It’s been a year since Habitat for Humanity of Greene County asked residents what they wanted from the nonprofit and since that time the group of volunteers has been working to achieve the goals set forth by the community.
While Habitat for Humanity is known far and wide as an organization that helps people affordably own their homes the survey showed people thought the organization should help make health and safety home repairs for lower-income county residents, as well.
Steering Committee Chair Bruce Seger told a group of volunteers and sponsors last Thursday night at Blue Ridge School that partnerships have made it possible for the group to meet these goals in the past year.
The group dedicated a home, which it purchased from the Greene County Technical Education Center’s carpentry class, in April on Va. Route 230 on land that was donated by a Stanardsville resident whose father had ties to Blue Ridge School.
Throughout the year, a partnership with Skyline Community Action Partnership (CAP) Greene Habitat has provided volunteers to help with home improvements using funds that Skyline CAP receives.
“We’re focusing on ramps and home repairs and we’ve had several situations where we have renters in the community who need access to their homes,” Seger said. “We’ve been able to put up aluminum ramps so that when a family no longer needs it we can move that ramp to another site.”
Rusty Burwell, a member of the steering committee, told the audience that Greene Habitat is a chapter of the Greater Charlottesville Habitat for Humanity.
“As Greene County, we are small but mighty, and we’re happy to be focused here in Greene County on homeownership and affordable housing,” Burwell said. “There are folks who need that here in Greene County and as small as Greene County is, there is a lot of need. We’re very happy with discussions at the county level around affordable housing.”
But the chapter helps those in Greene.
“As Rusty mentioned we’re a chapter of the Charlottesville Habitat for Humanity, but the families are Greene County families, the volunteers are Greene County volunteers and then as much funding as we can squeeze out is from Greene County,” Seger said.
Recent partnerships, in addition to Blue Ridge School and its students helping with building the home on Madison Road, include: United Bank; the Institute for Highway Safety; Paul Davis Restoration; Truslow Yost insurance; Rappahannock Electric Cooperative; Greene County School Board; Skyline CAP; and Greene Alliance of Church and Community Efforts (GRACE). Burwell and Seger said the group is looking for additional businesses or individuals to partner with them for upcoming builds.
Ruth Stone, chief advancement officer with Charlottesville Habitat, said Greene is running a “stellar program.”
“Here in Greene County, the goal is to build at least one home a year, and you all have been really working aggressively and well to find partners to help you do that,” Stone said. “Then there is rebuilding and Greene is really shining there. And I think one of the most impressive things is they didn’t just go out and decide what the community needed. They did a community survey.”
Stone said there is also financial and homeownership counseling done by the organization.
“So, there are a lot of different ways that Habitat is making changes, some very visible, some not so visible. But I have to say we’re so fortunate to have Greene County as our partners as Penny (Harrison-Latham) is wonderful to work with us, as the whole team is and we’re very grateful to be associated. “
Harrison-Latham is the executive director of Greene Habitat.
Franklin Daniels, associate headmaster for external affairs, said he was thrilled to be more involved in the community at large.
“I know Trip (Darrin). And John (Dudley) and I are delighted to have you all here,” Daniels said. “We’re happy to play a small role in this project. As Alan (Yost) knows, we’re interested, as a school, in doing more partnerships right here where we have always lived, as well. And sometimes we don’t exactly know how to do that, to be entirely honest. So this felt like a wonderful way to start.”
Darrin is Blue Ridge School’s headmaster and Dudley is the director of communications and marketing for Blue Ridge School.