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Habitat for Humanity receives grant to build UNC staff member's home

The UNC and Orange County chapters of Habitat for Humanity began building a home for a UNC health care worker and his daughter. 

The UNC and Orange County chapters of Habitat for Humanity began building a home for a UNC health care worker and his daughter. 

UNC’s Habitat for Humanity chapter received a $20,000 matching grant to supplement its fundraising efforts toward the building of a house for a UNC health care worker.

Chris and his nine-year-old son, whose last name is not mentioned for privacy reasons, are looking for a stable home to call their own. Any money the club raises will be matched by State Farm, Habitat for Humanity’s sponsor, up to $20,000 dollars — all going to building Chris' new home.

Senior Sarah Renfro, UNC Habitat for Humanity co-director, said UNC’s chapter was one of two recipients of the grant out of the 150 chapters that applied. Renfro was driving back to school when she heard her chapter was selected. 

“I was screaming and jumping and it was amazing, I was on top of the world,” Renfro said. 

Qualifications for receiving the matching grant included demonstrating the ability to successfully fundraise, focusing on engaging supporters as advocates for affordable housing and having a strong relationship with covenant affiliate. 

The club raised $32,000 with its two biggest fundraisers in 2016: Shack-a-Thon and the Mixed Concrete art auction. Co-director of UNC Habitiat for Humanity and senior Melissa White said with modifications to their fundraising, she hopes to raise even more money this year.

“Last year we raised $11,000 with the art auction, and this year we’re hoping to do that or even more,” White said. “We’re moving to a bigger venue, hopefully Great Room at (Top of the Hill) so hopefully that will bring in a good chunk of the $20,000.”

UNC’s chapter partners with Orange County Habitat for Humanity, which will use the money raised to purchase construction supplies for Chris’s house. 

Alice Jacoby, Orange County Habitat for Humanity associate director of engagement, advises UNC’s chapter. She said she is motivated and inspired by UNC’s chapter every day because of their fresh ideas and desire to make a difference in their community. 

“[The students] really recognize how important the issue of housing is and the lack of affordable housing in this area,” Jacoby said. “In particular, how that impacts staff and employees at UNC who work there every day to make UNC a better place.”

Renfro said she likes that UNC Habitat works with Orange County because they make sure that the club is funding houses for people that are affiliated with the University.

“Only 36 percent of housing in Chapel Hill is considered affordable, so us as a club, we focus on providing homes for UNC staff members specifically,” she said. “It’s a way for us as students to give back to a community that already does so much for us on campus.”


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