responsibilities, imagine also making time to volunteer for 200+ hours. Parents often make difficult decisions and major sacrifices while working towards Habitat homeownership. But each and every one of them say it’s worth it in the end; when they have a safe, decent and affordable HOME to come back to each and every day.

Kudos to Rhonda and all the others who have, are, or will work towards a brighter future for themselves and their families. And thank you to all the Habitat volunteers and sponsors that are helping to provide a hand up.

family helps_Rhonda M

With family, friends and fellow volunteers on her final day of sweat equity

With John M_Rhonda K

Rhonda with construction supervisor John Meadows

200 hr cake_Rhonda K

Cake to celebrate completion of 200 hours or Sweat Equity

 

 

Community Spirit is Alive and Well at Carney Place

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Two recent activities at Carney Place, an Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity neighborhood that received a 2014 Housing NC Award, epitomize what we often refer to as community. Last week homeowners in this engaged and vibrant neighborhood hosted a clean-up day for a section on the cul-de-sac. The local Boy Scout troop, which includes several Carney Place kids, helped with the project. They cleaned up the sidewalk, trimmed back overgrowth, planted apple trees and then celebrated their accomplishments with popsicles. In all, eight families from the neighborhood came out and worked side by side on the project. Click here to see photos.

The same week, Anna Herbert dedicated a Little Free Library (LFL) that she built for the children of Carney Place. Click here to see photos. With construction support and know-how provided by Habitat core volunteer Charlie Franck, Anna built the LFL and earned her Girl Scout Gold Award by doing so. A Little Free Library is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a small library constructed to be accessible for residents to take, leave and share books. Imagine a bird house – but slightly bigger. Little Free Libraries can hold anywhere from five books to possibly hundreds, depending on the size. In this case, the library will hold approximately 30 books for children ages 1-18. Residents are encouraged to take ‘take a book, return a book’. Anna built the Little Free Library to increase access to books, to promote a love for literature and reading, and to further increase a sense of community and sharing in Carney Place.

Defined as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals” community is evident at Carney Place. Check out this video about Carney Place and feel free to contact us at 828-251-5702 to schedule a visit to this or any other Asheville Area Habitat neighborhood.

 

Jobsites Heat up for March Madness

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March Madness is here, but for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity that means an influx of volunteer groups spending their spring break volunteering rather than heating up the basketball courts. The groups come from all over the country and bring with them volunteers, funds, and a surge of energy that matches any overtime game.

“The students bring a lot of enthusiasm to the jobsite. You can see them go through a transformation over the week that shows it truly is a life-changing experience for many of them,” says Charlie Franck, core volunteer with Asheville Area Habitat.

Most groups will work mainly on Habitat’s construction site in West Asheville, but some will also try their hand in the Habitat ReStore and on Habitat’s Home Repair sites. This year brings a mix of Collegiate Challenge and Global Village groups, comprised of college students and one national IT business. The groups are housed at Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, allowing them to enjoy the beauty of the mountains with access to hiking trails nearby. Each group will participate in a dinner with Habitat partner families who are in-process, allowing the volunteers an opportunity to get to know the people they are helping through their volunteer labor.

Visiting groups in March are:

Week One (March 2-6): Wilkes University (Pennsylvania), pictured above and in this Flickr album

Week Two (March 9-13): Heartland Technology Group (IT Company)

Week Three (March 16-20): Lesley University (Massachusetts); Ramapo College of New Jersey (½ week with Habitat, ½ week with other non-profits)

Week Four (March 23-27): University of Missouri

Construction Services Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Wallace noted, “We are thrilled to welcome both new and repeat groups this year. Wilkes, Heartland Technology and University of Missouri are joining us for the first time, while Lesley and Ramapo are returning for the 4th time!”

Core Construction Volunteers Honored

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“Core” Construction volunteers are those who help Habitat build and repair homes on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Last year, these core volunteers helped Asheville Area Habitat build 14 new Habitat houses in Swannanoa, Shiloh and West Asheville. They also repaired 33 existing homes in Buncombe County. We thanked and recognized them with a breakfast event at Warren Wilson College recently. Click here to see photos.

“While these folks don’t volunteer for the recognition or the accolades, we feel it’s important to thank them and honor the immense contribution they make to our organization and the community at large. Without volunteers – especially the cores who we can count on week after week – we would not be able to build and preserve communities,” notes executive director Lew Kraus.

In 2014, 74 core construction volunteers collectively contributed more than 16,000 hours of service to Asheville Area Habitat! To put that in perspective, 1,700 individuals volunteered on a construction site last year, collectively providing a whopping 35,000 hours of service! 46% of those total hours (16,000 hours) were completed by just 74 individuals – the “core” volunteers!

Among this core group, were 10 individuals who contributed more than 300 hours and one who topped the scale at more than 600 hours! Habitat congratulated and thanked:

Top Ten Hours volunteers

CJ Obara – 640 hours
Dick Allen – 622
Ken Clark – 454
Bob Laveck – 424
Jerry Ray – 407
Bill Reid – 343
Ray Ducharme – 321
Kevin Cox – 316
Ross Akin – 315
Paul Finegan – 309

In total, 32 core construction volunteers were recognized for contributing more than 250 hours of service last year, each receiving a golden hammer to signify the milestone.

