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Chatham Habitat for Humanity is seeking ten churches to help build a home with a low-income family

By Bett Essen
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - Blank Shalena and her four year-old son Nicolas currently share a small room in a family member’s over-crowded house, where they have little space for their clothes and other belongings. She dreams of owning a home where her son will have a bedroom and a yard to play in. Though she works hard at a local hospital, she doesn’t earn enough to qualify for a regular mortgage. She hopes to take classes some day to help her advance in her medical career and create a better life for her son and herself.

Chatham Habitat for Humanity is seeking ten local churches to help build and fund a home in partnership with this low-income family through a FaithWorks project, to be funded in part by the Duke Endowment. Construction on the home is scheduled to begin in mid-April in the new Chatham Oak community, located south of Pittsboro. To get involved in the project, churches can contact Kay Taylor at (919) 542-0794, ext. 221 or Bett Essen at ext. 222.

Churches involved in Habitat projects report that the experience strengthened them as a congregation. “I think the number one benefit for our congregation is spiritual. Working with Habitat helps us create a deeper relationship with God, ” said Rev. Paul Clayton. “It also allows us good experiences for fellowship and group building.”

The Duke Endowment awards FaithWorks challenge grants of $10,000 to 15 rural North Carolina Habitat affiliates to encourage churches to become effective advocates for affordable housing. The coalition of congregations will be made up of diverse denominational and racial church partners, including Ebenezer United Methodist Church of Pittsboro which will serve as the qualifying Duke Endowment partner.

Chatham Habitat was first awarded a FaithWorks grant in 2004 which helped spark congregational support and led to the successful Apostles Build program. “Faith-based builds have brought together approximately 25 different congregations from throughout this rural county,” said Development Director Kay Taylor. “The volunteers, financial support, and educational components have become a foundational part of Chatham Habitat’s program,” she added. In an Apostles Build, 12 congregations join together as “apostles” to build and fund approximately two Habitat houses per year. A church can sign up for a build at any time.

About Chatham Oak: Chatham Oak is a unique mixed-income community under development by Chatham Habitat on five acres of land provided by the county for affordable housing. The organization is contracting with a commercial builder, who will build seven out of 15 of the homes selling for between $120,000 and $160,000. The Habitat homes will have 0% mortgages; low-interest mortgage loan commitments for eligible buyers will be available on the other homes through a U.S.D.A. Rural Development/N.C. Housing Finance Agency partnership.

About Chatham Habitat for Humanity: Since 1989, Chatham Habitat for Humanity has worked to change substandard housing conditions throughout Chatham County by making homeownership possible for nearly 90 families. In the process, Habitat is able to transform lives, improve neighborhoods, and most importantly, give hope and strength to our communities. For more information visit our web site:

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