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Habitat Volunteers Refresh Homes in Fourth Creek Village

By Marty Price

More than 60 volunteers from Our Towns Habitat for Humanity, Habitat for Humanity International, Lowe’s and Valspar braved temperatures in the mid-30s on Nov. 21 as they joined the homeowners in the Fourth Creek Village – a Habitat for Humanity community – to refresh the 10 homes on Partnership Way in Statesville.

Steam rose from the mulch pile in the early morning sun as Mooresville resident and Valspar corporate volunteer Travis Frye used a pitchfork to load a wheelbarrow to take mulch to one of the nearby homes. Bernadette Anderson, a volunteer who works in the Huntersville Lowe’s, was using a shovel on the other side of the pile to accomplish the same task.

Jeff Porter, executive director for Our Towns Habitat for Humanity, said the work that Saturday, as part of the Habitat’s Women Build Refresh program, was to help Habitat homeowners beautify their houses in order to maintain property values.

“The poverty cycle is broken when you can get people into a home that appreciates in value,” Porter said. Explaining that building the house is only the beginning, he said, “We stick with the homeowners for life, continuing the relationships, even if they move away from these houses.”

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity started in Davidson in 1992 and expanded to cover the surrounding towns in the Lake Norman area. “People need to know that we work in every community and we try to make a big impact in Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville and Statesville,” he said.

“Our mission is about bringing people together to build homes, community and hope. It’s the bringing people together, that is what we specialize in. We can’t do this by ourselves and we need volunteers.”

Homeowners Doraine Dalton and Azsa Smith, who finished their sweat equity of 400 hours, were volunteering and helping fellow homeowners as both of their houses were being freshened up with new landscaping.

See the full article on The Charlotte Observer

Volunteers Help Freshen Up Statesville Habitat Homes

By Jonathan Weaver

Despite brisk temperatures Saturday, it wasn’t long before many of the roughly 60 volunteers shed their ski caps, gloves and thick coats. All the shoveling, raking, planting and scrubbing kept them warm enough.

The group gathered on Partnership Way in Statesville as part of the Brush With Kindness initiative. The goal: to freshen up Habitat for Humanity homes with landscaping and other aesthetic improvements. Lowe’s Home Improvement and Valspar Paint partnered with Our Towns Habitat for Humanity for the event. Volunteers included Habitat employees and homeowners, Lowe’s and Valspar representatives and other community members.

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jeff Porter addressed the group before work began. “They’re ready for love, and we’ve got a lot of it to give,” Porter told the crowd.

Porter said that the group would spend the day focused on landscaping projects, minor repairs, touching up the paint on porches, and similar tasks.

Doraine Dalton, a homeowner on Partnership Way, came out to help the group. She said living in the Partnership Way area has given her children a healthy, stable environment.

“It’s a blessing,” Dalton said of the organization and its volunteers. “I always wanted to become a homeowner and they helped make it happen. Now I just want to give back as much as I can.”

A group of six teens from the Mooresville Youth Council worked at a house near the end of the street, scrubbing vinyl siding. 17-year-old Jemma Steytler, a student at Lake Norman High School, said her group volunteers frequently at events like these. “It gives me a lot of satisfaction to be able to help others,” she said. “It’s an awesome feeling.”

Some of the volunteers were getting the “sweat equity” credits required by Habitat for home ownership. Barbara Alexander of Mooresville took a quick breather between raking bush trimmings to talk about what the Habitat organization means to her.

“I am so grateful,” said Alexander, a homeowner-in-process. She said getting a house that she can pass along to her son one day has been a dream of hers, and it will soon be a reality.

Statesville was one of 10 communities that took part in the one-day “blitz” to refresh the homes for the holidays, said Tom Donoghue, the community relations manager for Lowe’s Home Improvement. Each of the 10 communities received a $25,000 grant for the improvements.

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity sells homes through zero interest no-profit mortgages. Families that receive assistance must perform 400 hours of service and attend educational classes on homeownership. Visit for more information.

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Our Towns Habitat for Humanity Receives Grant

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity is pleased to announce they have received funding through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to provide FREE Critical Home Repair to families in need in Huntersville and Cornelius. At this time residents of Huntersville and Cornelius are only eligible for this program, but we hope to expand this program in the future.

Homeowners who have critical home repair needs that are impacting the health and safety of their family are encouraged to apply. Home repair needs can include water or roof damage, leaks, plumbing problems, HVAC, electrical services, mold and siding repair, termite issues, home access ramps etc. If you meet eligibility requirements NO payment will be needed for the home repair services. The home needs to be owner occupied and must meet 60% of HUD median income or less. Funds are limited and are awarded on a first come first serve basis. Homeowners must plan to remain in their home a minimum of 5 years following the work being performed on their home. Professionally qualified contractors will perform all the work.

For more information or to receive an application please contact Our Towns Habitat for Humanity, Family Services Department at (704) 896-8957 x 107 or .

“Our partnership with Mecklenburg County and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant have made this work possible and we are grateful for their support” remarks, Rachel Meyers, Associate Director, Our Towns Habitat for Humanity.

Tastes of Habitat

Attendees enjoyed wonderful Tastes from Lake Norman area restaurants at Tastes of Habitat on November 5, 2015. The evening included live music, great food, deserts, beverages and auction while money was raised for the 9th Women Build home for the Our Towns Habitat community.

