Eliyahu BenYsrael now has a home of his own, thanks to assistance from Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte. He was one of 20 new homeowner families honored during a celebration Friday night for Habitat Charlotte crossing the milestone of serving 2,000 families.

“Because of the cost of renting in Charlotte, [the families] are just not able to save for a down payment or to be able to position themselves as well for homeownership,” said Laura Belcher, Habitat Charlotte president and CEO.

Through Habitat Charlotte, eligible families perform 300 hours of sweat equity toward a home they can purchase with a discounted mortgage and no down payment. BenYsrael, his wife, Elizabeth, and their four kids moved into their west Charlotte home in September.

“[Habitat Charlotte] gave us the opportunity to be able to have an affordable house in the city,” he said.

Belcher added that homeownership is key to upward mobility because it allows families to build equity and creates generational wealth by passing down an asset to children and grandchildren.

Charlotte’s chronic affordable housing shortage has become a crisis, and to solve the problem, congresswoman Alma Adams says it’s going to take government entities joining in more public-private partnerships.

U.S. Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) recognizes Eliyahu BenYsrael (left) and his family during Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte’s HomeJoy celebration on Nov. 8, 2019. The evening celebrated Habitat Charlotte passing the milestone of serving 2,000 families with affordable housing. Photo: Qcitymetro

This year, Habitat Charlotte is on schedule to build 44 new houses and preserve 100 older, owner-occupied houses through its Critical Home Repair program. According to Belcher, most of the repair projects are for homes owned by elderly residents.

Before Habitat’s celebration, Adams announced on Friday that the state’s 12th congressional district, which includes Charlotte, was awarded $500,000 in affordable housing funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta.

“I am pleased to announce this grant, which will help ensure that our seniors have an opportunity to reside in a secure and supportive environment.”

Katrina Louis is managing editor of qcitymetro.com who can always find something to do in Charlotte. She’s an offline hustler (and has the shirt to prove it) but when online, find her on Instagram and Twitter.

Katrina covers Charlotte's Black business scene for QCity Metro. She's a Miami transplant, pescatarian and lover of the arts. She earned a public relations degree from the University of Florida. Got a...