Wilkesboro-based Hometown Habitat for Humanity (HHFH), formerly Wilkes Habitat for Humanity, is busy building homes in Wilkes County through donor support.
HHFH has built 48 homes in Wilkes, Yadkin and Surry counties since 1988. The 49th is under construction in Wilkesboro. It was funded primarily with sales revenue from HHFH’s ReStore in Wilkesboro, along with funds from over 120 Wilkes County donors.
Wilkes Habitat for Humanity and Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity merged in 2020 to form Hometown Habitat for Humanity.
Boards of the two Habitat for Humanity affiliates voted to merge because of their overlapping service area in eastern Wilkes County, said HHFH Executive Director Isaac Kerns.
Becoming a single entity serving Wilkes, Surry and Yadkin counties eliminated redundant costs and increased home building capacity in all three counties, he explained.
Kerns said HHFH is busy building homes despite construction costs rising rapidly with inflation and pandemic-related disruptions,
Ground will be broken on the organization’s 50th home this summer, funded with a full-cost sponsorship grant from the Leonard G. Herring Family Foundation.
With $20,000 donated by First United Methodist Church of North Wilkesboro, HHFH will break ground on its 51st home later this year
“Words cannot describe the level of gratitude we have for the support this community has shown our organization throughout the pandemic, and the opportunity that this gift from First UMC offers our organization to build a record number of new Habitat homes,” said Kerns.
“There has never been a time in our lives when the need for affordable housing was more necessary and critical, and it is a blessing to be able to grow to better meet the need despite the cost of homebuilding going up so quickly. This major gift support is truly life-changing for our clients,” he added.
The Rev. Jim Sanders, pastor of First United Methodist Church of North Wilkesboro, said one of the core beliefs of the United Methodist Church is that “all people are precious to God and deserve access to safe and affordable housing.”
Sanders added, “Our church family has a long tradition of supporting Habitat for Humanity and other housing ministries, and it’s exciting to be able to make an investment like this right here in our local community.”
Mel Shinaman, long-time member of the congregation’s Outreach Committee, added, “I am grateful to all the individuals and families within the First UMC family who have strongly supported the work of Wilkes and Hometown Habitat for Humanity over several decades. They are the ones who have made this gift possible, and it is through their generosity that we are able to help our neighbors build their homes here in Wilkes County.”
HHFH works with low income clients ready to take on the benefits and responsibilities of home ownership, but unable to afford a traditional mortgage. Habitat makes homes more affordable by removing profit from the sale price, and financing the purchase through a 0% interest mortgage.
To qualify, potential clients must have a need for housing, the ability to pay for housing and the willingness to partner with Habitat to succeed in home ownership. These partnership requirements include a minimum of 250 volunteered hours of “sweat equity,” and the completion of a home buyer education program.
Kerns said that as part of its affiliation agreement with Habitat International, HHFH doesn’t extend fundraising beyond its local service area and only serves clients within that area. He said this means local donors take a direct role in supporting local Habitat home buyers.
The application period to join Habitat’s home ownership program and earn the opportunity to purchase a Habitat home began May 1 and continues through July 31.
For more information on the program or on how to apply, visit www.HometownHabitat.org.