Some of the more than 220 people who have been helped by Habitat for Humanity pose during a celebration at the N.C. History Center in New Bern on Saturday evening.
Habitat for Humanity Craven County is celebrating its 30th anniversary helping families build and own homes.
A reception was held at the N.C. History Center on Saturday to commemorate the milestone.
Habitat for Humanity works with families, volunteers, donors, corporations, and the community to build affordable homes. They work to transform neighborhoods through revitalization, education, innovative development, partnerships, through long term relationships with families and the community.
Habitat for Humanity Craven County got its start in 1989. It has built 66 homes starting with its first in 1991, providing decent homes for 105 adults and more than 120 children. Of those, 16 have fully paid off their mortgages.
Habitat for Humanity started construction on five new homes in 2019.
In addition, 41 homes have been built in other countries around the world through local tithes made to Habitat for Humanity International.
“Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity of Craven County has been helping families achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families,” the organization said on its website.
Following the devastating damages in Craven County from Hurricane Florence in September 2018, Habitat for Humanity of Craven County established a Critical Repairs Program to assist Habitat and non-Habitat homeowners with the repairs necessary so they can to return to a safe and healthy home. We are also pleased to partner with Purple Heart Homes to work on repairs for veterans’ homes.
Habitat for Humanity operates ReStore at 930 Pollock St.
The ReStore sells new and used household items, appliances, furnishings, building materials, and home improvement items to the public. All materials are donated by local retail businesses, building contractors, suppliers and individuals, and are made available for sale to the public at 50% to 90% below retail prices. Proceeds from ReStore go to the building of new homes and the operating costs of Habitat for Humanity of Craven County.
Habitat organizations across the country are mobilizing to influence policy and system changes at the federal, state and local levels
Nearly 19 million households across the United States are spending at least half of their income on a place to live, often forgoing basic necessities such as food and health care to make ends meet.
In Craven County, 33% or 13,370 households, are cost-burdened and having difficulty meeting their monthly mortgage or rental payments, according to the 2017 statistics reported by the NC Housing Coalition.
A family needs to earn $33,120 per year in order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at $828 per month, while the average renter can only afford a rent of $683 per month. The stability that housing should bring continues to remain out of reach for many people.
On Wednesday, Habitat for Humanity of Craven County joined Habitat organizations across the country to launch a new national advocacy campaign aimed at improving home affordability for 10 million people in the U.S. over the next five years.
Marking significant growth in Habitat’s commitment to ensuring that everyone has a safe and decent place to call home, the Cost of Home campaign seeks to identify and improve policies and systems through coordinated advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal levels.
Cost of Home focuses on improving housing affordability across the housing continuum in four specific policy areas: increasing supply and preservation of affordable homes, equitably increasing access to credit, optimizing land use for affordable homes, and ensuring access to and development of communities of opportunity.
Habitat for Humanity of Craven County already has taken several steps toward these goals. In April, Executive Director Mike Williams and Homeowner Services Coordinator Betsy McDonald spent two days in Raleigh with area State representatives to advocate for policies and funding to support affordable housing in eastern North Carolina. Mike Williams also serves as the chair of a sub-committee on the County’s long-term recovery alliance for housing options.
“The impact of hurricane Florence has made affordable housing a major shelter issue in all of eastern North Carolina,” said Mike Williams, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Craven County. “It will take creative and intentional housing legislation and policies, on local and state levels, to solve this issue.”
More details about Habitat’s Cost of Home policy platform and campaign activation are available at habitat.org/costofhome. For more information or to speak to Habitat Craven County about the campaign, please contact Deedra Durocher or Betsy McDonald at 252-633-9599.
Here are some ways you can support the campaign:
Post to social media.Use #CostOfHome, #CostOfHomeCraven, and tag @CravenHabitat.
Write or call your legislators.Tell them to support policies to improve housing affordability.
Tell three friends about the Cost of Homecampaign. Send them a link to this story and ask them to help.
