Realtors® at the heart of the community
By Terri Marshall
Housing Opportunity Foundation Executive Director
It’s summertime and the livin’ is supposed to be easy, but for those who struggle with day-to-day housing issues, no season is easy nor are there any vacations away from the worry and stress.
June is traditionally recognized as Homeownership Month, and to underscore the importance of homeownership, the Housing Opportunity Foundation just concluded its Week of Awareness, June 18-22.
Realtors® come together to help homeless children
To help meet local community needs, the foundation began the week by partnering with A Child’s Place. Local Realtors® decorated and stuffed 1,000 bags with nutritious snacks to benefit homeless children participating in three summer camps located throughout the city. Many association staff members joined in, donating their lunch hour to decorate and stuff bags.
Annabelle Suddreth, executive director of A Child’s Place, said, “Our organization works to erase the impact of homelessness on children and education. Based on what we currently know, there are more than 5,000 homeless children enrolled in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg schools, and the summer vacation brings its own set of challenges for these children and their families. We are grateful to the local Realtor® industry for assisting us.”
On June 22, a caravan of Realtors® delivered exactly 1,103 bags to the camp at Westerly Hills Academy and saw first-hand the impact of their snack bag campaign.
“We were delighted that the children liked our efforts and that we could contribute in some small way to the work being done by A Child’s Place,” said Joan Goode, chair of the Housing Opportunity Foundation Committee. “As Realtors® we are very conscious of the growing unmet housing needs throughout the community and wanted to actively demonstrate that we are working to create a better quality of life for us all.”
Members address affordable housing issues, support the foundation
The week also afforded the opportunity for 50 Realtors® to participate and engage in critical conversations around the documentary Souls of Our Neighbors, a cooperative effort of Crossroads Charlotte, Mecklenburg Ministries and Temple Beth El. The workshop encouraged dialogue about the fears and facts of affordable housing in Charlotte and beyond. Realtors® viewed the documentary film and participated in conversations to better understand their roles as housing professionals.
On the evening of June 20, Realtors® and guests combined philanthropy and networking at the Sweets & Tweets event at CRAVE Dessert Bar. Deemed “a party with a purpose,” all of the monies raised go toward the foundation’s programs and services so that Realtors® may continue to work with individuals, programs, organizations and corporate partners to strengthen the local community. Throughout the evening, attendees sampled an array of delicious food (the ‘Sweets’ part of the evening), but were also encouraged to tweet about the impact of the foundation (the ‘Tweets’ part of the evening). As a special treat, entertainment was provided by Realtor® member Lionel Cornelius, formerly of the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose. See a sampling of Twitter messages from the evening.
On June 25, Chair Goode was joined by colleagues in a visit to the Charlotte City Council. The group shared details of the week and communicated what Realtors® are doing to address the mayor’s proclamation of 2012 as the “Year of Our Neighbor.”
Although this was the first year for the foundation’s Week of Awareness initiative, bets are on that it will continue next year with an even greater emphasis on how Realtors® serve at the heart of the community.