Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity
Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit ministry that fosters community by partnering with qualified families and individuals to build new houses and preserve existing homes. Since our founding in 1983, we’ve built 263 new homes in Buncombe County that we’ve sold to low and moderate income families at 0% interest, with no down payment. We provide each new homeowner with almost 50 hours of homeowner education, from budgeting to home and lawn maintenance to conflict resolution, and the families work with each other and community volunteers to provide hundreds of hours of sweat equity in building their neighborhoods.
To increase the number of families we can assist, we added home repair to our services in 2010. The program has grown each year since its beginning and early next year we expect to complete our 100th home repair. The existing homeowners in this program are most often elderly residents, no longer to keep up with the costs of repairs to keep their homes safe and healthy.
Asheville’s housing costs are among the highest in the state, while our tourist-based economy produces some of the lowest-paying jobs. This discrepancy means that hard-working residents like Maria Lomeli (pictured above with her children), would not be able to provide the stability and security of homeownership to her family without our program. Maria works second shift as a forklift operator at Ingle’s Warehouse; a job she has held for more than 8 years. She previously struggled to pay rent and faced utility bills of nearly $200/month. Now in her Green Built NC and SystemVision certified home, she is building equity with each month’s mortgage payment (which is much lower than her rent had been) and her utility bills are a fraction of what they once were.
Maria had told her children, “As long as I have the resources and strength (to take care of essentials), you kids don’t need to worry about it.” An affordable mortgage payment and reduced living expenses has enabled Maria to manage the household expenses on her own, enabling her children to do just what their mom had hoped – focus on education. Three of them are in college and the fourth is an honor student at Asheville High School.
AAHH is proud to be a member of the NC Housing Coalition and part of a network of concerned advocates across the state who are working together to make affordable housing possible for more and more North Carolina families.
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