Thirty-three college students from Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, along with 34 high school students and chaperones from Missouri, will be spending their spring break helping build Habitat for Humanity homes in New Bern.
March 4-9 – Sacred Heart University (Connecticut) with 15 students
March 11-16 – Lycoming College (Pennsylvania) with 18 students, University of Rochester (NY) with 7 students
March 25-30 – St. Mary’s Catholic High School (Missouri) with 34 students and adult chaperones
Collegiate Challenge is Habitat for Humanity’s year-round alternative break program, founded in 1989
Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each of the three weeks
March 4-7 – Habitat home #68 at 876 Howard Street, New Bern
March 11-14 – Habitat home #67 at 1022 North Bern Street and #68 at 876 Howard Street
March 25-28 – Habitat home #67 at 1022 North Bern Street and #68 at 876 Howard Street
To provide opportunities for students from colleges, high schools and youth groups to spend a week volunteering in partnership with a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the US. Additionally, the program is designed to empower communities and create environments where exchange and interaction between student groups and community residents can take place to share concerns about ending substandard housing.
Coordinated by Habitat for Humanity of Craven County with the support and hospitality of the New Bern community. Overnight accommodations are being provided by area churches and meals are generally hosted by individuals, churches, or civic organizations.
Habitat for Humanity of Craven County is celebrating its 30th year as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a non-profit Christian housing ministry. Since 1989, the local organization has built 66 homes in partnership with homeowners who are deemed eligible by the Selection Committee, impacting 105 adults and over 120 children. When each home is completed, the homeowner is responsible to pay a no-interest mortgage and other expenses associated with owning their own home. To date, the mortgages on 16 homes (25 percent) have been fully paid off. Habitat does not give away houses, but does make it possible for deserving families to realize strength, stability and self-sufficiency through homeownership.
For additional information about Habitat Craven County, contact the Deedra Durocher, Volunteer Coordinator at 252-633-9599, 252-670-1907 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Request will be made at Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting
New Bern community members and non-local activists will urge the New Bern Board of Aldermen to “Ban the Box” for hiring city employees at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
“Ban the Box” is a hiring practice that encourages employers to identify potential hires with the best skills and experience and delay asking applicants about their criminal records until after a conditional offer is made.
Durham and Carrboro are among cities in North Carolina that have already adopted this “fair chance” hiring practice.
Ban the Box is a movement started in the early 2000s by All of Us or None, a national organization created and led by individuals directly impacted by incarceration and the criminal legal system.
People who have been involved in the criminal justice system often face collateral consequences, difficulties people face in finding housing, education, and employment because of a criminal record.
Trouble finding employment is one of the most common collateral consequences that people face upon release. Those who have a record and disclose it on their initial job application are 50 percent less likely to receive a callback than their peers without a record.
Ban the Box programs do not prevent employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record, but rather calls for employers to remove the initial question about criminal records from job applications (“the box”) and delay any related questions until after a conditional offer is made. This process ensures the best person is being hired for the job and also allows the employer to continue to make decisions about the relevancy of the record to the job.
What: Public comments on ‘Ban the Box’ at New Bern Board of Alderman meeting
When: Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m.
Where: City Hall Courtroom, 300 Pollock St., New Bern
Who: New Bern community members and representatives from All of Us or None – NC and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice Clean Slate Project
The New Bern Planning and Zoning Board will take a look at several proposed subdivisions. The board meets at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at City Hall, in the Courtroom on the second floor.
The proposals are:
Consideration of Major Subdivision General Plan Approval, submitted by Weyerhaeuser NR Company/McKim & Creed Inc., is a proposed 250 +/- acre, a 2 lot major subdivision located to the north of Downey Drive and south of N.C. Highway 43 North. The property is further identified as a portion of Craven County Parcel ID’s 8-209- 13001. The property is outside city limits but within the city’s Extra Territorial Jurisdiction.
Consideration of Major Subdivision General Plan Approval, submitted by Robert Chiles Engineering, is a proposed 12.44 +/- acre, 3-lot major subdivision located to the west and east of Newman Road and to the south of Wellons Boulevard. The property is further identified as Craven County Parcel ID’s 8-212-8010, 8-212-076, and 8-212-8009, in Ward 6. Developers propose to build a hotel on the land.
