New Orange County Habitat for Humanity Community for Seniors is First of its Kind

September 29, 2019  |  Chapelboro

Habitat for Humanity of Orange County held a ribbon-cutting ceremony of a new affordable housing community for seniors on Thursday. The Crescent Magnolia community in Hillsborough is the first in the nation built by Habitat strictly to improve affordable home ownership for residents 55 years-old and older. Orange County resident and senior Michelle Porchia helped build one of the buildings by cutting insulation, hammering nails and screwing in doorknobs. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, she shared her memory of seeing the first one-story townhouse building be constructed. Read more

Orange High partners with Habitat and PHE Inc. for 11th annual Hands for Habitat

September 12, 2019  |  News of Orange

Members of the Orange County School district administration joined Orange County Habitat for Humanity, a class from Orange High School and financial partner PHE Incorporated to announce the 11th annual Hands for Habitat event Thursday morning. The event, which took place at 545 Homemont Avenue in Hillsborough, will see the construction traits class from Orange High School partner with Habitat for Humanity—with the help of a $50,000 donation from PHE Incorporated—who was represented by Katy Zvolerin, Director of Public Relations, to build a home at the site location. Read more

Orange County Habitat for Humanity talks home, health and safety in a new panel series

September 5, 2019  |  The Daily Tar Heel

Habitat for Humanity of Orange County hosted a housing and health panel Wednesday to discuss the safety and health risks posed in some United States homes.  Habitat said, 45 percent of U.S. homes exhibit a health or safety risk, such as mold, broken stairs or windows and exposure to lead and other toxic chemicals.  This discussion was the first of a panel series, called Home is the Key, which is being hosted in celebration of its 35th anniversary. The series will continue through October and November with two more panel discussions.  Read more

Our Stories



Michelle’s job as a Bridal Consultant at Bed Bath & Beyond has been more fun since she was approved for her Habitat home in the Crescent Magnolia neighborhood, as she is now able to take some of her own advice.

“I love helping couples have fun and decide what they should put on their registry and how to set up a home,” said Michelle. “I’ve been getting better at space-saving ideas, as I am preparing to downsize myself.”

Michelle currently lives in a second-floor apartment unit that has been undergoing costly updates, which is causing her rent to increase unexpectedly and at an unaffordable rate. Not only is she excited to move into her own single-story affordable home, but she’s also excited to be part of a senior community from the ground up.

“Senior housing is a challenge, with many places in the area having 5-10 year long waiting lists. With Habitat, I’ve already met so many of my future neighbors. I know we’ll be a community who will not only do things together around Hillsborough, but check on each other which is really special.”

John and Marion

John and Marion

John spent most of his career working in construction, so being on the Habitat job site is second nature for him. Although he isn’t able to do as much construction work these days, he loves being on site and talking with the people working on his home.

“I love people and I love that I get to interact with so many different types of people,” John said about his favorite task: greeting each volunteer as they arrive on site and check in.

John heard about Habitat’s senior housing program from several places, including his church, the Efland-Cheeks Community Center, and the Orange County Department on Aging. He was excited to learn more about the opportunity to own a home that he and his wife could age in, so he applied and was accepted!

The couple lives in a first-floor unit, but the apartment itself is not very friendly for older adults. John’s wife has dementia, and their current apartment will not allow him to take care of her or for her to age in place.

With their new Habitat home, not only will John and his wife be able to socialize in a safe neighborhood, but they will also live in an accessible, affordable home. “I’ll be able to give quality care at our home and keep us together longer,” said John. “Family is more important than anything else.”



Leola loves to spend time with her family. With five siblings, four grandchildren, and two adult children all mostly living in the area, she gets her fill of family time. “We love to cook and go to the park together. It’ll be nice to have my own kitchen and all of the common outdoor space to spend time with them in,” she says about spending time with her grandchildren. She can’t wait to move into her new Habitat home and have all her family over to visit.

She currently lives with some relatives in an older family home. The house has wear and tear which is starting to make it unsafe. She also has to share most living spaces and has no personal space to call her own. After hearing about Habitat and the senior homeownership program from a friend, she applied to “see what would happen” and has been excited about the process since acceptance. 

“It was now or never with owning my own home. This is a great opportunity for me and I wouldn’t have had a chance without Habitat,” says Leola. “I’m already thinking about what I’m going to make for Christmas dinner next year!”

Your Stories

Have you volunteered on our site before? Have you made a donation to Habitat? Do you live in a Habitat home? We want to hear how this organization has impacted you. Please take a moment to share your story with us.

*After submitting your story, someone from the development team may be in touch to gather more information or chat about your experience. 

Want to learn more about the history of our affiliate? Check out our Legacy blog below with interviews and reflections over the past 35 years of our organization!