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Volunteers tackle affordable housing crisis

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    Ashville, NC (WLOS) — Volunteers in Asheville are building a village in honor of a person who died without a home.

The first wall of the first house in East Asheville’s newest neighborhood — BeLoved Village — went up Monday. A dozen homes are being built as part of an aggressive approach to a crisis that affects so many.

Dozens of volunteers and supporters joined in the old-fashioned home raising.

“While this is a small step, this model is giant, and we hope it takes off like wildfire and becomes a huge solution to the housing crisis here,” BeLoved Asheville’s Amy Cantrell said.

The grassroots non-profit BeLoved Asheville organized the project that will involve building a dozen sustainable micro-homes on property owned by Land of Sky United Church of Christ.

The 440-square-foot homes will have one bedroom, a kitchen and a full bath.

The people who made it all happen said the housing is desperately needed.

“We can make sure that in our community everyone has a place to call home, everyone deserves a place to call home,” BeLoved Asheville’s Carmen Ramos-Kennedy said.

From architecture, to engineering, to construction, labor and materials, the work is being done by volunteers who hope is the first model home is finished by year’s end with the rest being completed by the end of 2020.

“Part of doing it together is contributing the resources we’ve been gifted with. One of the things I’ve been gifted with is logistics and understanding the way things go together, so I’m just thrilled to be able to do that,” Thomas Wolfe, of Lobo Builders, said.

The idea of BeLoved Village was actually born out of tragedy. Janet Jones, a homeless woman, froze to death on the streets of Asheville three years-ago this month.

“The homeless folks, with the cold weather coming, I think it’s important that we care for each other,” Warren Wilson student Alfred Jackson said.

So BeLoved Village is in many ways a tribute to Jones.

“We honor Janet today. Through this village, we honor her memory, and we work so that no one else had to die,” Cantrell said.

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