Habitat for Humanity of North Carolina’s ambitious “SECU Habitat Mountain to the Sea Challenge” — to build a home in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties — has gotten a major boost with a $450,000 grant from Oak Foundation.
The grant will cover most of the administrative costs associated with the oversight of HHNC’s $10 million partnership with the State Employees Credit Union Foundation (SECU), created early in 2015 to work with Habitat’s 70 affiliates statewide.
“Normally, a Habitat affiliate offers a family a zero‐percent‐interest mortgage and waits 25 to 30 years to recover its asset,” said Greg Kirkpatrick, HHNC’s executive director and president. “With the SECU Foundation partnership the affiliate will recover the full mortgage value at closing up to $150,000, and can then put those funds to work building another house for a family on the waiting list.”
The 100-home challenge, which is to be completed by the end of February 2018, has already resulted in finished homes in Scotland, Yancey, Avery and Edgecombe counties — with many more to close this summer (Anson, Richmond, Rutherford, Warren, Northampton, Watauga and others). SECU Foundation grants thus far total nearly $400,000.
“With the SECU Foundation’s pledge of up to $10 million in grants and financing, we have an opportunity to build in both the 75 counties that we are already serving and also in the 25 counties that lie outside the service area of any one affiliate,” Kirkpatrick said. “The gift from Oak combined with the original grant from SECU makes possible a transformation of how and where we produce housing in NC.”
Since 1983, Habitat has produced 7,600 new homes in North Carolina. It has rehabbed another 500 and provided critically needed repairs on another 1,825. All told, Habitat has served more than 9,900 Tar Heel families.
But the need is still great. Habitat for Humanity of NC estimates that 300,000 North Carolina families spend more than half of their gross income on housing, and housing costs have continued to rise while wages have not kept pace. Some 10,518 homes go without heat in winter, and 16,548 lack indoor plumbing.
Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, Africa, India and North America, Oak makes grants to organizations in about 40 countries worldwide.
”We are proud to support Habitat for Humanity NC in its efforts to address the need for affordable housing in North Carolina,” said Millie Brobston, program officer in the foundation’s Chapel Hill office.