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Archive for January, 2011

26 JANUARY 2011 | NEIGHBORHOOD TIPPING POINT

26 Jan , 2011

The Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative that Habitat has organized in SE Raleigh’s Long Acres and Apollo Heights neighborhoods is making great progress.  A resident-led coalition of over 20 organizations and city departments is meeting regularly to address the needs of the neighborhoods.  Habitat is getting ready to break ground on the first of nine new homes thanks to a City of Raleigh Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant.  There is a sense of positive change in the air.

Our board of directors has asked, what is the tipping point for a neighborhood in decline?  What is the point at which a neighborhood shifts from being one in decline to one that is recovering and improving?  There are 158 single-family housing units in Long Acres.  Habitat has plans to build 8 new homes, do exterior repairs on 10 others, and to acquire five vacant homes.  That’s a total of 23 housing units impacted or 15% of the total.  Is that enough to “tip” the neighborhood in a way that it will continue to improve?

At our Connected Capitalism event last week, Gary Davis of Dorrier-Underwood shared a video that powerfully depicts a “tipping point” playing out in a few minutes.  Check it out: http://sivers.org/ff

MLK DAY | 17 JANUARY 2011

16 Jan , 2011

“We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability.  It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of dedicated individuals willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—final Sunday sermon, 1968

So true and well stated.  I see it all the time at Habitat—the tireless and persistent efforts of dedicated individuals working with God.  We are so blessed with that!

Then the reminders, far too many, of the places where this work isn’t happening and how much more we need to do.  We pray to God to send more tireless, dedicated and persistent workers!

12 JANUARY 2011 | PARTNERS IN REDEMPTION

12 Jan , 2011

From gospel.com, a brief definition of redemption from a Christian perspective:

Redemption is simply the forgiveness of our sins, and restoration to a
relationship with God. Through his sacrifice, Jesus redeemed us and brought us
into the kingdom of God, rescuing us from the kingdom of sin and darkness.

Recently, I attended worship at a local church that has a heart for reaching the poor and marginalized in our community and the pastor talked of “bringing redemption to the neighborhood.”  I definitely agreed with that thought and I love to think that Habitat’s work fosters redemption by showing the love of God to our neighbors in need.  I also know that there are strong pillars of faith in all distressed neighborhoods, for which I owe a debt of gratitude for helping shape my own faith through the trust and grace they show in dealing with daily struggle and hardship.

But then I considered how we all (me included!) need redemption, and I wondered about the injustice that has caused the poverty that many east Raleigh neighborhoods have had to deal with for decades, even since the establishment of the city.

Could it be that the redemption the pastor speaks of will also come in our own hearts as we realize the injustice that has caused the poverty that many of our neighbors have to endure?  When we look deeper, will we find that we’ve benefitted from this injustice and come to see our outreach as repentance for the structural sin of racism and the economic barriers that arise from that?  That would truly break some new, collective ground!

One of my all-time Habitat heroes is Allan Tibbels.  As a white Christian man, Allan felt called by God to relocate himself and his young family to an economically distressed African-American neighborhood called Sandtown in Baltimore to be a partner in redemption there.  Early on, Allan founded and co-led Sandtown Habitat for Humanity along with his neighborhood partner, Laverne Stokes.  Allan would always speak honestly about the need he as an affluent white man had for repentance for the sins of racism.  His life positively challenged me to embrace the full context of the concentration of poverty in which we work.  Allan passed away this spring, after ministering as a wheelchair-bound paraplegic for over 20 years in Sandtown.  He is missed, but his spirit lives on in Sandtown–not just for the houses he caused to be built, but for the life of true repentance and redemption he lived.

What do you think of this kind of partnership?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Habitat for Humanity of Wake County
2420 Raleigh Boulevard
Raleigh, NC 27604-2235
Phone 919.833.1999
Fax 919.833.8256
Habitat for Humanity of Wake County ReStore

Store hours:

  • Tuesday - Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Closed Sundays and Mondays