Why we help: Witnessing families gain safe, affordable housing

Joel Johnson

I was initially drawn to Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity to help advance a pilot deconstruction program created to reduce construction waste at our landfills and generate additional ReStore income to support Asheville Habitat’s mission around affordable housing. I have spent the last 10 years growing the organization’s affordable home repair program. The initial response to our repair program and continued growth in applicants have driven our organization’s increased focus on this community need.

I was first attracted to the environmental impact and mutually beneficial service the deconstruction program could have in our community. Witnessing all of the wonderful outcomes for all involved in Habitat’s greater mission of providing safe and affordable housing to area families really resonates with me and remains a source of inspiration.

One of my major sources of motivation has been suspended due to the global spread of COVID-19. Habitat’s Global Village Build program allows us to help address the increasing need for housing solutions internationally. This experience builds knowledge of what need looks like for those in other countries experiencing deeper income inequality than normally seen in the U.S. It’s pretty powerful work, and I never take for granted the opportunity I have to lead groups of volunteers on these service adventures. The work is motivational and stokes the desire to continue serving families in our local community.

My motivation is currently fueled by Asheville Habitat’s continual desire to increase our impact in the local community. Additionally, the opportunities for positive interactions and to learn about the families we partner with, many of whom lack these experiences in their everyday lives, is extremely rewarding.

There are many external factors that continue to present challenges: staffing (paid and volunteer), supply chain issues, including limited availability and high pricing of materials, changing protocols and lingering uncertainty around COVID, and the ever-increasing need for affordable housing in our region.

— Joel Johnson
Home repair manager
Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity


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