Charlotte woman reflects on experience with Habitat for Humanity as work project returns
By the end of this year, 20 news homes will be constructed in west Charlotte.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Over the past 40 years, Habitat for Humanity has been building strength, stability and self-reliance in the Queen City, granting more than 3,500 families their dream of homeownership.
Last weekend, it was announced that former President Jimmy Carter had entered hospice care after a series of hospital stays.
Carter was a regular volunteer with the home-building organization.
In 1987, he visited Charlotte, hard-hat and all, for the annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Optimist Park.
That project is returning to the city this October after a three-year hiatus. Country music superstars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood will be here hosting it.
Over five days, future homeowners will work alongside Brooks, Yearwood and hundreds of other volunteers to build 20 homes on Morris Field Drive in west Charlotte.
The land formerly housed the Plato Price School, which was a transformative education and civic space for the Black community in the early 1900s through the mid-1960s.
Peggy Connor is a local woman who said she plans to help with the build, 20 years after she walked into a place she could call her own, all thanks to Habitat for Humanity.
“I was working for nonprofit and I wanted to buy a home,” she said. “I had tried different agencies, different market companies. And they were telling me…'you don’t make enough money. Your credit score is not high enough.’ The usual run-around, so some people told me about Habitat.”
Connor said that it took exactly one year from the time she reached out until the time she walked into her newly-completed home.
She also discussed the difficulties of seeking a proper home, and the toll that it can take on a person’s being.
“It can make a person give up,” she said. “It can make a person feel less than a person, makes you feel like you’re not qualified to do anything. But I’m the type [of] person that will keep on going. If one door closes, that’s okay, I’m trying another door that closes I’ll try another day until I get what I want.”
Connor wasn’t just given her home though, she had to work for it. During the build, she helped install doors, baseboards and window seals.
She said it felt good to be able to help herself, and taught her maintenance skills that have since come in handy.
“Ever since I’ve worked on this house, I can somewhat fix things that I would normally have to pay somebody to do,” Connor said. “My kids call me the ‘habitat fixer.’ But that’s okay, I get it done.”
Her story goes beyond just having a place to have her own though, and even beyond playing a part in the construction of that home. She’s also filled with gratitude knowing that the work and help of others helped make her dream a reality.
“I tell a lot of my friends that even today, I walk around my house and just thank God for what he’s given me,” she said.
Connor also realizes that her owning a home is about more than just her. It’s an opportunity to build generational wealth that she may not have had otherwise.
“So many families don’t have that,” she said. “They have nothing to leave behind. I have a home, if they want it. After I leave here, they can sell it or whatever, but it’s left to them. This is the family home.”
The impact that Habitat has had on her is what’s fueling her desire to help when the project returns later this year.
“I can’t wait to start helping,” she said. “I am going to be out there and a hammer in my apron with my tape measure everything.”
There will be numerous opportunities to get involved in Habitat for Humanity’s work and support the mission throughout the year.
You can volunteer, donate and learn more about upcoming Habitat events by clicking here.
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