Habitat says area project will start this fall

Published 5:02 pm Thursday, April 13, 2023

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We now have a rough timeframe when Piedmont Habitat for Humanity plans to deliver homes to Charlotte County. According to Sam Rabon, the group’s director of resource development, work will begin this fall.

Rabon said work is already underway in Charlotte County on the preliminary process, getting the sites ready for the homes that will be delivered.

Now when we say delivered, we mean exactly that. Piedmont Habitat for Humanity is trying out a different method of assembling a house, thanks to some help from Cardinal Homes. The Charlotte County based company is building modular homes for the nonprofit, prefabricated buildings that come in sections. Currently, the first four are being tested out in Farmville, with 11 more, including those in Charlotte County, that will be built over the next 12 months in six counties across the region.

In February 2022, the organization was awarded a grant in the amount of $946,149 through the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) Affordable Workforce Housing Grant. This funding is to be used to build 11 new homes in Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Nelson, Nottoway and Prince Edward through June 30, 2024. Now four of those homes are almost finished in Farmville.

Due to the tight deadline of the grant, these homes were not built in the traditional Habitat for Humanity way from the ground up. One of the organization’s missions is to bring volunteers to come alongside the future homeowner to build their dream. With the time crunch, they made a partnership with Cardinal Homes.

“These modular homes will help us build faster and serve more families while still giving them the best quality product,” Rabon said.


This project stems from data in a Dec. 2021 report by Virginia’s Joint Legislative and Audit Review Commission. It said 29% of households in the state struggle with housing costs. Nearly half of those spent more than 50% of their income on housing, both rental and owned. And as mentioned, it’s a problem here locally. The study found 67% of households struggling with housing costs either lived in this region or in Northern Virginia.

So what’s causing this problem? Housing prices keep rising. The median home sales price here in Virginia climbed 28% over the last five years, to $270,000 at the end of 2021. The key part is in the last three years alone, Virginia’s supply of “starter” homes, those usually more affordable to low-and-middle-income households, has dropped by 40%, according to the Virginia Realtors Association. The goal here is to try and increase the number of affordable starter homes in the area.

After the homes in Farmville are finished, as mentioned, Habitat will move its focus to Nottoway County. When the work in Nottoway County is done, attention will turn to Charlotte County. And while the current target date for Charlotte is in the fall, if the Nottoway builds finish up quicker than expected, work in Charlotte could begin this summer.

Even though modular homes save a lot of build time, there is still an opportunity for folks to volunteer to help with these builds. The modular homes come around 80 to 90% finished but there is more to do including site prep, installing flooring, cabinets, porches, finish work and landscaping.

“It’s a different structure, but there’s still an opportunity for volunteers,” said Mary Shepherd, Habitat’s volunteer coordinator. “It’s a unique opportunity to progress faster while also engaging the volunteers.”