Zuriyah Clary, the 8th Habitat Women Build homeowner shared her story and talked about her Habitat journey and how much her children enjoyed playing in their own backyard in Huntersville. Habitat for Humanity prides itself in providing new homeowners a hand-up not a handout and works to actively address the problem of substandard housing, one house, one family at a time.

Special thanks to the area restaurants who donated all the food and sweet treats for Tastes of Habitat: Creative Catering & Events, Famous Toastery, Ferrucci’s, Fork!, Jeffrey’s, Jack’s Corner Tap, Mickey & Mooch, Sabi, SunUp Cafe, The Pickled Peach, Whole Foods Market, Maddy’s Fatty’s, Millstone & Bakehouse, South Main Sweet Shop and Nothing Bundt Cakes. Beverages provided by D9 Brewing Co., Crafty Beer Guys, Bayne Brewing, Fine Wine Vinyards and Tryon Distributing.

Our Towns Habitat Wins Housing Award

A new neighborhood in Huntersville, made possible through a partnership between the town and the region’s Our Towns Habitat for Humanity organization, was one of five projects from throughout the state to earn Housing North Carolina awards during the recent North Carolina Affordable Housing Conference in Raleigh.

Huntersville and Our Towns Habitat for Humanity representatives attended the conference, a gathering of more than 1,000 housing industry professionals sponsored by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, and accepted honors for the overall success of the Norman Park development.

The 26-year-old awards program was created to bring attention to outstanding home ownership, rental and supportive housing developments that can serve as role models for other communities. The agencies involved in the Norman Park neighborhood, a 16-home development off Titan Avenue in southwestern Huntersville, earned recognition for transforming the long-vacant land into a quality addition to a larger community of market-rate housing, schools and businesses. The neighborhood, with sidewalks and wooded surroundings, also promotes an active lifestyle and is popular because of its proximity to elementary, middle and high schools and a variety of business and health care facilities and easy access to transportation services.

Norman Park was developed by Our Towns Habitat for Humanity and Huntersville. Land for the homes, and property for another 57 lots, was donated to Habitat for Humanity and the town used $550,000 of Home Investment Partnerships Program funds to bring utilities to the site. The remaining lots will be developed by Habitat or sold to support ongoing Habitat projects.

Norman Park features two- and three-bedroom homes averaging about 1,100 square feet in the $81,000 to $89,000 price range. All are built to high-efficiency standards designed to keep heating, cooling and electricity costs at low rates. The homes also incorporate universal design features, including large doorways and wide hallways, and if a home buyer has additional special needs, design adjustments are made during construction.

The homes are made more affordable through a mortgage program supervised by Habitat and zero-interest participation loans provided through the North Carolina Finance Agency. To qualify for home ownership, prospective owners contribute at least 400 hours of “sweat equity” working on their homes, neighbors’ homes or as volunteers in Habitat “Re-stores.” They also complete 50 hours of home ownership training that include classes on money management and basic home maintenance and repair.

Local representatives attending the conference and accepting the Norman Park awards included Jeff Porter, executive director of Our Towns Habitat for Humanity; Rachel Meyers, the agency’s associate executive director; Bobby Williams, assistant to the town manager in Huntersville; and Alison Adams, senior planner in the Huntersville Planning Department.

Norman Park was one of only two housing developments (the other was The Bungalows at Southside in Durham) selected for state honors. The other three award recipients were apartment complexes in Mocksville, Garner and Durham.

Click here to read the full story over on Lake Norman Citizen

Amy Huntley — Coffee and Construction

She serves cups of java with a smile to hospital employees and hopes someday soon she will have enough money to become a patient herself. Amy Huntley, who works for Morrison Healthcare Food Service at Novant Health Huntersville, needs a hip replacement. She’s worked eight-hour shifts as a barista since the hospital opened and hardly complains about the pain.

She serves cups of java with a smile to hospital employees and hopes someday soon she will have enough money to become a patient herself. Amy Huntley, who works for Morrison Healthcare Food Service at Novant Health Huntersville, needs a hip replacement. She’s worked eight-hour shifts as a barista since the hospital opened and hardly complains about the pain.

The $400 interest-free mortgage on her Habitat home in the Poole Place community in Cornelius will enable her to save the money she needs for the surgery. “The best feeling is that I’m buying my own house — no one is giving it to me,” says Amy. “Right now I’m paying $1,200 each month plus utilities for a small apartment for my son and I to share.”

A survivor and hard-worker, the 52-year-old single mother is grateful for this positive turn in her life. She has suffered major health crises, a divorce and near financial ruin. But she’s never given up.
Amy became a homeowner in process with Our Towns in January 2014. Her son is a junior at Hough High School and aspires to be an architect or engineer. She also has two grown daughters and two stepchildren; Amy became a grandmother earlier this year.

She and her teenage son will cut the ribbon on their Habitat house in 2016. They have enjoyed learning new skills during their “sweat equity” work at various home sites. “We’ve done framing, installed siding and put down wood floors. I really like flooring,” Amy says.

Co-workers at the hospital eagerly ask Amy about helping to build houses with Habitat. “They want to learn, too,” she says. “And I encourage them, because there really are opportunities to become a homeowner and help the community.” Amy adds, “Next spring is going to be an exciting time. I will still help build houses after we move in; I want to give back.”