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UNC Habitat for Humanity sets high goals for the year

The Orange County branch of Habitat for Humanity is currently working on building two houses in the Northside neighborhood of Chapel Hill.
The Orange County branch of Habitat for Humanity is currently working on building two houses in the Northside neighborhood of Chapel Hill.

A major goal of the organization this year is to connect various parts of the UNC community to the efforts of Habitat.

“I think the biggest thing is we’d love for people on campus to take a personal responsibility toward the project, to help with fundraising, going out to the builds and really putting in extra effort,” said co-chairperson Matt Coleman.

Their new fundraising endeavor is a virtual online tournament called Racery. Through this application, student groups and clubs can help fundraise by making teams, running 1,000 miles and logging the miles they run on a virtual map of North Carolina.

Alex Mitchell, a co-chairperson of UNC Habitat for Humanity, said the group is also partnering with various schools within UNC, such as the School of Information and Library Science, to help raise funds and contribute volunteers.

The group will be working closely with Orange County Habitat for Humanity to build the 10 houses in Northside neighborhood.

Building in this location is significant because it is so close to the UNC campus, Mitchell said. This allows students easy access to the build sites and to feel more connected to the project.

“Usually we would drive 45 minutes to Efland in Orange County, but now you can walk 20 minutes and also make an indelible mark on the Chapel Hill community,” he said.

Building affordable houses in Northside plays an important role in building and maintaining the community, said Mark Peifer, UNC Habitat faculty advisor.

“If you’re an owner of the home, right, then you know you’re invested in that place and I think that’s again a great aspect of the work Habitat does, right, it’s also creating communities,” Peifer said.

Coleman said those who receive homes from Habitat also put in “sweat equity.”

"They don’t only work on their house, they also work on their neighbors’ homes — like you have other neighbors and just people on campus come out just to build and I think it really brings people together in a community to accomplish a common goal,” Coleman said.

UNC Habitat for Humanity plays an important role in not only building affordable housing in Chapel Hill, but also raising awareness of the need for such housing.

Mitchell said it’s important to make local housing more affordable so people working in the area don’t have to make long commutes.

“There’s a pressure on the surrounding community to build small houses that will house students who will pay very high rent and not big houses that will house families that want to pay affordable rent,” Mitchell said.


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