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Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills Partners with St. Joseph of the Pines on First-Ever Employee Build


Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills has built or repaired more than 300 homes in Moore and Richmond counties over the past three decades, but until now had never partnered with a business to construct a new residence for an employeeof that company.

Enter St. Joseph of the Pines, which is in the middle of an internal fundraising campaign to raise $70,000 so that Stacy Martin and her family can move from an apartment complex into a four-bedroom home being built in Aberdeen.
“We are thrilled to partner with St. Joseph of the Pines on this special build,” said Amie Fraley, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills. “It’s inspiring to see an employer so committed to its colleagues.”

Martin, 31, a housekeeper at The Coventry on the St. Joseph of the Pines campus in Southern Pines, said she “never imagined owning my own home.”

“A former neighbor from the complex who now owns a Habitat home encouraged me to fill out an application,” she said. “I was approved by Habitat last year and they started working on the site earlier this month. I go there every day.

“It’s the most exciting thing to see, knowing that my family is getting closer and closer to moving in.”
Once Martin was approved by Habitat and the partnership had been established, St. Joseph of the Pines solicited colleagues, residents, board members and vendors for donations to make Martin’s dream come true. So far, about $35,000 has been raised.

“It makes me feel really good to know that people who don’t even know me are donating to my house,” Martin said. “I can’t thank them enough for everything. I’m so overjoyed and thankful that St. Joseph of the Pines has partnered with Habitat for Humanity. My family is so fortunate.”

Fraley said Habitat believes that everyone deserves a safe, decent and affordablehome. The nonprofit offers “a hand up, not a handout” to hardworking families so they can purchase a home with a no-interest mortgage.

This means Martin will purchase the home from Habitat after she completes 300 sweat equity hours and attends homeownership classes.

“Too many people think we give away homes to those without jobs,” Fraley said. “In fact, we sell homes to hardworking families in our community.”

Steven Kastner, president and CEO for St. Joseph of the Pines, serves on the local Habitat Board of Directors and believes that the nonprofit entities share a unique vision.

“We feel a real connection to Habitat by living our mission of serving together as a transforming, healing presence in our community,” Kastner said. “What Habitat does is much more than providing shelter for people. It’s the intangible quality of hope that it provides.”

Kastner noted that five other St. Joseph of the Pines colleagues own Habitat homes.

“We have seen the real tangible benefits that Habitat homeowners receive,” he said. “By their own initiative, through their own pride and hope, they change.”

Fraley agreed, saying, “Homeownership leads to motivated employees able to focus on their work. We look forward to continuing this relationship to serve our community together.”

St. Joseph of the Pines hosted a “Build Day” for Martin’s home on April 21 in which participants could swing a hammer or “sign a stud.” Students from neighboring St. John Paul II Catholic School eagerly did both.

“It was amazing to see the kids come and support me,” Martin said. “There were a lot of signatures on those studs – a lot. I know my house will be blessed by all those signatures.”

Fraley said the partnership with St. Joseph of the Pines has been such a success that Habitat would like to grow the concept.

“We hope to partner with other lead employers so they can identify hardworkingemployees who meet our criteria,” she said. “We value local employers who recognize that teaming up with Habitat is a worthwhile investment.”

Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills is part of a global nonprofit housing organization founded on Christian principles with a vision to provide safe, decent and affordable housing in the Sandhills. Since 1988, the affiliate has served over 300 families in Moore and Richmond counties through home construction and repairs. It operates ReStores in each county, and the funds go directly to building more homes. As an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, its work extends internationally to Zambia and Haiti.

St. Joseph of the Pines is an aging services network offering a full continuum ofretirement housing, health care and community-based services for older adults as well as community outreach to those in need. It is a Trinity Senior Living Community continuing the legacy of the Sisters of Providence.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Aberdeen Times. The original article appeared April 25, 2016.