Habitat also recognized those who hit significant longevity milestones. The honorees were:

10 Year Award – Alan Lang and CJ Obara
15 Year Award – Ted Faber and Cliff Joslin (pictured

In addition to Construction volunteers, Habitat utilizes volunteers in the ReStore, administrative office and on committees. These volunteers are recognized in separate appreciate events. Collectively and across the entire organization, nearly 2,100 volunteers contribute more than 64,000 hours to Asheville Area Habitat in 2014.

With a volunteer hour valued by Independent Sector at more $21/hour, this equates to a “gift” of more than $1.3million. Volunteer labor helps keep construction costs low and houses therefore affordable to the families who purchase them (from Habitat). Kraus added, “The Habitat model only works with a strong volunteer component. We cannot overstate the value of volunteers to our organization”.

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!

Students Leading the Charge to House Sponsorship

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Students from Asheville Christian Academy, Carolina Day School, and Christ School are already well on their way to making the second Habitat Student Build House in Buncombe County a reality. These schools have committed to jointly raise the $55,000 it takes to fully sponsor an Asheville Area Habitat house and provide student volunteers (ages 16 and up) and adult chaperones to help build the house. Each school will raise $18,333. Construction on the house is slated to begin March 24th, with the first wall to be raised three days later.

Reaching such a lofty goal takes leadership. The schools have formed a Student Advisory Committee with students from each school who stepped forward to take on the task of leading the charge. The group met last fall in a preliminary Student Build Workshop, and recently met again for their second workshop at the Habitat office this past Saturday, January 24th.

13 high school student-leaders and a faculty member from each school spent Saturday morning with Habitat core volunteers and staff preparing and learning. They toured the ReStore, learned how to effectively recruit and schedule volunteers for the Student Build House, and were trained on how to use an online crowdsourcing campaign to raise money. They reported on what they had already done to raise money (as a total, they are already 63% to their goal!), and discussed what worked and what didn’t. Plans were also made to prepare for the 2016 Student Build House!

The icing on the cake that day was the presentation of a $4,000 check from State Farm. Proof that they had already come far since the first workshop, this check was the result of a grant proposal the students penned and submitted together. It’s amazing what a group of motivated young people can accomplish with a little bit of guidance and a whole lot of heart!

Meet your match on the Habitat jobsite!

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This Valentine’s Day, join 30 other young, single professionals for a meaningful day of making connections and making a difference.

Your $20 registration fee will cover the cost of building materials and lunch. Participants will also take part in fun meet & mingle activities and will be invited to a Singles Build happy hour at the end of the day!
No experience is necessary, just come prepared to work hard and have a great time.

♥ Saturday, February 14, 2015

♥ 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Hudson Hills jobsite off Johnston Boulevard in west Asheville.

Step 1Sign Up: Register on HUB, our volunteer sign-up page.
Step 2Donate: Your $20 donation will complete your registration; please click here to donate online. Remember to choose “Singles Build” as your Area of Support.
Step 3Build! You will receive an email confirmation with details upon registration and a reminder before your build day on February 14th.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Wallace, Construction Services Volunteer Coordinator.

Jen and Josh Morris met on a Habitat jobsite on the Gulf Coast. They married last summer and honeymooned in Asheville, where they spent a day volunteering on Asheville Area Habitat’s jobsite (pictured here).

 

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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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.

New Subdivision, Hudson Hills, to Start in West Asheville

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Neighborhood will honor Warren Haynes’ commitment to Habitat

This July, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity will begin building a cul-de-sac of 25 single-family Arts & Crafts style homes off Johnston Boulevard in West Asheville. The neighborhood of Green Built NC-certified homes is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

Asheville Habitat purchased the Johnston Boulevard property in 2009, but only recently received funding to begin infrastructure work. “Our work is both capital and time intensive. We always need to be looking for land at least 3-5 years in advance to ensure we have available building lots for future Habitat homes,” said Lew Kraus, Executive Director.

Thanks to grants and loans from the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium, through the Home Investment Partnerships Program funded by Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Buncombe County Affordable Housing Services Program, Habitat was able to recently complete the infrastructure work, including grading, extending water and sewer lines, paving the street and installing sidewalks.

The subdivision name – Hudson Hills – was selected by Warren Haynes and his wife Stefani Scamardo who were offered the naming rights in recognition of their long-standing commitment to Habitat. Proceeds from their annual Warren Haynes Presents: The Christmas Jam now exceeds $1.3 million. The street – Soulshine Court – was also named in their honor. Soulshine is one of Warren’s most popular songs and it resonates with many people.

In addition to this new subdivision, work continues on a 17-house subdivision in Swannanoa and a recently started home on Jeffress Avenue in Shiloh, stretching Habitat’s building program across three quadrants of the county simultaneously.

Tag Archive for: Habitat for Humanity

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