CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Throughout the week, around 900 volunteers per day will build 27 homes in a west Charlotte neighborhood, which was once the historically Black Plato Price School that closed in 1966.
For Brianna Sanford, it’s easy to picture her future.
“This is going to be my common area. TV mounted. There will be a sectional,” she said while giving Queen City News a tour of her soon-to-be new home.
She can imagine a home filled with furniture, the smell of her favorite food, and memories made with her two children.
“This is something that I will leave to them,” Sanford said. “Never ever will I let this house go. Ever.”
It’s a dream the Habitat for Humanity Carter Project was hoping to fulfill.
“We have a national housing crisis that is definitely exemplified in Charlotte,” said Laura Belcher with Habitat for Humanity Charlotte. “We have seen housing prices really escalate over the last five years. So the ability to bring housing and affordable home ownership has never been more important than it is today.”
Two faces that could easily go unnoticed in the sea of hard hats are in the crowd of volunteers.
“It’s pretty cool to go somewhere where you are not the big star,” said country music star Garth Brooks. “Well, being married to her, that is usual for me, but the fact that the homeowner is right there. Ours is Jeremy, and working beside Jeremy today is the greatest honor.”
While Brooks and Trisha Yearwood are this year’s hosts, they said they aren’t the replacement for the couple behind the project’s name.
Sunday’s opening ceremony marked President Carter’s 99th birthday. The former President and his wife are credited with putting Habitat for Humanity on the map. Together, they have worked with more than 104,000 volunteers in 14 countries to build and renovate 4,390 homes.
This is the first time the Carter Work Project has been hosted in the Queen City since 1987. It’s also the first work project since 2019 due to COVID, and it marks the first time President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter have not been present at a work project since 1984.
“I think that they have been an example for all of us how to be married, how to be in your community, how to be a humanitarian, and how to build and how to work hard,” Yearwood said.
After years of renting and living paycheck to paycheck, Sanford says she is ready to call the neighborhood her new home.
“I trust the process, and now this my trophy and my reward,” she said.
This week’s work will allow some of the development’s homeowners to move into their homes a year earlier.
Closing ceremonies will be held on Friday at 4 p.m.