This May, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity will begin construction on The Pope Francis House, the first Habitat house in the nation built in honor of the beloved leader. This house is fully (financially) sponsored by an anonymous donor; local Catholic churches will take the lead in volunteer recruitment. Catholic and non-Catholic volunteers, local and non-local groups, will be invited to participate in the build.
The Pope Francis House will break ground on May 13th, with a public wall raising event scheduled for Friday, May 16th at 12 noon. The purpose of this house is threefold:
* To honor Pope Francis for his commitment to social justice and reinvigorating the Catholic Church;
* To provide a unifying, celebratory opportunity for both Catholic and non-Catholic volunteers to work together towards a common goal (as Pope Francis says, “Work confers dignity.”); and
* To further Habitat’s mission of building and preserving homes.
Being built on an infill lot on Jeffress Avenue in Shiloh, the Pope Francis House is just around the corner from the Shiloh Community Garden, where Habitat helped build a garden shed and raised beds in 2013. Habitat also completed a number of Home Repair projects in the Shiloh community in the last few years and starting in 2016, ten new Habitat houses will be built just up the road off Taft Avenue.
“It is our hope, and that of the donor, that this project will serve as a model for other Habitat affiliates to partner with local Catholic churches and build in honor of Pope Francis,” said Lew Kraus, Executive Director of Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.