United States and Canada featured location: Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Buncombe County, while mostly rural, boasts of a vibrant downtown with delicious restaurants, active art scene, and numerous festivals and activities for tourists and locals alike. There is an abundance of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, white water rafting and climbing.
Lack of affordable housing in Buncombe County is identified as one of our community’s most serious problems by many diverse sources, including the City of Asheville’s Community Development Department, the Department of Social Services, and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Buncombe County is estimated to have approximately 2,000 substandard housing units within a total population of 238,300. Furthermore, the National Center for Housing Policy identifies Buncombe County as one of the nation’s counties where even police officers, teachers, and firefighters cannot afford to buy a median-priced home due to the disparity between incomes and housing costs.
It is this critical need for decent, affordable housing that is addressed by Asheville Area Habitat’s mission, work and purpose. Asheville Area Habitat provides an innovative solution to the community’s affordable housing crisis by moving low-income families into safe, affordable homes. This creates and transfers generational wealth for college tuition, business opportunities and long-term medical and disability care.
Asheville Area Habitat fosters community by partnering with qualified families and individuals to build new houses and preserve existing homes. Founded in 1983, Asheville Area Habitat was the first affiliate established in North Carolina. The affiliate has built more than 228 houses for almost 1,000 adults and children, and typically builds 13-15 new houses each year.
Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers help in all aspects of construction, such as framing, finishing, painting and any other tasks that may need to be completed. Tools and safety equipment are provided.
The group will stay at a local ‘Summer’ Camp for $20 a night. Depending on the time of year, the lodgings will either be a cabin with shared rooms and shower/bathrooms or a cabin with dorm rooms for men and women. All cabins have a kitchen with supplies and shower facilities. Teams will have access to camp amenities, which may include hiking trails, canoeing, and gym facilities.
Items to bring
Volunteers should be prepared for drastic changes in weather. In summer, days can be hot and nights quite cool. Winter weather can include snow, ice, and also mild days. Rain is frequent as are hot, sunny days.
Food and water
Asheville Area Habitat will provide a bagel breakfast on the first morning and a farewell luncheon on the last day of their stay. Water and coffee will be available onsite. Other meals will be included in the budget.
Teams will rent a van to drive to and from work sites.
Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival and rest day.
Day 2 (Sunday): Activity (tour of the Biltmore House and dinner at a local restaurant).
Day 3 (Monday): Orientation and breakfast; volunteer at a new home construction site; group dinner.
Day 4 (Tuesday): Volunteer at a new home construction site; walk at the North Carolina Arboretum; group dinner.
Day 5 (Wednesday): Volunteer at a home repair project; tour and shop Asheville Area Habitat ReStore; group dinner.
Day 6 (Thursday): Volunteer at a home repair project and group dinner with partner family.
Day 7 (Friday): Volunteer at a new home construction site; attend a wall raising event; farewell celebration luncheon; dinner at local downtown restaurant and watch or participate in the Downtown drum circle.
Day 8 (Saturday): Depart.
Volunteer Engagement specialist