E. Thomas Engineering/Stars & Stripes 4F, LLC, is requesting final subdivision plan approval for “Tyler, Home on the Lake” (formerly known as “Lake Tyler”) Phases 7, 8 11 and 12; a proposed 105-lot residential Planned Unit Development (PUD). This section of the multi-phase development is located on 6.03+/- acres in the R-10A Residential District. The site is located to the northwest of Washington Post Road and to the south of Gracie Farms Road. It is located in Ward 5.
New Bernwas selected as one of the nation’s top retirement destinations and one of its best small retirement towns byWhereToRetire.comin its sixth edition of “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire,” a guidebook of the country’s most appealing retirement towns.
WhereToRetire.comspent 11 months researching more than 800 cities. The chosen cities vary in size, climate, amenities and lifestyle, and each falls into one of 10 categories that focuses on the city’s defining feature, such as beaches, mountains, low costs, four seasons and appealing downtowns. Each city profile combines extensive research, local knowledge and in-depth interviews with retirees who made the move.
New Bern is a certified retirement community. The Certified Retirement Community designation means a city has completed a comprehensive evaluation process with requirements outlined by the North Carolina General Assembly.Certified Retirement Communities are recognized for providing the amenities, services and opportunities retirees need to enjoy active and productive lives.
New Bern was recognized in April 2015 as one of the “10 Most Beautiful Towns in North Carolina,” and one of the “Top 10 Coastal Towns Where You Can Afford to Retire.”
Founded in 1710, New Bern it is the second oldest city in the state. It was the last colonial capital of North Carolina and its first state capital. “The City is a grand mix of carefully restored and maintained historical homes with old growth trees, a historic downtown, and contemporary houses ranging from condos to mansions, many with riverfront locations,” according to the website,Visit New Bern.
“New Bern’s character is palpable, and the people you meet are as vibrant as their surroundings. In addition to its beauty, New Bern is well-situated at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers, and only 35 miles from the Crystal Coast. The Atlantic Ocean is accessible by boat from New Bern, and New Bern’s rivers and creeks make a perfect playground for sailing, yachting, kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and fishing. New Bern has direct access to rivers and beaches without the high costs associated with beachfront living.”
Eight North Carolina cities were selected as top retirement destinations in “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire.” Other North Carolina towns are Boone/Blowing Rock, Charlotte, Durham, Hendersonville, Sylva, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem.
North Carolina had the second highest number of towns on the list, behind only Florida. In addition, Winston-Salem was among the Best Four-Season Towns; Charlotte and Durham were among the Best Low-Cost Towns; and Boone/Blowing Rock, Hendersonville and Sylva were among the Best Mountain Towns.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has extended the deadline to apply for physical disaster damages in North Carolina. Businesses and individuals with physical damages caused by Hurricane Florence on Sept. 7 – 29, 2018, should apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans before the Dec. 13,
The disaster declaration covers the North Carolina counties of Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Greene, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Union, Wayne and Wilson; for economic injury only in the contiguous North Carolina counties of Alamance, Cabarrus, Caswell, Dare, Davidson, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Granville, Martin, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Nash, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Stanly, Stokes, Tyrrell, Wake and Washington; and the contiguous South Carolina counties of Chesterfield, Dillon, Horry, Lancaster and Marlboro.
SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the disaster. Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 2.0 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.
Economic injury disaster loans are also available to provide disaster related working capital to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.
Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 13, 2018. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 14, 2019.
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
Homeowners who have been impacted by Hurricane Florence have a valid “Natural Disaster” hardship.
Due to this hardship, there may be viable relief options available to homeowners from their mortgage companies, but homeowners may have no idea what is available and how to accomplish securing mortgage relief.
A two hour presentation for homeowners with a mortgage loan will cover the following:
First Hour (55 Minutes)
What Constitutes Disaster? C. Who Is Covered?
