GREENSBORO, N.C. — David Kolosieke is in the community-building business. And like the name implies, it’s a lot more than bricks and mortar.
“It brings jobs, but more importantly it brings homeownership and helps stabilize a neighborhood,” he told me during a recent visit. “So when families plant roots and are able to become part of the community, that’s what really helps strengthen the community.”
Kolosieke (pronounced “Koh-low-SYE-kee”) is the new president and chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro. It’s an organization that’s been making news a lot recently.
In fact, when I saw him appear in our newscasts several times over the course of a couple of weeks recently, I thought he more than fit the definition of a “newsmaker.”
Here are some ways Habitat Greensboro’s been making news:
- It recently completed building its 500th home.
- It’s partnered with the City of Greensboro to build six homes damaged by the tornado that hit the city’s east side in the spring of 2018.
- It recently completed a “Building Blitz” with the Greensboro Homebuilders Association. Four homes in northeast Greensboro’s White Oak Heights community were built in one week!
These and other accomplishments combined with an annual budget of $5.5 million, nearly 6,000 volunteers and nearly 40 employees reflect the fact this organization’s come a long way from 1987 when four people from Greensboro returned from their Habitat experience in Peru to found Habitat Greensboro.
And the need couldn’t be greater — even with the strong economy.
“There are very few (organizations/contractors) who are building affordable housing,” Kolosieke said.
“So what’s happening is that prices are getting squeezed out as it’s more expensive. And the wages for basic workers are not rising fast enough. So the bigger that gap gets, the harder it is to find decent quality, affordable housing,” he said.
So Habitat partners with families that — among other things — have steady employment and are willing and able to physically work alongside volunteers to build their homes. Habitat then serves as their mortgage lender providing no or low-interest loans.
All the work is funded through mortgage income, home sponsorships, donations and profits from two Habitat ReStores in Greensboro.
The ReStores (one’s on Lawndale Drive, the other on Gate City Boulevard) accept gently used or new furniture, appliances and building materials and sell them to the public at discounted prices.
Kolosieke says the reaction from the families Habitat serves makes it all worthwhile.
“There is nothing more rewarding than hearing that heartfelt appreciation for what we’ve all done collectively as a community to make a difference for that family.”
For more information on Habitat Greensboro, click here.