RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Habitat for Humanity of Wake County is building a new community in southeast Raleigh.
With the project, the group is also looking to address the affordable housing crisis.
Group volunteers are building 105 homes on a plot of land off of Old Poole Road. It’s their largest community to date built from raw land.
The new community will be made up of 60 single-family homes and 45 townhomes.
The goal is to build a foundation for families and help them afford to live in the area.
According to Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, one in four families in Wake and Johnston counties are in need of affordable housing.
“It’s no secret that the affordable housing crisis has hit a lot of areas in this country and the Triangle in particular, with the rapid growth that we have here,” said Brad McHugh, Vice President of Construction with Habitat Wake. “There’s a lot of working class families that are just having a hard time finding affordable rents or mortgages in this area, so Habitat comes in and hits that unique need to be able to address that.”
Habitat Wake said hundreds of helpers come to the site each week to lend a hand, including volunteers, churches, businesses and organizations.
It also includes future Habitat homeowners who are earning their required 200 sweat equity hours.
One of them, future Habitat homeowner Nancy Rapone, said she comes to work on her house at least once a week.
Rapone said she originally applied for a Habitat house before the COVID-19 pandemic, and by the time they started up again, she had to pick up more shifts at work because she did not have enough income.
“I live in Cary and I can’t afford the rent anymore,” she said. “It just keeps going up every six months. It’s just gotten to the point where they’re building so much and everything is so expensive. All the rent is pretty much over $1,000.”
Rapone said she works as a nurse at a nonprofit.
“People think nurses make lots of money… they don’t all make lots of money,” she explained.
She encourages others in similar situations to apply for a Habitat home, and said the process is easier than it may seem.
“The whole process seems really overwhelming because you have to do 200 sweat equity hours, and I’ve managed to work full time and do these sweat equity since January, and I’m in the home stretch now,” she explained. “It’s not as overwhelming as it looks. You have to look at the small picture, not the big picture.”
Habitat Wake said the entire project will take about two-to-three years to complete.
They said the first several homes will be ready sometime this summer — welcomed news for potential homeowners.
“This neighborhood is so unique. It’s all habitat, it’s all different nationalities, and I think… I could just see us having a big block party. I think it’s going to be really fun,” Rapone said.
Duke Lackey, a pastor with North Raleigh United Methodist Church, said the church is funding one of the houses in the community using a $2 million gift from someone in their congregation. He said volunteers from the congregation are also helping to build it.
“It truly is a gift. The donor said, ‘we want to see the church have fun with this.’ And this is what we’re doing,” he said. “This is a wonderful witness to what it means to share God’s love, in word and in deed.”
Another house is fully-funded by Habitat Wake’s ReStore Round-up program.
Habitat Wake said they have 10 ReStores where people can purchase items and ’round up,’ sending the extra proceeds to the effort.
Click here to volunteer or apply for a Habitat home.