Building homes for hope

– A glimpse inside Greene Habitat’s inaugural Showcase of Homes tour –

Photographed by JP Bond – 

For anyone who has swung a hammer with fellow volunteers, rinsed a paint brush or two, or watched a homeowner being presented a key to their new house, there is a sense that Habitat for Humanity is about more than just building homes – it’s about building hope.

It’s this understanding that prompted Greene County Habitat for Humanity (GCHFH) to create a tour event that highlights the area’s best in building and design while bringing awareness to Habitat’s mission of providing new homeowners an opportunity for success – building on hope for a better life.

Its inaugural “Showcase of Homes to Build Homes for Hope” will be held Saturday, November 3 throughout Reynolds Lake Oconee, offering tour-goers an opportunity to explore six exquisite private residences along with two of Reynolds’ signature model homes.

With striking architecture, stunning interiors, and gorgeous landscapes overlooking golf and lake backdrops, the tour will showcase some of Lake Oconee’s spectacular and well-appointed homes. Docents will be on hand to provide information about the architecture and interior design of each home.

Proceeds from the tour will go toward building projects in 2019. Each year, GCHFH typically builds three to four homes, usually two in the fall and two in the spring. Currently the organization is constructing its 59th and 60th homes and will begin its new projects in March 2019.

“Our goal for the Showcase is to raise enough money to build a house in 2019,” says Jan Broughton, chairman of the GCHFH board of directors. “We have really been overwhelmed by the number of people who have been willing to open their homes for this tour and businesses who have come forward as sponsors. There has been such an incredible outpouring from the community so far.”

As a “thank you,” a special VIP reception will be held for the Showcase homeowners, top-level sponsors, the Showcase committee, and Habitat’s executive committee on the evening before the tour. Black Sheep Interiors and DreamBuilt will host the event at the Lingering Creek Model Center from Reynolds’ Signature Home Collection which they built and designed. Professional golfer, Stewart Cink, and his wife, Lisa, will be honored hosts.

Broughton says this outpouring of generosity gives sponsors a way to use their gifts to make their own community better in the long run, not just for a short time during construction.

“The benefits of owning versus renting are just staggering,” she explains. “Homeowners are more likely to vote, be involved with the community, have their kids graduate, go on to college – the list goes on. And, there is a pride that people take in their own homes versus when it belongs to someone else. It’s far reaching in ways that many people don’t understand because they haven’t had that experience in their life.”

But Broughton has. She says when she was young, her father passed away, leaving her mom to care for six children. “We rented multiple homes, but when I was in 8th grade, we got to buy a house,” she recalls. “I remember what it feels like to be the kid who’s not sure ­– to not have the security of knowing this is our house. That’s why I’m so passionate about this, because I’ve lived it.”

Broughton began volunteering with GCHFH six years ago when she moved part-time to the lake, and was drawn particularly to the educational component to the organization. After an arduous application process, potential homeowners are mentored in financial responsibility, home maintenance, debt management, and other aspects of ownership.

In addition, homeowners have to invest 300 hours of working on their home and other Habitat homes under construction.

“My feeling is this: To be selected to participate in Habitat is a huge win for the adult or adults,  but the biggest impact is for the children. Our goal is ‘no child that grows up in a Habitat house will live in a Habitat house as an adult.’”

According to GCHFH, there are 79 students from Habitat houses in Greene County – 11 are college graduates, 19 are in technical school or the military, 19 are in high school, and 30 are in grade school.

“The benefits of homeownership are far reaching and last for generations,” says Broughton.

She explains it’s a common misconception that Habitat just gives its houses away, even though they hold mortgages on each of their homes.

“We don’t give away anything,” she says. “We’re just giving people an opportunity to be successful. We build homes for hope. There’s just no other way to say it.”

For more information on GCHFH and the upcoming Showcase of Homes, visit

What: Showcase of Homes to Build Homes for Hope

When: Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Reynolds Lake Oconee

Tickets: $40 in advance, $45 after Oct. 15




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