A FAMILY AFFAIR
by Allison Haver
The organization has served more than 24 families across the county within the last 20 years by providing affordable homeownership solutions.
Watauga County Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry with the mission to provide decent, affordable housing to low-income Watauga County residents.
"I am very pleased with what this affiliate has been able to accomplish in the last 20 years, but I believe we've only scratched the surface of what we can do to help deserving Watauga County families have a safe, comfortable and healthy home," Watauga County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Alex Hooker said.
Statistics show that affordable housing in Watauga County is difficult to find. The United States Department of Housing Urban Development has listed Watauga County as being "hard to live in" for eight consecutive years.
In December, the organization broke ground on its 25th home in Watauga County. That home is for Coleen Critcher and her four children in the GreenWood neighborhood.
In spring 2011, Watauga Habitat for Humanity broke ground on the first of 20 homes that will be built in the GreenWood neighborhood, located on Old 421 South in Boone.
Now, with nearly three years behind the project and with the first three families moved in to their new energy-efficient homes, the organization is wanting to prove that sustainable housing can and should be affordable for anyone.
The first two homes in the GreenWood neighborhood were completed in April 2012 and January 2013, and the dedication for the third completed home in the neighborhood and overall 24th Habitat home was held on March 2.
The 24th Habitat home now belongs to Kenny and Melissa Finger and their two sons, Isaiah and Dakota Finger.
"Our goal for the next seven to 10 years is to build 17 more homes in our GreenWood neighborhood and make it a model community for other Habitat affiliates to follow," Hooker said.
Watauga Habitat for Humanity also has a local ReStore located off Old 421 Highway.
The ReStore is the organization's innovative response to the problem of construction waste piling up in landfills. The ReStore sells donated used home goods and appliances at affordable prices.
"Our ReStore continues to funnel tons of materials from the waste stream and, in the process, help fund our mission," Hooker said.
"As more people in our community visit the store and see the treasures and cool stuff that come in, the ReStore will continue to grow and not only help pay all of our administrative costs, but help fund the construction of at least one house per year," he said.
To learn more about Watauga County Habitat for Humanity visit, http://www.wataugahabitat.org.