Chamber Chat - Habitat for Humanity

Oct 08

By Meg Moss

“Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.” This is the mission statement for the international nonprofit agency, Habitat for Humanity. Their vision is to see a world where everyone has a decent place to live.


This past Monday, the Sanford Area Habitat for Humanity held a groundbreaking for its newest home in Lee County, which will help the 38th family since they began their work here in the 1980’s. This home, located on Hooker Street, will house a mother and her seven children; and will take the time, talents and treasures of many local businesses, churches, and individuals.


The State Employees Credit Union (SECU) Foundation and Habitat for Humanity® of North Carolina (HHNC) have signed a formal Memorandum of Agreement for a joint initiative to expand affordable housing across North Carolina – called the the SECU Habitat Mountains to the Sea Challenge. SECU Foundation’s Challenge will provide an investment of up to $10 million over a three year period for HHNC to build one new (or thoroughly renovated) home in each of NC’s100 counties. The local Habitat organization pays for the house to be built with funds they raise, and then the SECU will reimburse Habitat. The homeowner will then pay their zero interest mortgage payment to the SECU.


With the most recent SECU Foundation house, finished and closed in Pitt County, SECU Foundation has now contributed more than $1.7MM to Habitat affiliates across the state. The average mortgage amount remains below the $100,000 mark ($90,319), so they expect to have more than enough funding to cover the 104 houses in 100 counties. 


Initial money to pay for the building of the homes in Sanford comes primarily from funds generated at the Habitat ReStore, located at 413 Wicker Street in Sanford. The ReStore sells new and used items for the home, to include construction materials, furniture and home décor. Additional funds for the homes come from churches, individuals, and grants.


For the Hooker Street home, a donation from St. Luke United Methodist Church allowed Habitat to purchase the lot from the city. Caterpillar will be digging the foundation and doing work on the lot, such as clearing trees and stumps. CAT will also prepare the driveway, put in the gravel, and backfill the foundation once it’s complete. They will also assist with equipment needs as they arise throughout the project.


Lee Brick and Tile, which began its operations in Lee County in 1951, is donating the brick for the foundation of this home. Heritage Concrete, who does commercial and residential concrete jobs, is pouring the foundation, and the Sanford Area Home Builders Association will help in various aspects of the home build.


The Sanford Area Habitat for Humanity has dedicated volunteers who enjoy spending their Saturday’s hammering, painting, installing cabinets and carpets, and most of all, they enjoy each other’s company, and knowing that they are helping another family. However, the organization is always seeking additional groups to volunteer on Saturdays, and can even accommodate volunteer groups during the week if it’s planned ahead. For example, Newhope Church of Sanford has committed to bringing volunteers at least monthly throughout the build. If your church, place of business, family, or civic organization would like to donate a day of construction, or offer to feed the volunteers, call Habitat for Humanity Executive Director, Gary Wicker, at 919-774-7779. Throughout the course of the project, Habitat will also need additional materials donated, to include lumber, doors, siding, insulation, light fixtures, cabinets and shingles. 


Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. According to the Habitat International website, “Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their families.”


I am glad, that over thirty years ago, local concerned citizens made a choice to start a Habitat organization here in the Sanford Area. It proves that when folks in Lee County see a need arise, they jump to the occasion, band together, and get it done.  

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