The Housing Opportunity Foundation (HOF) presented 10 local nonprofits and nine area Habitat for Humanity stores with a total of $33,500 in donations last week to help fight the problem of unmet housing needs in the Charlotte area.
The HOF, which is the charitable arm of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association (CRRA), has donated money annually to nonprofits addressing housing needs in Mecklenburg and Iredell counties through a community grants program for six years. The HOF also has donated to local Habitat for Humanity stores each year for eight years.
This year, the foundation donated a total of $20,000 to nonprofits such as The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and Bed for Kids, Inc. They also donated $13,500 to Habitat for Humanity stores throughout the region, spanning multiple counties.
The YWCA Central Carolinas on Park Road will be receiving $1,650 of the community grants money thanks to local realtor Joan Goode with Dickens Mitchener & Associates. Each applicant for funding through the Community Grants Program must include a letter of recommendation from a realtor within CRRA. Goode has helped the local YWCA receive funds through this program for the last two years.
This year’s donation will be used to support the YWCA’s Families Together program, a residential program that helps find permanent homes for families with children who have experienced homelessness.
“It’s really encouraging to know that those in the (realty) industry still have a heart for those who strive to obtain and keep permanent housing,” said Kenya Henderson, director of Families Together. “It takes a community effort to make that happen, so anyone who keeps that on their agenda, we’re thankful for.”
The money will go towards expanding the program’s aftercare services, keeping up with families for at least a year after they’ve found a permanent home and continuing the family’s financial education along with any other support they need.
The HOF held a luncheon on Sept. 10 presenting each organization with their respective money. Henderson was “grateful” to be in attendance.
“It was a joy to see everyone receive recognition for what we do in the community,” she said. “All of us (who work for housing needs) realize that a life change could happen and we could end up in that position. So we stay humble and enjoy working with those who share our passion.”
Terry Marshall, executive director for HOF, said she places credit for the annual donations with realtors in the association.
“One of the reasons our realtors love this so much is that it lets them address the grassroots efforts that may not receive support through other, more traditional programs,” Marshall said.
Not many realtor associations nationally have charitable foundations like HOF, Marshall said, and that’s made the CRRA one of the strongest, proudest associations there is.
“These people live in the community, they are out there selling the community,” she said. “In Charlotte, I think it’s a part of our culture to give back and to meet people’s needs. This is important to them both personally and professionally.”