MOUNT OLIVE -- Habitat for Humanity's first Mount Olive build in four years will boast a couple of firsts -- two houses built back to back and the availability of two-year pledges for donations of at least $1,000.
Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne and Mount Olive Partners for Habitat will build the first house in the spring of 2018 and the second in the fall of that year on a corner lot at South Chestnut and West Pollock streets.
"So we will be asking folks if they can help support us with that," said the Rev. Steven Wicks, pastor at Mount Olive Presbyterian Church and chairman of the Mount Olive Partners for Habitat fundraising committee. "It is $43,000 a house so it will be $86,000, and that is our goal. We are planning to give the option of a two-year pledge for a minimum of a $1,000 pledge."
The idea behind the pledge is to provide some flexibility for potential donors, he said.
The goal is to raise about one-half the cost of both projects, said Matthew Whittle, Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne executive director.
Wicks said he is optimistic the goal will be met.
"It is kind of an unique opportunity for Mount Olive to be able to build two in a row," Wicks said. "It is a wonderful opportunity. It is a wonderful location and has a lot of visibility. I am hopeful that it will get us on the track for building a house every other year from then on."
Community businesses, clubs, organizations and individuals have supported these houses in the past and have done so generously, he said.
"We are hoping this will occur again," Wicks said.
Wicks said he thinks the community is interested in the town getting back on a track of building Habitat houses again.
"We are very proud of the houses that have been built in this area," he said. "It has been four years since we have attempted to do it so it is an opportune time to get back and be able provide housing for folks who need it.
"I think a lot of folks are excited about it. I have been asked by people, 'What do I need to do to be able to donate?' or 'I am going to be supporting you. Let me know what we need to do.'"
That is part of what made Habitat think about the two-year pledge and encouraging folks generosity, Whittle said.
"As far the pledges go, we have not really operated on a pledge system before, so pledges are something new," he said. "But when it comes to building houses side by side, back to back that is something we have had opportunities to do before, and it works out real well.
"One reason that we are excited to try make it happen -- we can do one in the spring and one in the fall, and logistically it just makes sense. It makes sense for us to have guys down here and finish one house and move beside it and start on the next one. We know it is going to come together. Spring will be here before you know it so we are trying to get the word out now. Now is the time to start. So we are looking forward to the community support."
Mount Olive is an amazing community that comes together to work toward a cause to help the community such as the nearby Steele Memorial Library, Wicks said.
"Right now we are rolling out this donation letter and getting these in line, but before too long we will be asking for volunteers to sign up to come help build," Whittle said.
The two groups have worked to identify those who gave during the last build and those who maybe haven't given but are known to have a passion for the community, Whittle said.
Whittle also has spoken to a number of local civic clubs about Habitat and the project.
Earlier in the spring Whittle held a meeting at Steele Memorial Library to talk about Habitat and the projects. Some people interested in owning one of the homes signed up at the meeting.
The houses are not given away, he said. Potential homeowners are required to give 300 hours of "sweat equity" before Habitat closes on the house.
"People are paying their monthly mortgage," he said. "What we do is we give folks the opportunity to become homeowners at an affordable mortgage. We give them the opportunity to build like I say new foundations of strength, stability and self-reliance through that affordable shelter."
Habitat is "pretty much" getting applications all of the time, he said.
No one has yet been selected for the Mount Olive projects, he said.
A groundbreaking has not yet scheduled, but the goal is to start building in early 2018. It will take about four months to build each house.
Partners for Habitat of Mount Olive is a loose-knit organization made up of churches, businesses, clubs and individuals.
Habitat is a Christian-based nonprofit, Whittle said.
Over the past several years, Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne along with Mount Olive Partners for Habitat built seven houses -- six in town and one in the Beautancus community southeast of town.
Call Wicks at 919-658-2044 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact the Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne office at 919-736-9592, or visit the website, habitatgoldsboro.org, to donate or volunteer.
Donations for the Mount Olive project should include the notation Mount Olive 2018.