Habitat for Humanity of Gaston County celebrated the progress of its innovative Dixon Village community with a morning dedication on Thursday, June 2. Attended by organizational leadership, City of Belmont and Gaston County officials and other invited guests, the event showcased the developments made thus far at the Belmont, N.C., neighborhood with commentary from current Habitat homeowners and project partners.
Dixon Village is a 7.5-acre development in North Belmont. Two-thirds of its 28 homes will provide affordable workforce housing for Habitat families and essential workers – hometown heroes such as teachers, firefighters, police officers and healthcare employees – and one-third for market-rate homebuyers. This mixed-income neighborhood will be the first of its kind in the greater Charlotte region and meets a growing need for affordable housing in Gaston County.
“The need for shelter is a basic necessity and the foundation for all other aspects of our lives,” said Kay Peninger, executive director of Habitat Gaston, from the burgeoning Dixon Village site near Hickory Grove Road. “But right now, the ability to afford simple, decent shelter is out of reach for too many people. And this matters because homeownership is the foundation of strong communities. When a Habitat family purchases a home, they are not only strengthening their family, they are building a strong community for everyone in Gaston County.”
Peninger noted that Habitat Gaston is currently working with 13 diverse future homeowners – all of whom will complete the nonprofit’s financial education in addition to sweat equity toward the fulfilment of their homeownership dreams. She added, “Our goal is to break down the barriers to homeownership by providing a hand up and not a handout.”
Through tears, new Habitat homeowner Alisha Giles spoke of attaining a stable home for her daughter – but, more importantly, giving her daughter her own bedroom, “Every day I walk in my house and I’m like, ‘This is mine.’ And I’m so thankful for it … Everything that I did is for my daughter and I thank Habitat for allowing me to accomplish those goals. It’s a blessing.”
Giles’ neighbor ShawnTerria Camp, also a new Habitat homeowner, shared the many lessons that she learned through the process. From growing a garden to financial independence, she said she can pass these important lifelong teachings onto her children. “I will teach them all of that as they grow and I look forward to all the memories we make in our new home. It feels good. It looks good. I’m happy. And I’m grateful to each and every one of you. I can’t wait to see what Dixon Village will be, but I know with you guys’ help and God, we will all be fine.”