Habitat for Humanity of Wake County's Pride Build supports the LGBTQ+ community, a group disproportionately susceptible to homelessness.
On June 9, Lindsey Halliday stood in an unfinished kitchen and cried. It wasn’t just any kitchen—it was hers. She was one of many volunteers building the house for herself and her partner, making it the first time the LGBTQ+ couple would own their own home.
Friday’s Pride Build event, organized by Habitat for Humanity of Wake County and the LGBT Center of Raleigh, brought together more than 70 volunteers to build five houses in Raleigh’s Old Poole Place neighborhood, says Aviva Imbrey, Habitat Wake’s Interim Director of Communications.
“It was a celebration of pride and inclusivity, and the fact that we have resources and we want to make sure that everyone is welcome and has a safe, decent home,” Imbrey says.
With no statewide laws preventing housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and in the midst of an affordable housing crisis, homelessness disproportionately affects people in North Carolina’s LGBTQ+ community. According to research from The Trevor Project, 28 percent of LGBTQ+ youth will experience homelessness at some point in their lives.
The Pride Build, among other volunteer-based Habitat Wake events, gives community members the opportunity to fight the affordable housing crisis through hands-on, team-based work.
Friday’s work wasn’t easy. After a morning training from the construction team, the volunteers were split up between five houses and put to work: caulking, adding drywall, siding, and soffits, measuring, cutting materials, and lifting from 8:15 a.m. until late into the afternoon.
Upon completion, Old Poole Place will be an entirely Habitat-built community. The neighborhood is a mixture of single family homes and townhomes, and the organization’s next goal is to connect the community with transit stops so residents will have access to public transportation like GoRaleigh stations and bus routes.
Next year’s Pride Build will look different in terms of turnout, Imbrey says. While past builds have primarily worked with internal staff members or groups with shared values, next year the organization plans to go much bigger and open volunteer opportunities up to the public.
And even though the houses aren’t yet completed, the sense of unity and pride among the volunteers was felt all day, Imbrey says. By August, the Hallidays will finally have a home of their own.
“It was a good reminder of just how much bigger a house is than a house,” Imbrey says. “It’s a home, it’s a place of stability, it’s a safe place—it’s a future.”
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