LETTER TO THE EDITOR: It has been an honor serving

Published 5:00 pm Friday, January 17, 2020

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It is with a grateful heart that I thank all those who have been a part of Homes of Hope during the last 14.5 years.

It has been a privilege to serve as the executive director and to see so many folks without homes getting back on their feet and doing so well.

There have been hundreds of Stanly County volunteers over the years who have contributed to our work. You have enabled us to open our doors to more than 1,500 folks needing a place to sleep and some guidance since we began in 2005.

We started Homes of Hope with the idea of an experimental transitional housing program to see if we could assist a family that had lost their home.

We moved that family into a home in June 2005, and within seven months we had an additional five families in the program and we knew we were on to something.

In September 2009, we opened the Community Inn, our emergency overnight facility, in partnership with the Stanly Baptist Association and Stanly Community Christian Ministry.

In June 2011, we started Esther House to assist those experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault. We spun Esther House into its on non-profit in March 2013. In January 2018, we began our Permanent Supportive Housing Program that provides long-term housing with rent based on income.

These accomplishments would not have been possible if not for so many in the community working together to provide houses, becoming mentors, donating supplies and furnishings, volunteering to paint and repair, contributing financially, working in the office, serving on the board, offering office space and helping with fundraisers.

It has truly been a community effort that has seen many of our former clients contributing to the community in very visible ways, and others quietly contributing by renting housing, buying insurance and groceries and expanding the tax base.

My family moved to Albemarle in 2002 and soon came to love this little community where we were fortunate enough to raise our two children.

Through the years, I have been amazed to see folks from all types of backgrounds, religious beliefs, and ideologies working together for a common cause to help their neighbor.

Our nation could take a lesson from the Stanly County community about setting aside differences to work for good. In a country that seems to focus on what separates us, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to nearly everyone if we spent more time focusing on ways we are alike?
I am not talking about sitting around in a circle and singing “Kum Ba Ya.” But I do not see how emphasizing our differences, disparaging those who think differently from us and making fun of things we do not quite understand benefits this wonderful community.

Homes of Hope and many other great non-profits in our community are solid examples of what can be achieved working together.
Please continue to support Homes of Hope. There is a great staff in place doing great things.

May 2020 be a year for all us of dispensing less judgement, and of dispensing more of God’s love, grace and mercy.

Skeet Ayscue
former Homes
of Hope director