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Six in Six - Week 4: You can't help but smile

You can’t help but smile when a child with a big grin on his face excitedly explains that his family’s new home means that for first time ever, he will have his very own room.  In those moments, you can think back to when that child’s room and that family’s house were only an empty lot and an idea about providing safe decent affordable housing.  That idea has now transformed that empty lot into a place to call home.  A litany of professionals, funders, designers, and contractors put in their time, energy, and effort to build that room and home.  That home will be where equity is built, family meals are shared, homework is done, and the next generation is positioned to do great things in the world.  And that child with a toothy grin will have his own room for the first time.

You can’t help but smile as you listen to a senior as she explains how long she has waited to find an apartment that is affordable and how grateful she is to have found a place that is safe, decent, and within her budget.  As you listen, you will hear not only her life story but also the story of our communities.  You will hear what stable housing truly means to seniors as their neighborhood is changing around them.  You will hear how the apartment’s energy efficiency measures are keeping her power bills down so she no longer has to worry about how she is going to pay for her prescriptions.  You will hear how relieved her children are that ‘Mom now has a nice place to live’. 

I work in affordable housing because I get the opportunity to share these special moments and smiles.  I get to share these moments with some of the greatest people I have ever met, the families we serve and the dedicated professionals that make these moments possible.  I am blessed to have grown up in a home where my parents worked hard and taught my brother and me that how we treat people and what we do for our neighbors is far more important than how much we have in our bank accounts.   When I was 16 I started going on service trips to the mountains of rural Appalachia doing critical home repairs for families in need.  Ever since then I have pursued a career in affordable housing because I believe housing plays a critical role in providing families the opportunity to better their lives and the lives of their children. 

I have not always been certain where this journey would take me and the work at times has been extremely hard and difficult but the work has been so greatly rewarding. The belief that housing can positively change lives has taken me places I never imagined and given me a wealth of opportunities to work with and serve amazing people.  To everyone who works in this field and takes this journey I say thank you for the hard work that you do and the lives that you touch. 

The work that all of us do and the number of lives we can touch is expanded by the work of the North Carolina Housing Coalition and their advocacy efforts. I am grateful that NCHC is working as our partner to better the lives of North Carolinians.

I hope you'll make a contribution this holiday season to help the Coalition continue this work.

Happy Holidays!

Jimmy Royster

Project Manager
The Affordable Housing Group of North Carolina

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