Nonprofit making final touches on cottages in Huntersville for families experiencing homelessness

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Final preparations are underway on three cottages in Huntersville, provided by the Hope House Foundation, where soon families will live rent-free.

The organization helps women and children experiencing homelessness with transitional housing and supportive services.

Families can usually stay for six months in the main facility, and for up to two years in one of the three cottages once they open.

“During the pandemic, we’ve let families stay longer because we knew housing was going to be a challenge,” said Executive Director Debbie O’Handley.

Even with a full-time job, Maria Jones got priced out of her Charlotte apartment after she served two tours with the Army in Afghanistan. She and her three kids lived in a motel before they came to Hope House.

“We moved in the day before school started, in the pandemic. Trying to do my own work, plus taking care of the kids in the hotel that’s too small. Not ideal,” she said.

Jones has been living at Hope House for the last 10 months raising her credit, saving money and even buying a reliable car to get to work.

She’s seen the two-bed, two-bath cottages transform into what they are now, almost move-in ready.

But O’Handley said the pandemic caused some delays.

“There are shortages on lumber, shortages on concrete, and shortages on help,” she said.

There is also no shortage of need.

At this point, Hope House can’t take any more families.

They’re desperately trying to raise money for more cottages on donated land from the town of Huntersville, near Hopewell High School.

“The more money we receive, the more of these cottages we’re going to build,” O’Handley said.

Until they can do that, physical donations are pouring in to help these families get back on their feet and outfit the cottages.

From there, many families including Jones’, hope to one day have a house of their own.

“I see home ownership as the next step,” she said.

To learn more about Hope House or donate, click here.

(WATCH BELOW: Charlotte announces $250M investment in education, housing, jobs in step toward racial equity)