What Can Be Done?
Second Hour (55 Minutes)
What Documents Are Needed?
Where to Send Financial Packages?
What Is The Process?
How Long Should It Take?
What If Things Go Wrong?
Attendees will receive additional resources via email. Both the morning and afternoon sessions are the exact same information.
The same event twice is offered twice:
Saturday, Nov. 3, Garber Methodist Church, 4201 Country Club Road, Trent Woods.
Morning Session 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Check-in and seating beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Afternoon Session 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Check-in and seating beginning at 12:30 p.m.
Seating is Limited – Register via Eventbrite or call 252-474-8288
Homeowners with a mortgage who have damaged homes and/or are displaced from their homes may be eligible for mortgage relief.
● This will not help renters.
● This will not help homeowners who own their home outright.
● The focus is on primary & secondary residences. This will not be a session for owners of
investment properties who need mortgage relief on investment properties.
Homeowners who have had a loss and/or interruption in employment because of the hurricane may be eligible for mortgage relief.
● Employer experienced damage during the hurricane and may be closed for repairs and/or closed permanently.
● Agricultural loss of crop, harvest and/or livestock from the hurricane.
● Self employed and/or work from home and unable to work because of home damage.
Who do you know that needs mortgage relief?
● Up to one year with no mortgage payments
● No late fees
● No delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus
● The ability to negotiate how to catch up on payments without making a balloon payment.
Types of available assistance:
Moratorium: legal authorization to delay payment of money due or to suspend an activity.
This workout option is typically used for disaster.
Repayment: the most common relief is a repayment plan. This is a written agreement that allows the homeowner to bring the loan current within a given period of time by making scheduled payments toward the delinquent amount in addition to regular monthly payments.
Forbearance: the mortgage servicer, insurer and investor agree to delay foreclosure or other legal action in return for the homeowner’s promise to pay the debt by a specific date.
Modification: written agreement permanently changing one or more of the original terms of the mortgage note: type, rate, term or capitalize delinquency.
Julia Iden, Guest Speaker
Julia Iden is the founding partner of Advance Mortgage Education Incorporated.
She started working in the mortgage industry in 1987. Her career has mainly revolved around defaulted mortgages and helping limit the losses caused by default. She held positions as a claims auditor, loss mitigation negotiator, and corporate default manager for GE Mortgage Insurance Company. Prior to starting Advance Mortgage Education, Iden worked as the loss mitigation consultant for Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, one of the largest mortgage investors in the country. She spent three years on-site in Washington Mutual’s loss mitigation department managing the Freddie Mac delinquent portfolio.
Despite earlier obstacles, a storm-stricken New Bern Housing Authority appears headed toward buying acreage off of Carolina Avenue to build apartments that would replace flood-prone tenements at Trent Court.
City Manager Mark Stephens and his staff are preparing paperwork to sell 8 acres between the Pembroke community and Trent Road, and U.S. 70 and Carolina Avenue. A decision is expected at the next Board of Aldermen meeting later this month.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, New Bern resident Kathy Adolph, a retired teacher and school principal, urged the city to give the Housing Authority the parcel, saying that Trent Court is substandard and prone to frequent flooding.
The Housing Authority, which is independent of the city, wants to build an 80-unit apartment complex off Carolina Avenue that would house some Trent Court residents. That would empty out 80 units in Trent Court that would be razed and replaced.
The Housing Authority had offered $200,000 for the 8-acre parcel. Aldermen voted 6-1 in July to have the parcel appraised.
The Carolina Avenue property sought for purchase by the New Bern Housing Authority is shown boxed in yellow. The Pembroke Community is above and to the right of the lake shown in this aerial view.
The motion was made by Ward 6 Alderman Jeffrey Odham and seconded by Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Aster. What’s interesting was that it was a break from tradition. Motions are usually made by the alderman in whose ward a project is located.
But Ward 2 Alderwoman Jameesha Harris, whose ward includes the Pembroke community, has opposed the plan.
