What: Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity will hold a public wall-raising event for the four-bedroom, two-bath Pope Francis House — the first Habitat house in the nation built in honor of the Catholic leader. Local and nonlocal groups are invited to participate in the build.
When: Wednesday, May 21 at noon
Where: Jeffress Ave., Shiloh, South Asheville.
Why: Constructed for Lashawn Meadows and her family, who have struggled with substandard rental units in Asheville’s low-wage/high cost living milieu, The Pope Francis House is fully sponsored by an anonymous local donor who was deeply inspired by the new pope.
Xpress spoke with Ariane Kjellquist, communications director of Asheville Habitat about the project:
Xpress: What are the qualities of Pope Francis that inspired building a house in his honor?
Kjellquist: A quote by the pope about “dignity through work” really caught the attention of the donors. They felt the sentiment really matched the language of Habitat, and in general, they’re very impressed by the rejuvenation that this pope has brought to many aspects of the Catholic Church.
Are there any other Pope Francis Houses going up around the nation?
None that we know of — though Asheville Habitat and the donor hope our Pope Francis House will inspire other Habitat affiliates to build in the Pope’s honor going forward. On a similar note, Asheville Habitat for Humanity was the first affiliate to build an Interfaith House in an effort to promote acceptance and unite diverse faith groups towards a common cause. After the events of September 11, other Habitat affiliates adopted the model and used it as a healing tool.