Several years ago, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville adopted an ambitious goal: to build at least 20 Habitat homes annually to address the affordable housing crisis in our community.
“The reason for this goal is simple,” said Habitat Board Chair Jeanne McCusker. “Charlottesville has an affordable housing crisis. Though a great place to live for so many of us, our area lacks sufficient housing for the many hard-working, low-income wage earners on whom our community depends for its quality of life.”
To combat this crisis – to deal with high land costs, to build more sustainably, and to help the most tenure-threatened residents of the community – we changed our approach and challenged ourselves to do better.
In the past few years, as our home production has risen from 2-3 homes annually in 2003-4 to an average of 15 over the past four years, we have focused our attention on the fundamentals of our service: improving family support, better engaging volunteers, increasing organizational efficiency and amassing a significant inventory of affordable lots.
Now we are preparing to take it to another level.
Project 20 is both the culmination of this multi-year endeavor to improve our internal infrastructure and the beginning of a sustained effort to generate a reliable flow of capital to enable partnerships with at least 20 hard-working families annually.
This year, as we complete phase I of Sunrise, the first trailer park transformation in the nation without resident displacement, much of our focus turns toward planning for the anticipated 2016 start of construction at the Southwood Mobile Home Park, a neighborhood with 30 times the area occupied by Sunrise and 20 times the number of trailers.
In the meantime, we are continuing our aggressive approach toward helping at least 20 families a year achieve their dreams by moving forward with a variety of exciting mixed-income projects in the City (see sidebar).
“Of course, scaling up to 20 homes a year – the central focus of Project 20 – will require broad community support,” said McCusker.
Habitat recently received a pledge for a lead, matching gift catalyzing our 20 home a year effort. Every dollar you donate to Project 20 will be matched by this gift, allowing us to help more families achieve success, faster. In turn, the families’ mortgage payments will feed a “fund for Humanity” allowing us pay it forward, to multiply our efforts to lift more local residents out of housing poverty.
“Together, we really can make a lasting difference for families and have a huge, positive impact on the community as a whole,” said McCusker.
We are in need of participants of all sorts -- donors, volunteers, advocates, etc. -- to assist us in scaling up and helping a minimum of 20 families realize their dreams each year.
View NBC 29's coverage of Project 20
To find out how you can help support Project 20, please call Staley Micken at (434) 293-9066.