Building Hope: Habitat seeks sponsors for next home construction

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

If Jessie Elmore is on your Christmas gift list, getting the present will be a breeze.

Just make a donation to the Habitat for Humanity of Davie County.

“I don’t need any presents,” the executive director of Davie Habitat said.

Elmore sees first-hand the needs in Davie County, from homes literally falling in on elderly people, to young families unable to afford or navigate through the home-buying system.

Now, Habitat is scheduled to start a new construction next year, but it needs sponsors.

COVID shut the Habitat ReStore down, which was how the agency raised money to build homes (The homes are actually sold to recipients, who also must take part in the construction process.).

And now that a new ReStore (It may be the largest in the country.) has opened in Bermuda Run, it is estimated to be another two to three years before revenue can fund builds. The goal is to build two new homes a year, she said.

“We’re in a re-start up phase,” she said. “We had to get settled in here to make that next step to start building again in 2024.”

With a background in Habitat construction, building homes is close to her heart.

She started with Habitat in Raleigh, and came here after 10 years there, her last title as construction manager. When the Davie director job opened, she jumped at the chance to get closer to family.

Davie Habitat was at a crossroads at that time, she said, trying to decide whether to disband, merge with another agency or move forward. The decision to move forward was made.

“This is a very giving, resilient community. I was brought in to help get construction going.”

Going it did, with a woman and her children moving into the latest build last year in Mocksville.

“I’ve found my passion,” she said. “I get to work with families. I get to work with volunteers. It just feels great when we’re out there physically doing things. The volunteers make it special.”

She can go on and on about the volunteers.

On the last build, she made lasting friendships – including the new homeowner. “We have become really good friends. We’re having a Christmas lunch to figure out how to help the community.”

While the new house construction hasn’t started, Habitat has received grants to help with critical repairs to current homes.

One woman lived in a home with roof leaks, and had no idea of how to get it repaired.

Another woman had no electricity in her bathroom, and carried a lamp attached to a cord to see. She got a new bathroom floor, handicapped accessories and lighting.

Yet another Davie resident’s bathroom was in such bad shape that they were at risk of falling through the floor.

None were physically able to do the repairs, nor did they have any money.

“Most people don’t know their neighbors are about to fall through their bathroom floor,” she said. “There’s a lot of need out there.”

Habitat works with other agencies on taking donations and helping residents. While Habitat doesn’t take clothes donations, A Storehouse for Jesus does.

The 27,000 square-foot ReStore is off US 158 in the Bermuda Quay Shopping Center, open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. It is filled with new items, and gently used items. Now, there are a lot of chairs, and sofas.

Donations are accepted through the front door, even a 150-200 pound boat anchor someone dropped off earlier this year. “It’s amazing what people will donate.”

That January or February start for the new home build may have to be put on hold if donations don’t increase.

“The only hold up is funding,” Elmore said. “The Re-Store will eventually fund construction, but we’re still getting the word out about that. The Habitat model is we need community involvement and sponsorships.”