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Winston-Salem non-profit group’s project picks up momentum

Rev. Kenneth Holly talks to a group of volunteers from BB&T as they prepare to work to refurbish homes on Cameron Avenue. (Lauren Carroll/Journal)

Rev. Kenneth Holly talks to a group of volunteers from BB&T as they prepare to work to refurbish homes on Cameron Avenue. (Lauren Carroll/Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Whole Man Ministries of North Carolina’s project to provide permanent housing for homeless veterans on Cameron Avenue in eastern Winston-Salem has begun to pick up momentum.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that various volunteers helped the nonprofit organization , based in Winston-Salem, continue rehabbing three duplex buildings at 1431, 1433 and 1435 Cameron Avenue on Friday. The volunteers assisted with interior demolition work, put in new windows, removed drywall, and planted shrubs and plants, among other things.

John Mussomeli was one of 40 BB&T Corp. employees who worked on the project.

“For us, it’s to give back to our communities, and this is such a worthwhile project, considering everything that the veterans have done for us, for our freedoms that we have here in the U.S.,” said Mussomeli, a financial analyst for BB&T.

Richard Taylor, a shareholder services operations manager for BB&T, retired from the Army in 2005.

“It makes me feel good that I can give back to the community, especially to those that are near and dear to me,” Taylor said.

Several homeless people are helping Whole Man Ministries with the renovations, including Curtis White of Winston-Salem.

White said he heard about the project from counselors at Samaritan Ministries in Winston-Salem and thought that he could put his construction experience to good use.

“It’s for a worthy cause, and I like doing this type of work,” White said.

Whole Man Ministries bought five vacant and run-down duplex buildings on Cameron Avenue last year with the goal of rehabbing apartments that would be affordable for the homeless, primarily military veterans.

Pastor Barry Washington, the executive director of Whole Man Ministries of North Carolina, said that the project became his vision after he saw that some veterans in the local community had no place to call home.

Whole Man Ministries has teamed with numerous companies and organizations on the project, including the Home Depot Foundation, Lowe’s Cos. Inc., Nehemiah Few, the Forsyth Technical Community College carpentry program, and Gwyn Electrical, Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.

“What we’re doing right now is securing the buildings,” Washington said of the window and door installations currently taking place on the units. “I’m excited about that.”

He said that Whole Man Ministries and some of its partners will sponsor the Homes 4 Our Heroes 5K & Fun Run June 21.

“We’re trying to get people involved to help us continue to raise the funds by running,” Washington said.

The City of Winston-Salem is assisting Whole Man Ministries with its buildings at 1437 and 1439 Cameron Avenue with two 15-year term loans totaling $201,028 with zero percent interest rates. Both duplex buildings will be converted to single-family dwellings, offering three bedrooms and two baths.

Part of the city’s financing includes some lead grant funds that the city received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grants total about $20,000.

“That carries a three-year term that is forgiven at the end of the three-year term as long as certain requirements are met,” said Ritchie Brooks, the city’s director of community and business development.

Brooks said that Winston-Salem has assisted with veteran housing on previous projects in the community.

“So part of what we wanted to do is not only be able to assist homeless veterans in the area, but provide additional family housing for those veterans who may have families or for just families who are under-housed and need to live in affordable, decent housing,” Brooks said.

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