Correction (November 9, 2010 12:15 a.m.): Due to reporting errors, a previous version of this story incorrectly stated Lauren Blanchet’s title. She is the co-director of UNC Build a Block. The story also incorrectly implies the number of families who applied and were approved for Build a Block homes. Out of 33 people who applied for houses, 24 were UNC employees, and they will all receive houses in Phoenix Place. The story also misstated when and by what organization Marian Peppers’ house was built. Her house was built last year by the Kenan-Flagler Business School and is not one of the designated Build a Block houses. Additionally, Marian Peppers’ house was dedicated in a ceremony separate from Build a Block. No Build a Block houses yet have been dedicated. The story has been updated to reflect these corrections. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the errors.
Despite the dreary weather, students and employees came together for the first time Saturday to celebrate Build a Block, UNC Habitat for Humanity’s project to house University employees.
After a brief lunch, employees and students, including Student Body President Hogan Medlin, got to work hammering foundations and painting walls.
“This has brought UNC employees and students together to fix a problem we have found, which is employees living in substandard houses,” said Lauren Blanchet, one of the co-directors of UNC Build A Block.
Susan Levy, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Orange County, said the families are receiving more than just a home. They have to put 325 hours of work into their home and those of others, have a good credit score, make mortgage payments and pay for upkeep.
Even with the several requirements, many families met the criteria. In all, 33 families were approved overall and 24 families of UNC employees were approved to receive houses. Families of UNC employees eventually will get homes in the Phoenix Place neighborhood on Edgar Street off of Rogers Road.
“This is a culmination of a dream we’ve had for a long time,” she said. “We wanted to involve the whole UNC campus. We couldn’t be more pleased with the enthusiastic response.”
Ten of those homes will be built this year, and all 24 should be completed by 2012, which Levy attributed in part to the efforts and donations of various UNC departments.
“It was a stretch goal to do 10 houses this year, but we like to push,” Levy said. “Patti and Holden Thorp really supported Build a Block.”
UNC employee and Phoenix Place Homeowners Association president Marian Peppers moved in Aug. 20, making her the first UNC employee to move into the community. Even after fulfilling the 325 hours needed, Peppers has devoted hours to landscaping and answering questions from new families.
“I grew up on the corner of Rogers Road, so this is my home place,” she said.
Peppers said she enjoyed working with the students, and thought it funny to see varying levels of experience during the build.
“One student was just tapping on one nail, and I had to tell her to hit it hard,” she said.
Other students on site were enjoying themselves while working.
“The cool thing about today is that staff and students still came out despite the weather,” Medlin said, while building an interior wall. “Carolina doesn’t let anything get in the way.”
“We are serving those who serve us daily,” said Alice Day Brown, co-chairwoman of UNC Habitat. “Lots of people are giving money, but it is good to get together.”
Students and employees gathered as the fourth house was dedicated, leaving six to go this year.
“It is very inspiring,” said McKay Coble, chairwoman of the faculty.
“It was the best moment seeing a house dedicated.”
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