Area Habitat to fix homes in need

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity, long known for building homes for working adults in need, is branching out to repair existing homes in struggling Lake Norman-area neighborhoods.

The local Habitat affiliate is among 163 chosen recently for Habitat for Humanity International's new Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.

The effort will focus on improving housing conditions such as those at Mattie Caldwell's home on Catawba Avenue in Cornelius.

Caldwell is the first local resident to receive help through the initiative.

Habitat volunteers plan to replace the roof to her home this week and repair interior water damage.

Volunteers will also rebuild her home's wheelchair/walker ramp and side entrance, which are no longer safe.

"The Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative adds another dimension to our mission of providing families with decent, affordable places to live," Larry Gluth, senior vice president of Habitat's U.S. and Canada area office, said in announcing the affiliates selected for the program.

Our Towns will also work with other community organizations to determine local projects.

Habitat services may include new house construction, rehabilitation of vacant and foreclosed properties, house repairs for low-income homeowners, and weatherization to make houses more energy-efficient and affordable, Gluth said.

"If we are going to help families thrive in healthy neighborhoods, we have to direct some significant efforts into healing America's troubled communities," Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, said in a news release. "These affiliates will work together to develop strategies and create strong networks that can address individual neighborhood issues."

The nonprofit Our Towns affiliate was founded in 1988 and has built 179 houses in Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville. Details: