CHARLOTTE, N.C—The annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project had been on a COVID-19-driven timeout since volunteers last convened in Nashville, Tenn., in 2019. That was the last time President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter attended the build, making the Charlotte, N.C., build in early October the first one they have missed since it began in New York City in 1984.
President Carter marked his 99th birthday on the initial day of the Project, Oct. 1. Rosalynn, his beloved wife of 77 years, died on Sunday, two days after it was announced she would enter hospice care, on Nov. 17. Rosalynn Carter was 96.
Though the build still carries the Carter’s name, country-music legends Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood hosted this year’s event. The country music power couple have been working and co-hosting the project for more than a decade. In a report on the Habitat for Humanity International Website, Brooks said, “Though we could never fill their shoes, we are so incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to carry President and Mrs. Carter’s legacy forward through the continuation of the Carter Work Project.”
At a press conference held during the event, the couple further stated that they would continue to host the project so long as the Carters' name was on it and as long as Habitat for Humanity wanted them to. At the same press conference, Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford thanked Brooks and Yearwood for their continuing service, noting that the organization has recognized them as “Habitat Humanitarians,” an honor bestowed on volunteers who also serve as tireless champions, advocates and spokespeople to raise awareness of the need for decent, affordable shelter in the U.S. and around the world.”
Each year, the project has brought volunteers together from all over the world to build side-by-side with the people who would have the opportunity to buy the homes. Habitat, in addition to advocating for affordable housing, builds homes through a network of affiliates worldwide.
Those homes are typically sold at reduced costs and with no-interest loans to families who never owned a home and would otherwise be unable to buy on the open market. The nonprofit does not give away homes, instead offering a hand up, not a handout.
The Charlotte Region affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International hosted the 2023 Project as it continued its large-scale development, The Meadows at Plato Price, so named after the Plato Price School, which closed in the 1960s when desegregation took hold. The land lay vacant until the city of Charlotte donated it to Habitat Charlotte Region in 2019. The 39-home project is expected to be completed by early 2025.
The 2023 Project volunteers worked on 27 homes, performing a variety of construction tasks from framing to roofing to interior finishes. The roofing, furnished by GAF, included Timberline HDZ shingles and accessories. Two teams of executives and employees from GAF worked the entire week and were able to put the finishing touches on the roof of House No. 12.
In spite of excellent fall weather, special precautions were taken to protect the volunteers from exposure to the heat. The Project was safe, and all the workers went home without serious injuries. It would not have come out this way if not for the efforts of the Charlotte Region team of professionals leading the construction site.
At a brief ceremony on the last day of the project, Reckford presided as the Charlotte Region officials handed the hammer over to the Twin Cities (Minnesota) Habitat affiliate as the location for the 2024 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project Hosted by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
Habitat for Humanity International builds worldwide through its network of more than 1,000 affiliates. With strong support from roofing contractors, manufacturers like GAF, OC, CertainTeed, distributors, and others in the industry, the organization is able to keep costs low and affordable for the folks who work hard to become Habitat homeowners.
For more information on how roofing contractors can join in this effort, they can contact their manufacturing partners or their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.