A lot has happened while the appraisal wound its way through city bureaucracy, namely Hurricane Florence.
Housing Authority Executive Director Martin Blaney gave a bleak report about Trent Court during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.
Blaney said Trent Court lost 108 out of 218 apartments due to the storm. He said five or six of the most severely damaged buildings should not be reopened. The storm also destroyed the New Bern Housing Authority administration building on South Front Street.
Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Chairman Joseph Anderson, left, and Executive Director Martin Blaney update the New Bern Board of Aldermen about Trent Court flooding. Photo by Randy Foster / New Bern Post
New Bern Towers, located near Trent Court and also owned by the Housing Authority, weathered the hurricane fairly well and will not be replaced.
In order to qualify for competitive funding to help pay for the apartment complex, the Housing Authority has to beat a January deadline to have a fully fleshed-out plan in place.
The ultimate plan is to remove most or all of the old Trent Court tenements and replace them with a combination of green space and mixed-income housing that is less susceptible to flood damage. That housing would be managed by a third party, much like Craven Terrace has been operating for a couple of years.
Most residents of the flood-damaged Trent Court apartment buildings have found temporary housing or have moved to Housing Authority facilities in nearby counties, Blaney said. A couple of Trent Court families are staying at the emergency shelter at West New Bern Recreation Center, while a handful have moved back into Trent Court, despite warnings that doing so puts their health at risk.
Meanwhile, in an effort to address housing shortages in flood-stricken communities like New Bern, FEMA has announced plans to roll out temporary housing for those most in need.
Approved counties: Currently nine North Carolina counties are approved for Direct Housing: Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, Onslow, Pender and Robeson.
FEMA understands that rental resources and housing are limited in some areas. FEMA is working closely with the State of North Carolina to implement a targeted strategy to provide other forms of temporary housing to best meet the needs of displaced survivors.
FEMA has been participating in the state-led housing task force since Hurricane Florence first made landfall in North Carolina.
The state and FEMA are implementing a multi-pronged approach to temporarily house displaced survivors. Solutions are tailored to the individual needs and situations of survivors based on how quickly their homes can be repaired to a safe, sanitary, secure condition and the availability of housing options in their communities.
Based upon the needs identified by the State of North Carolina, FEMA is providing two forms of Direct Temporary Housing Assistance. The following Transportable Temporary Housing Units are available:
Recreation Vehicles (RVs) provide a timely, effective interim solution for most households with a high degree of confidence that repairs can be completed in less than a year, ideally within six months.
Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) provide a longer-term solution for survivors whose repairs will take longer to complete due to higher degree of damage.
FEMA contacts households who potentially qualify for an RV or MHU through the Pre-Placement Interview process to determine whether they need Direct Housing and, if so, what type of housing they require based on the size and needs of the household, including any people with disabilities or other access or functional needs.
FEMA will identify households that may be able to have an RV or MHU placed on their property or in a commercial park.
Direct housing solutions FEMA implements are temporary in nature and are not permanent dwellings.
During a housing mission, federal contractors are managed and monitored by FEMA inspectors. Contractors must adhere to all applicable laws, codes and requirements.
Continuous coordination among FEMA, the state, counties and municipalities regarding the installation of transportable temporary housing units is a vital part of this mission.
The state and FEMA are coordinating with municipalities and counties regarding the requirements of local ordinances, zoning, transportation requirements, occupancy inspections, setbacks and more.
The state and FEMA are also coordinating the temporary housing effort with floodplain managers, environmental regulators, historic preservation officers, utility providers and other authorities identified by the state or municipalities.
The State of North Carolina and FEMA will be implementing additional programs in the coming days and weeks.
Survivors displaced from their homes due to Hurricane Florence must first apply for disaster assistance to be considered for FEMA programs such as Transitional Sheltering Assistance, financial rental assistance, grants for repairs to make their homes safe, sanitary and secure, and other forms of assistance.
Survivors can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621- 3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). In-person American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are available by request by calling or texting 202-655-8824. (If possible, please allow 24 hours to schedule an interpreter).