The News & Observer covers Green Plus 2011 Sustainable Non-Profit / Social Enterprise of the Year Finalist Builders of Hope.
“Fidelity provided the financing to fix the homes. In keeping with the “reduce, reuse, recycle” themes of the project, each house was renovated using green-building strategies, including adding insulation, using passive solar orientation, updating the plumbing and lighting, and bringing the hardwoods in the old homes back to their original luster. The houses were then sold significantly below market rate to create a true mixed-income community.
To strengthen the virtuous circle, Builders of Hope has launched Hope Works, which focuses on “restoring and revitalizing” the lives of hard-to-employ men and women living in the community.
Partnering with social service providers such as the Raleigh Rescue Mission and the departments of Correction and Veterans Affairs, Hope Works equips participants with residential construction skills and highly marketable sustainable building expertise. Hope Works then strives to place graduates into permanent positions through their contracting network – or keeps them on as experienced hands for new Builders of Hope job sites.
Builders of Hope’s success has caught the attention of other cities. When Veterans Affairs was planning a new hospital in New Orleans’ mid-city, threatening to wipe out historic homes, they reached out to Builders of Hope.
Within 11 weeks, the organization rescued 74 homes from the site (including the Green mansion – home of a prominent African-American born into slavery before becoming a successful businessman), and placed them into neighborhoods still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.
Detroit, which plans to tear down 3,000 homes per year for the next three years, is talking to the nonprofit about creative ways to save some of the best homes as well as the estimated 35,000 pounds of debris that ends up in landfills from each house torn down.
In Durham, Builders of Hope has partnered with Duke University to leverage the technology from its Smart Home. Through funding from Durham’s Office of Community Development, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Wal-Mart Foundation the project is employing young, under-employed parents to retrofit six abandoned shotgun homes.
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The Institute for Sustainable Development / Green Plus