Builders of Hope: A Social Entrepreneur’s Solution for Rebuilding America

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New book reveals how Builders of Hope is shifting the affordable housing paradigm; Book proceeds will benefit the HopeWorks mentor training program.

Celebrated author Wanda Urbanska reveals how Nancy Welsh and Builders of Hope are rebuilding our country by using teardowns to create beautiful communities of rehabbed, green affordable housing.

We have a greater number of vacant houses than we’ve had in decades – perhaps a new record in the history of America. Ironically, more individuals and families need healthy affordable housing than ever before," said Nancy Welsh, founder, Builders of Hope.

The housing issues facing our nation are vast and complex. Yet, when social, business and institutional leaders come together, the challenge is not insurmountable. Social entrepreneur Nancy Welsh is an inspiring example of how determination, a thoughtful approach and environmental leadership are a winning formula for the millions of Americans in need of affordable housing. This October, celebrated author Wanda Urbanska reveals this formula for success in a new book, "Builders of Hope: A Social Entrepreneur’s Solution for Rebuilding America."

“We have a greater number of houses sitting vacant than we’ve had in decades – perhaps a new record in the history of America. Ironically, more individuals and families are in need of healthy affordable housing than ever before,” said Nancy Welsh, founder and chief executive officer of Builders of Hope.

Part narrative, part biography and part how-to guide, "Builders of Hope" is a call to action to address the surplus of tear down houses, while providing a sustainable solution for the millions of moderate and low-income families in need of a home or reasonably priced quality rental. Urbanska walks readers through affordable housing challenges and solutions by examining real-life examples of Builders of Hope’s North Carolina communities in Charlotte, Cary and Raleigh, as well as Dallas, Texas. She also explains how Builders of Hope’s HopeWorks program rehabs houses while rehabbing lives. It provides green building training and mentorship to ex-offenders and others with barriers to employment. Today, HopeWorks is a sought-after work-mentor program. Proceeds from the book will benefit HopeWorks.

“When you begin to examine this surplus of vacant and foreclosed homes, the pent-up demand, along with an understanding of safe, environmentally friendly ways to rehab houses slated for the landfill, the solution seems so obvious. Home recycling and our patent-pending ‘Extreme Green Rehabilitation’ model are not only economically viable solutions to the affordable housing crisis, they are critical components to the lasting sustainable revitalization efforts in any urban neighborhood,” continued Welsh.

Making Affordable Housing Sustainable for the Planet and People
As explained in the book, “Extreme Green Rehabilitation” transforms vacant and foreclosed houses into beautiful, affordable homes with health- and environmentally conscious materials and practices. It includes moving rescued houses into new, clustered communities designed with architectural continuity or leaving them as anchors to help revitalize existing neighborhoods.

The rehab process essentially creates new structures out of existing framing and interiors with slight modifications to ensure a workable floor plan, plus HVAC systems, plumbing, electrical work and siding. Builders of Hope also installs double-pane windows and new roofs, and improves insulation to increase the structure’s energy efficiency. To bridge the technological divide, Builders of Hope installs wireless Internet access for all its residents and works with local organizations to keep access costs to nothing or very minimal.

“The success of our communities is being heralded as a universal solution to the housing crisis facing many of our nation’s cities,” said Welsh.

Rebuilding Hope, Rebuilding Houses
Of course, a house isn’t a home without people to rehab it with care, enjoy it and maintain it for the long haul. In Builders of Hope, Urbanska compiles heart-warming stories of houses and people – from the families who donated their beloved houses, to the construction workers whose lives have changed because of their new-found sense of purpose, to the families who are finally able to realize and maintain their dream of having a beautiful home in a safe, beautiful community.

About Builders of Hope
Since 2006, the Raleigh-based nonprofit Builders of Hope has rebuilt homes and lives by providing safe, affordable housing to working families. Builders of Hope is working with officials throughout the country to forever change the face of affordable housing through its “Extreme Green Rehabilitation” approach to residential construction. The organization and its innovative model received an award from the National Housing Conference for “Pioneering Housing Strategies.” Builders of Hope has major development projects underway in Raleigh, Fuquay-Varina and Charlotte, N.C. It recently established affiliates in New Orleans, La. and Dallas, Texas with a model that can be easily expanded to states throughout the nation.

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Katie Kiefer
Fedoruk & Associates, Inc.
(612) 886-1767
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