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Hudson Hills is complete!

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“I come home each day through the street filled with smiling children on bikes, playing on the sidewalks and shooting baskets through hoops. I come home to people visiting and sharing and laughing and smiling on their porches or walking their babies or puppy dogs. I come home to a sanctuary. A place filled with so much love. Hudson Hills Soulshine.”
~ Rhonda, Habitat homeowner

Successful affordable housing initiatives require the partnership of many constituent groups – public, private and municipalities. Last week, we celebrated the completion of our most recent neighborhood, Hudson Hills. It was made possible with the support of the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, the W&S Foundation (through Warren Haynes Presents: The Christmas Jam), and many local businesses, individuals, faith partners, and foundations. Funding was also provided by Habitat homeowner mortgage payments and ReStore proceeds. And in addition to funding, thousands of community volunteers – alongside future homeowners – built these homes.

House sponsor representatives presented ceremonial keys to the last six homes in the neighborhood, among a sea of children and large group of well-wishers. Executive Director Andy Barnett pointed out that three of the program participants have dedicated their careers to affordable housing: Bill Dowse from NCHFA (North Carolina Housing Finance Agency); Lew Kraus and Joan Cooper who recently retired from Asheville Area Habitat; and Jeff Staudinger, the City of Asheville’s Assistant Director of Community and Economic Development. Leadership from affordable housing advocates like these three, coupled with diverse funding partnerships, dedicated volunteers,  and future homeowner participation has proven time and again to be a recipe for a successful Habitat community.

With the strong foundation provided by decent and affordable homes, 24 more local families now have the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build a better future for themselves. With a decent place to live and an affordable mortgage, these homeowners can save more, invest in the future, pursue opportunities, and have more stability. THANK YOU to everyone who helped us build Hudson Hills, a beautiful community of decent, affordable, energy-efficient houses, that are being turned into homes.

To see photos from the October 14th dedication event, please click here.

To see a short video produced by Buncombe County TV, click here.

Warren Haynes Presents: The 26th Annual Christmas Jam on December 13, 2014

On October 6, 2014 – World Habitat Day – Warren Haynes announced that the 26th Annual Christmas Jam will be held on Saturday, December 13, 2014. Held at the US Cellular Center in Asheville, NC this year’s benefit concert will feature Vince Gill, Gov’t Mule, Billy & The Kids, Hard Working Americans, The Revivalists and Jason Isbell with his band, with additional artists to be announced soon.

One of the most celebrated and longest-running live concerts in the U.S., the Christmas Jam will benefit our affiliate for the 16th year in a row! Just a few months ago, Haynes presented Asheville Area Habitat with a record-breaking $500,000 in proceeds from last year’s epic, sold-out Silver Anniversary event. Read more.

Warren Haynes Donates $500,000 to Asheville Area Habitat  

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Christmas came early in Asheville this year when Warren Haynes presented Asheville Area Habitat with the proceeds check from the 2013 Warren Haynes Presents: The Christmas Jam — a record-breaking $500,000! Haynes who played in Charlotte, NC the night before and was enroute to Alpharetta, GA for another show, chose to stop in Asheville to make the special presentation in person. Xmas Jam proceeds now exceed $1.8 million!

“Stef and I were overwhelmed. We knew it was a good year, but we were surprised by how good,” said Haynes of the final number. The significant increase over past years was due to a number of different things he said, most notable the fact that it was a 2-night, 25th anniversary show. “Merch also sold incredibly well, we were able to keep expenses down, there was Pay-Per-View and new partners like Sierra Nevada…it were a lot of different factors.”

Executive Director, Lew Kraus notes that donations of this size are few and far between and this will go a long way to helping Habitat with the most capital intensive part of our work – acquiring and developing land. Speaking of land…

The short event was held at Habitat’s newest subdivision, Hudson Hills. Habitat offered Warren and his wife Stefani Scamardo the naming rights to recognize their long-standing commitment to and the couple chose the name to honor their young son, Hudson. Recently just a plot of land, Hudson Hills is now an active construction site and the future home of 25 single family homes, thanks in part to the generosity of Haynes and Scamardo and their successful benefit concert.

The street into the subdivision – Soulshine Court – also honors Haynes. About the name, Haynes remarked, “Soulshine is a song that resonates with many people and it’s particularly meaningful to me because it was inspired by my father. He worked hard as a single dad to raise me and my brothers in Asheville, so it’s fitting that a street named Soulshine Court will be in my hometown and that it will be a place that 25 families will call home.”

We presented Haynes with a Soulshine Court street sign. One event attendee suggested he put in his tour bus, an idea Warren seemed to like.

Read the Asheville Citizen Times article here, or view our online photo album.

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