top of page

Habitat for Humanity building affordable housing in Charlotte



The Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project to benefit Habitat for Humanity is returning to Charlotte with WCNC Charlotte as a proud partner.


Volunteers will come together to build 39 new homes at an affordable housing development near the airport in West Charlotte. Preparations will culminate with construction taking place the first week of October.


"I am a single mom of Baylie," Lapri Holmes, who will be living in one of the future homes, told WCNC Chralotte's Sarah French. "She's 15 years old."


Holmes is a soon-to-be homeowner for the very first time. And she's definitely hands-on.


"I applied to be part of the Habitat Homeownership Program, and after that we did a lot of volunteer hours," Holmes explained. "I've literally been here almost every day that we build on my home. So I put in all of the blood, the sweat, and the tears to ensure that my house is built in this community."


Habitat for Humanity will be building that community in west Charlotte. The $10.6 million development is called The Meadows at Plato Place and is named after the all-Black grade school that once stood there.


For Laura Belcher, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, building affordable housing in the area is her top goal.


"It's really a challenge in Charlotte. The need for housing is immense," Belcher told French. "We have a multi-year backlog, a pipeline of applicants that are qualified and ready for housing. We're just trying to build as fast as we can."


For Holmes, a home is a dream come true.


"I feel proud to be able to have a home to provide shelter for me and for Baylie -- and to even leave that legacy to her," Holmes said.


"I think it's really important because we're anchoring affordable home ownership into a part of the community that does not have a lot of ownership options," Belcher explained. "And so by doing that, we will bring families that will be here for years and generations, they'll raise their children here, they will be anchored to this community."


Lapri's daughter, Baylie, is excited as well.


"It feels great. Can't wait to have my own room and design it," she said. "I need somewhere I can be safe and just be myself with my family."


Her mother is overjoyed to give Baylie a place called home.


"Home means family," Holmes said. "Home is like happy. It's our safe haven. And it's peaceful."


Ahead of October, WCNC Charlotte will share stories about the affordable housing struggle in Charlotte and how the "Carter Work Project” will help those in need. Among the celebrities who will be in Charlotte to lend their voices – and their muscles – Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood!


 

Women build home for single mother in Charlotte


May has been dubbed “Women Build Month” and WCNC Charlotte’s Sarah French visited with some of the female builders and the recipient of the very first Women Build Home.


Janet Stewart, a single mother of two, was the very first recipient of a women-built Habitat for Humanity home.


"It was honestly, it was truly a blessing," Stewart told French. "We were constantly moving every year too because we were priced out of where we were living."


In North Carolina, one in eight households spends more than half their income on housing, often forcing them to choose between paying for housing or other vital needs for their family.

"But when I was introduced to Habitat, it changed our lives immensely," Stewart explained. "It gave us security. And we were able to not worry about what we were going to do next year."


In North Carolina, the affordable housing shortage is estimated to be around 46,000 homes.


Sharon Sullivan, the CEO of Renewal by Andersen, is a longtime volunteer with Habitat.


"The mission of affordable housing, and what impact it has on a community was just so meaningful to me and to our team. It was something they were all excited to be a part of," Sullivan explained. "If you look at housing and the economy and how many households are headed by single females head of households, we are thrilled that it will be a female occupant here. And I know from my work with Habitat, how meaningful that is generationally."


"The part for me, that my kids always know where to go," Stewart added. "They have someplace to go no matter what. Because it is truly a blessing."


The very first Women Build took place in 1991 and now it's become an annual tradition for Habitat.

Stewart also left a special note for the new homeowner.


"May many more blessings come your way," Stewart said aloud as she wrote.


From one homeowner to the next.


“It’s a message of hope for the future," Stewart said getting a little emotional.


As these women give back by paying it forward to the next generation.


Ahead of October, WCNC Charlotte will share stories about the affordable housing struggle in Charlotte and how the Carter Work Project will help those in need. Among the celebrities who will be in Charlotte to lend their voices – and their muscles – Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood!


 

The Meadows at Plato Price



The Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project to benefit Habitat for Humanity is returning to Charlotte with WCNC Charlotte as a proud partner.


Volunteers will come together to build 39 new homes at an affordable housing development near the airport in west Charlotte. Preparations will culminate with construction taking place the first week of October.


“So this is something that has been envisioned for years,” Laura Belcher, Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte’s CEO, said.


Belcher told WCNC’s Sarah French the land has special meaning.


“The land actually is the former site of the Plato Price School, which had many great graduates, prominent graduates from the Black African American community in the '50s and '60s,” Belcher explained.


Some former Plato Price students were interviewed for a Habitat video, as the housing project moved forward.


“My name is Eddie L. Hoover M.D. I'm a proud product of Plato Price High School,” Hoover said.


“I am Nellie Ashford. Class of 1961. The greatest class of Plato Price High School,” Ashford added.


Founded in 1915, Plato Price stood as the centerpiece of a once-thriving Black neighborhood in West Charlotte.


The school was named in honor of Mr. Plato Price – a Mecklenburg County Board of Education member and a staunch advocate for educational opportunities for African-American children.


The school had several notable alumni, including prominent cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Eddie L. Hoover, renowned folk artist Nellie Ashford and former Congressman Mel Watt.


“Plato Price High School had a sense of pride. It was a very tight community,” Ashford said.


The school closed its doors in 1966 as part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board’s desegregation plan. The city of Charlotte acquired the land in 1983 and the school was demolished.


