The Lincoln County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity will open its second Re-Store in a shopping center on N.C. 16 and Fairfield Forest Road in Denver on April 2.
Habitat Re-Stores serve as the fundraising division of Habitat for Humanity, the international organization that builds affordable homes for needy families in the U.S. and other countries.
The Denver site had been vacant for several years.
“We try to locate our Re-Stores near our donors, not necessarily near our prospective customers,” said Lincoln County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Terry Laney. “Lincoln County offers a lot of opportunities for potential volunteers, as well as recipients of aid for a home or home repair.”
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The new store will require approximately 50 part-time volunteers, as well as four full-time positions. Anticipated annual revenue within a few years should be in the range of $400,000 to $500,000, Laney said.
The other Re-Store in Lincoln County has been in Lincolnton since 1992.
By collecting and re-selling gently used furniture, appliances, fixtures, household items and building materials, Habitat Re-Stores reduce the amount of waste otherwise sent to landfills, while providing the means for families to have an opportunity for first-time home ownership.
Donations can be brought to the store, or the donor may call for a pickup. Acceptable donations now include cell phones, as well as cars and boats.
Laney, 63, began his affiliation with Habitat as a volunteer in 1996. Laney led Our Towns Habitat for Humanity, which serves Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville, for 13 years before stepping down in February 2013. He has been in the current position since July 2014.
“My goal is to change the culture from a focus on scarcity to abundance,” he said. “It is important to sustain a faith in the potential of Habitat to serve more families in Lincoln County, from serving one or two families a year to serving nine or more, with new homes and home repairs.”
Built with donated and professional labor, as well as “sweat equity” on the part of the intended occupants, Habitat homes are in the 1,100- to 1,200-square-foot range.
Volunteers benefit as well from learning skills and from the satisfaction of seeing new homes which they had a hand in building.
Eligible families are screened to determine need and ability to pay the interest-free home loans, averaging $80,000.
In addition, prospective homeowners must take classes in home ownership, financial management and budgeting, according to Laney. Family members are expected to provide several hundred hours of sweat equity, working in a Re-Store or through community service and construction of their home, as well as the homes of others.
“The time from application for a home to the beginning of construction is about 12 to 18 months,” Laney said, “and the build cycle for the home itself is 12 to 14 weeks. During that time, we like the recipients to become active citizens in the town they will be living in.”
Lincoln County Habitat has built 25 homes and repaired seven in the 23 years since it began. They have 27 lots suitable for home construction.
Ten percent of contributions to local Habitat affiliates are sent to Habitat International, to be used in the building of homes in third-world countries
Lincoln County Habitat has a connection with Guatemala, said Laney, who has been there 18 times in the last 12 years. He will be returning to Guatemala in March, along with 24 local volunteers, to work on a week-long project in Panajachel, a town in the highlands.
Upon his return, he will focus on the opening of the Denver store.
Habitat for Humanity is, as Laney described it, an example of “Faith in action.”
Bruce Dunbridge is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Bruce? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to help?
If you are interested in volunteering, donating household items for sale at the Denver store or finding out about opportunities to apply for a home, call Habitat’s Lincolnton office at 704-748-1800.