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Carrboro Residents Question Location of Habitat Houses

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CARRBORO — Habitat for Humanity is committed to building affordable housing, and is embarking on a new project called "Celebration 2000." While the project has the best of intentions, some Carrboro residents are concerned about the location.

A five acre tract of land in Orange County is being cleared for the new Habitat for Humanity community, and 11 new homes will be built there by the year 2000.

The low income habitat homes will be located directly across from up scale homes making some residents worried.

"I hear one or two folks saying, we're not going to have the same stuff that happened on Broad Street happen here, are we?" Carrboro Alderwoman Jacqueline Gist said.

Residents in the Carrboro-Chapel Hill area are concerned about the future Habitat houses because one of the homes was used by drug dealers.

Last month, crowds gathered in front of the Broad Street home. The inhabitants are gone now, flushed out by police. Habitat for Humanity says they do thorough checks on homeowners and say what happened on Broad Street is rare.

"We think our mission is a critical one," said Susan Levy, who is with the Orange County Habitat for Humanity. "I think diversity in any community is very critical to a healthy community."

Families are becoming successful through Habitat. Several homes in the Chestnut Hill subdivision are all Habitat Homes. Lori Sotelo bought her home five years ago. She says people are wrong to have negative attitudes towards those who become Habitat homeowners.

"Habitat is not a handout, it's a hand up," Sotelo said. "And there's a big difference because these aren't just low income."

Like all Habitat homeowners, Lisa had to put in sweat equity and pay for every board that went into building her home. Habitat For Humanity says it believes in its families, and know they will be good neighbors.

Gist says Habitat For Humanity provides housing in an area that desperately needs it. She adds the town is supportive of Habitat and welcomes its new project, Celebration 2000.


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