September 22, 2023 | Kevin Donaldson
Then came COVID
When the COVID-19 pandemic swept over the country, Habitat’s pool of community volunteers dried up. And the cost of building materials skyrocketed overnight. Churches could no longer provide the abundant labor force necessary to build houses, but their support for the affordable housing ministry didn’t waver.
Of the original Jeremiah Seven, Myers Park United Methodist made a significant contribution for the development of the Meadows at Plato Price, a soon-to-be 39-home community in West Charlotte; Myers Park Presbyterian made a major contribution to Habitat’s Mortgage Relief Fund. Covenant Presbyterian donated funds for Habitat to purchase a nine-acre tract of land from Greater Bethel AME Church.
Pastor Knox of Greater Bethel (pictured on the right with Habitat Charlotte Region’s President and CEO, Laura Belcher) explained that his congregation chose to offer the property to Habitat for less than half its current market value. “We would rather see our land become an affordable housing community than make a big profit by selling to a developer to build big, expensive houses there.” The site will support up to 30 Habitat homes, one of which the church will own as transitional housing for families in need.
And then there’s Providence United Methodist, who stepped forward with additional funding for Habitat’s Mortgage Relief Fund to ensure that homeowners who lost income during the pandemic could remain current with their monthly mortgages. Brandon Dirks, Associate Minister at Providence discovered an undesignated sum in the church’s COVID relief fund that could be used by Habitat for mortgage relief. He called it “a God thing.” We call it Providential.