GREENVILLE, S.C. – The search for affordable housing remains one of many burdens that veterans often face upon return home from active duty. Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County aims to lessen that burden through their inaugural Veteran Build initiative. The first of its kind in Greenville, the project will build a safe, sustainable neighborhood in which veteran families can thrive.
The Campaign for Grace Point, named for the neighborhood in which the homes will be located, will be carried out in three phases. Grace Point, located off of the White Horse Road corridor, contains six existing homes in need of renovation, and seven lots for residential construction. The first phase of the project, already completed, included the purchase of the seven lots and the construction of three new homes. Phases II and III include purchase and renovation of the six existing homes and construction of four additional new homes. A total of six homes will be reserved exclusively for ownership by veterans and their families. The neighborhood will be completed by 2018.
In addition to their veteran status, the families will also have to be approved for participation in the Habitat program. Successful completion of the Habitat homeownership program includes meeting the income, debt and employment guidelines, completing 25 hours of homeownership preparation classes, performing 200 hours of sweat equity working on Habitat homes, and having the ability to pay an affordable mortgage.
A 2013 study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition reveals the need for an affordable housing solution that specifically addresses veterans. The study found that, of the 20 million veteran households in America, one in four faces housing cost burdens. 1.5 million of those households spend over 50% of their income on housing, leaving them vulnerable to an emergency that could render them homeless. With its Veteran Build initiative, Habitat Greenville is working to change these statistics locally through affordable homeownership opportunities for veterans.
Habitat Greenville’s campaign officially kicked off on Tuesday, with presentations from Habitat staff, capital campaign committee, headed by Andy Douglas, Greenville Market President, Bank of America (retired); members of the Habitat Board of Directors, and a presentation by the first veteran family to enroll in Habitat Greenville’s Veteran Build initiative.
“Despite their sacrifice and service to our country, veterans face a risk of housing instability when they return,” said Monroe Free, Executive Director of Habitat Greenville. “Through the development of Grace Point, we are making a commitment to our local veterans that they will be able to find safe and secure affordable housing in Greenville. We are asking the community to make the same commitment to our local heroes through support of this initiative.”
Between new home construction, purchasing and rehabilitating the existing homes, and the cost of the homeownership program, the Campaign for Grace Point aims to raise $1.435 million to fund the development of the neighborhood. Habitat Greenville has already raised $919,000 of that total, and is looking to the community to invest support in the project. Donations to the Campaign for Grace Point can be made online at www.habitatgreenville.org, or by mail to Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County, P.O. Box 1206, Greenville, SC, 29602. Donors must specify that their donations are to be used for the Campaign for Grace Point.
About Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County: Through affordable home construction, Habitat for Humanity of Greenville strives to eliminate poverty housing and the social and economic problems it causes. Habitat Greenville received the Greenville Chamber’s Neighborhood Improvement Award in 2015, and was recognized with the 2015 Nonprofit Excellence Award, given by the SC Association of Nonprofit Organizations (SCANPO). Habitat Greenville, chartered in 1985, celebrated its 30th anniversary and construction of its 330th home in 2015. Learn more at www.habitatgreenville.org.