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COLUMN — Many more homes to come from Habitat for Humanity

On December 20, 1990, a dedicated group of local volunteers celebrated the official creation of the Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity.

Now in our 30th year, with the new name of Piedmont Habitat for Humanity, the core values that motivated that original group remain the same. We believe in the powerful good that occurs when the community comes together to work alongside its neighbors in realizing the vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

In the fall of 2017, that same community spirit led to the Birdhouse Build, created in partnership with Prince Edward County Public Schools and Fuqua School. The highlight of that initial partnership was a basketball game with students and teachers entertaining a crowd of more than 400 people at Longwood University.

In addition to the joy that evening, multiple groups of volunteers and donors gave generously as work on the house continued. As with all Habitat builds, laughter along with hard work was in abundance on the build site. And new relationships were formed as people from all walks of life worked shoulder to shoulder for a common good.

Unfortunately, work on this particular home came to a halt as attempts were made to resolve some issues that arose along the way. None of those decisions were made lightly. And although things did not work out as originally imagined for the Birdhouse Build, that in no way takes away from what was accomplished in the power of community. We continue to be so appreciative of Prince Edward and Fuqua in the energy, creativity and hard work they brought to the project.

To all who supported the Birdhouse Build, your efforts were not in vain. We are currently exploring various options regarding the outcome of the house, so that the money and hours invested will advance the mission of safe, decent affordable housing in our community.

Finally, please know that just because work on the Birdhouse Build had to be halted, the work of Habitat never faltered. As housing costs continue to rise while incomes do not, the need for housing that is affordable for everyone only continues to grow. And while the solutions needed include multiple approaches, we have a proven option for qualified families. When a family partners with Habitat, they invest hundreds of hours working on their home, all while preparing themselves financially to pay an affordable monthly mortgage upon completion of the build.

Since the fall of 2017, we have completed seven homes, allowing seven more families to experience the benefits of home ownership. In addition, we have served eight families who were in need of repairs on their homes. Currently we are working with six additional families in our home ownership program, including a current build that just began right in the heart of Farmville.

Thank you to all the local Habitat families who have partnered with us through these 30 years. We consider ourselves blessed to have been a part of your journey and are always inspired by your hard work and dedication in building your dreams. And thank you to all the donors, volunteers and supporters—to all the individuals, churches, businesses, civic groups, government and schools who have made achieving the mission a possibility. Because of you, 49 homes have been built or repaired.

We cannot wait to celebrate the completion of this 50th home currently under construction in Farmville. And we cannot wait to see what the next 30 years will bring as the community continues to come together in loving our neighbors through shelter.

JAYNE JOHNSON is the executive director of Piedmont Habitat for Humanity, Inc. She can be reached at jayne@ piedmonthabitat.org.