“And so the city of Charlotte and Habitat partnered and we were able to secure the donation of the land from the city,” Belcher explained. “And then envision what could be the best and highest calling for the land and 39 homes is the way we're gonna go."


The neighborhood will be called The Meadows at Plato Price. It’s located in a spot where affordable houses are desperately needed. In this part of Charlotte, the average rate of homeownership is just 26% compared to 57% for the rest of Mecklenburg County.


Black Charlotteans are far more likely to be homeless than the average resident. Out of almost 2,700 people who are homeless in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, more than three-quarters are Black.


Hoover says he would like to see the Plato Price Alumni Association have a mentoring presence in this new community.


“The reason why Plato Price produced a really, really significant large number of successful students, the teaching staff the way they shepherded us, and encouraged us,” Hoover said. “So they are the ones who talked to us about — encouraging us to do — not just go to college, but just do things in high school to make us better citizens, make us more fully rounded people.”


Almost 60 years after Plato Price closed its doors, a new neighborhood is opening, bringing a new start for so many.

“It makes me feel indescribably happy to know that now that property where I walked, there are new people coming and going to revitalize the area and have a sense of home,” Ashford said. “It makes me feel good inside. It makes my heart beat differently. To know that now, rather than just look at an empty field I'm going to see people with a home and with children for our future”


 

Jimmy Carter's dream will soon become reality in this Charlotte neighborhood


The Carter Work Project actually started almost 40 years ago. In September of 1984, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter led a group of Habitat for Humanity volunteers to build safe, affordable housing in New York.


"I never dreamed at that point that it might become an annual affair that has enriched our lives in many ways," Carter said in a Habitat interview.


The Carter Work Project grew into a weeklong event, taking place in different locations all over the world every year.

And in 1987, it came to Charlotte to build 14 affordable homes in the Optimist Park area.


"President Carter has worked with Habitat for the past 37 years to draw attention to the needs of affordable housing, both nationally and globally," Belcher said. "And so in his honor, legacy, that effort continues."


Belcher says the Carters set an example for everyone with their volunteer efforts.


"It's really a way to put someone's passions and beliefs into action, right?" Belcher said. "More than words, it's coming out and physically building and that's really what the Carters did. It's really an example of servant leadership."


"Many times at the end of the week when the house is finished and we get to deliver a Bible and keys to their new house, I think that’s the times in my life when I have wept more than any other for excitement and gratification I was privileged along with my wife to participate in such a great project," Carter said.


Throughout his life, Jimmy Carter saw firsthand how hard it is to make ends meet due to a lack of affordable housing.


Families need a safe place to call home. And even after a bad fall in 2019, at the age of 95 with 14 stitches and a black eye, the former president was volunteering with Habitat.


“Habitat is inspirational," Carter said. "Just the motivation to come to Habitat as I’ve said many times, we get a lot more out of it than we put into it."


He committed his life to helping others. A life of service and an example not just through words, but actions.


“We come here from a lot of different backgrounds, experiences and hopes and dreams and frustrations and disappointments and when we get on a Habitat project everybody just kinda melds in to be the same," Carter said.


A legacy that will continue to help other families for years to come.


"Habitat makes people equal and in doing so elevates everybody," the former president said.


In 2019, the Carters transitioned their ambassadorship to Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, so they will be in Charlotte volunteering come October.


 

Single mom who is legally blind gets her dream home through Habitat for Humanity


Volunteers will come together to build 39 new homes at an affordable housing development near the airport in west Charlotte. Preparations will culminate with construction taking place the first week of October.


"I'm very excited," future resident Brianna said. "This is something that's really, really great for my family. Like my kids, just a blessing."


Brianna is thrilled to be finally moving into her own home with her kids. She'll be moving into one of the 39 new homes at the Meadows at Plato Price. Habitat for Humanity is building the community in West Charlotte. The $10.6 million development is named after the all-Black grade school that once stood here.


"I got connected with Habitat through a family friend," she said.


It hasn’t always been easy for Brianna. At the age of 16, she was diagnosed with macular dystrophy and is legally blind, but she doesn’t let obstacles get in her way.


"By me having this disability, it doesn't stop me," Brianna said. "So with the design of the house, I've been out here, busting them sweat equity hours, and I'm doing what I can to help."


The Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project to benefit Habitat for Humanity is returning to Charlotte with WCNC Charlotte as a proud partner.


For Laura Belcher, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Charlotte, building affordable housing in the area is her top goal.

"It's really a challenge in Charlotte. The need for housing is immense," Belcher told WCNC Charlotte's Sarah French.

"We have a multi-year backlog, a pipeline of applicants that are qualified and ready for housing. We're just trying to build as fast as we can."


For Brianna, this home is an answered prayer.


"It has been just amazing. Like just being out here to actually see it from the foundation to the walls going up and the roof going on," Brianna said. "I look forward to my kids being able to play in a safe area. Being in a cul-de-sac area, they'll be able to ride their bikes. My kids are my number one priority. And so I just feel safe. I can't wait to have holidays and different little events inside my house. Like just something that I can call mine."


Ahead of October, WCNC Charlotte will share stories about the affordable housing struggle in Charlotte and how the "Carter Work Project” will help those in need. Among the celebrities who will be in Charlotte to lend their voices – and their muscles – Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood!


Comments


bottom of page