On Saturday, December 10, Habitat Greensboro officially kicked off Phase 2 of construction in the Willow Oaks Community, marking the beginning of the construction of four new single-family homes for future homeowners April, Breyonna, Kelli, and Terri.

Habitat Greensboro’s Chief Operating Officer, Ruthie Richardson-Robinson, welcomed those in attendance, sharing, “Today is a very special day for us. Phase 2 of Willow Oaks marks the groundbreaking ceremony of the first four homes of eight in the second phase of house building in this neighborhood. We completed the first six homes just a few months ago, and today marks the groundbreaking for the second phase, and we’re really excited about it.”

Sophia Crisp, member of Habitat Greensboro’s Homeowner Services Committee and Executive Director of the Housing Consultants Group, opened the event, praying, “Let this be a journey for [April, Breyonna, Kelli, and Terri] that’s transformational. Let it be a journey that they’ll not just have a house, but they’ll have a home. They’ll have a home to raise their families and create generational wealth and love and flexibility and a life that allows them to do the things they would not be able to do otherwise.”

District 1 City Councilwoman Sharon Hightower followed Crisp, offering greetings on behalf of the City of Greensboro and sharing, “We are building here, we are growing, and we are growing with you in mind, you and your families. Sophia prayed a prayer that speaks to my heart, and that is generational wealth. That is building in your family. That is leaving a legacy for the little ones I see that are running around here this morning because it is so critically important that you invest in yourselves and you invest in them. And, because of that, the City of Greensboro invests in you also. We applaud Habitat for building in this community, various homes in this community. We, the City of Greensboro, support them. It is our mission to have stable, secure, safe neighborhoods for you to live and thrive in. That is what we are about here in Willow Oaks and throughout the City of Greensboro, but particularly in East Greensboro.”

That is the goal for all Habitat Greensboro homeowners, to have a home to provide stability for their families in which they can create generational wealth. This would not be possible without the generous support of Habitat Greensboro’s build partners. The homes included in the kickoff ceremony represent the coming together of multiple individuals, businesses, and faith communities from throughout the community.

The Building on Faith home, being built for future homeowner Kelli, is sponsored by: Calvary Christian Center, First Baptist Church – Greensboro, First Lutheran Church, Guilford College United Methodist Church, Guilford Park Presbyterian, Memorial Presbyterian Church, Monticello UCC Women’s Fellowship Club, Muirs Chapel United Methodist Church, Muslims of the Triad, Providence Baptist Church, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. Benedict Catholic Church, St. Paul Presbyterian Church, Starmount Presbyterian Church, and Temple Emanuel Religious School. The land for this home is sponsored in memory of long-time Habitat Greensboro volunteer and advocate Dr. Palmer Shelburne.

Celebrating the kickoff of her home, future homeowner April shared, “Buying my first home is a memory I will never forget. It has not been easy, but this has been a lifelong dream, and I can’t wait to turn the key and walk through the door for the first time.”

Habitat Greensboro’s homes are built in partnership with not just the local faith community but also the local business community. This is exemplified through multi-sponsor builds. The 2022 Multi-Sponsor home, built for future homeowner Breyonna, brings together Arch MI, Brady Services, Columbia Forest Products, CoreLogic, individual donor Agnes Hughes, Tencarva, CBRE Triad. On behalf of these sponsors, Brad Resler, President and COO of Brady Services, shared, “we are honored to be a part of the East Greensboro Community and to participate in such a meaningful and important build for Kelli, Breyonna, Terri, and April. We’re looking forward to swinging hammers with you, seeing your houses come out of the ground, and being a part of creating real generational wealth that was mentioned before. And, more importantly, a place where you can call home, a place where you can be safe, a place where you can raise your families, a place where you can make memories, and a place that you’ve earned because you’re going to help us build it and it’s going to be your own.”

Regarding her future home, Breyonna shared, “This journey has meant everything. I work so hard … to provide a stable home for my kids, somewhere where they can grow up and get familiar with the neighborhood. I just thank you all for allowing me this opportunity to invest in myself and my kids.”

On behalf of the home sponsored by his company, Pella Windows & Doors of North Carolina and Southwest Virginia, Lee Way shared, “Habitat does so much more than build houses. They build stability in communities. They build houses for hardworking families to do the most important job in the world, and that is to raise their families and help their community thrive. So, we are absolutely honored to be part of this organization to help contribute to stabilizing Greensboro and, like we’ve all said, create generational wealth and happiness.”

Future homeowner, Kelli, is looking forward to the happiness that comes with homeownership. She shared her motivation for becoming a homeowner, stating, “as a child, I experienced homelessness. A few years ago, we were comfortable in a nice rental home, and then the landlord decided to do a quick sale. We had to scramble. Apartment rents increase every leasing term … I am a social worker. I always push daily to help and support others, and so it’s so humbling to be in a position to receive help and support. It’s my deepest heart’s desire to own a stable home of my own, for safety, for permanency. We look forward to feeling an inner sense of peace and stability and creating a haven and a safe place in this crazy world.”

This year, Habitat Greensboro introduced a new collaborative build – Hearts for Home. This collaboration brought bankers, realtors, and mortgage lenders together to sponsor a home. These sponsors included: Allegacy Federal Credit Union, Allen Tate, American National, Andrews Insurance Services Inc., Bank of America, Bank of Oak Ridge, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Carter Bank and Trust, Cheryl Tumlin, Coldwell Banker Advantage, First Bank, First Citizens Bank, First National Bank, Greensboro Regional Realtors Foundation, Individual Donor Agnes Hughes, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Smith Marketing Inc./Allen Tate Realtors, Truist, Truliant Federal Credit Union, and Wells Fargo Builds.

On behalf of this group, Wayne Young, Habitat Greensboro Board Chair and Allen Tate Realtor, shared, “I was so excited to see realtors from all different offices in our wonderful city. I am going to be excited to see the realtors, bankers, and mortgage folks out here helping to build this beautiful home for Terri. So we thank you for being out here and supporting [this build]. We are excited to be a part of it and look forward to the dedication on that day when she can move into that house with her family and begin the journey of homeownership.”

Paul Kress, Senior Vice President Middle Market – Commercial Banking with Wells Fargo, also participated in the ceremony, offering, “Wells Fargo Builds, last year, donated about $8 million to help construct 350 houses across the US. To Wells Fargo, housing is a big deal. And, you know, there’s nobody that does low to moderate-income housing better than Habitat. You really are doing the Lord’s work, and so it’s an honor to be able to participate in that.”

Future homeowner Terri is excited to begin the journey of homeownership and to share that journey with her children. As she shared at the kickoff, “I’m proud to be able to show [my children] that they can make it and can succeed in life.”

In Habitat tradition, following comments and a blessing for the builds, attendees signed their well-wishes on the 2x4s that will be used to frame these four homes.