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How We Build Community Blog

Ink drawing of a house

Pickens Habitat brings people together to build community! Since 1981, we've helped neighbors achieve the safety and security that can be found in affordable homeownership. We couldn't do this without the help of our local community and caring partners.

Read on to learn more about the impact we've made through the years with the help of generous donors and dedicated volunteers.


Kevin Parris joins PCHFH as the new Construction Coordinator, bringing extensive construction experience and a personal connection to Habitat's mission. He aims to empower families and volunteers, focusing on building not just houses, but homes filled with hope and love.

Explore the diverse volunteer opportunities at Pickens County Habitat for Humanity (PCHFH), from hands-on construction work on Tuesdays/Thursdays or Wednesdays/Fridays, to contributing your expertise in one of our vital committees. Whether you're looking to offer administrative support, specialize in communications, or join the crew building homes, your role at PCHFH will have a profound impact. This article delves into the various ways you can get involved, highlighting the unique benefits and transformative experiences volunteering offers. Join us in our mission to build not just houses, but hope and community.

At Habitat on the Hill, PCHFH and other affiliates discussed affordable housing with key political figures, emphasizing the need for supportive policies and the impact of advocacy on national housing policy reform efforts.

The PCHFH family celebrated the dedication of the Wright family's new home in Liberty, a testament to community support and perseverance. This event marks a new beginning filled with hope and love, showcasing the power of collective action.

Embarking on an ambitious journey towards equitable and sustainable communities, our 2024 vision focuses on transformative housing advocacy. This guide highlights key public policies and initiatives aimed at reshaping affordable housing. It's a call to action for leaders and citizens to create a more inclusive future. Explore the strategic paths from expanding home production to fair lending, all designed to build not just homes but hope and stability for everyone in our community.

In a touching farewell message, Jill Evans shares a significant announcement about her future and reflects on her meaningful journey with Pickens County Habitat. She highlights the organization's growth, her deep connections with partner families, and her gratitude towards dedicated volunteers. Hinting at exciting changes and a promising future under new leadership, this open letter is a heartfelt homage to the community she's served and a glimpse into the next chapter for both her and Habitat.

In this behind the scenes look into the work of PCHFH, the Fall 2023 Pearce Center interns share their inspiring journey. Dive into the heartwarming experiences of three Clemson students as they recount their semester with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity, from impactful projects to personal growth and community connections.

Clemson President's Leadership Institute and Habitat for Humanity team up for a transformative day of service. Discover how this unique partnership is shaping futures and strengthening community bonds in an inspiring event that goes beyond leadership.

Habitat for Humanity's Cost of Home campaign has made substantial progress towards its goal of assisting 10 million people with affordable housing, achieving over 300 policy wins and aiding 6.6 million individuals in just four years.

Pickens County Habitat for Humanity celebrated the dedication of a new home in Clemson on November 12, 2023, marking a significant milestone for the family and community. The heartfelt ceremony, highlighting collaboration and hope, underscored Habitat's mission of building homes and changing lives.

Telesa Blake-Robertson, supported by Pickens County Habitat for Humanity, overcame personal challenges to become a proud homeowner. She recently achieved a new dream when she made her final mortgage payment. Her story highlights the transformative power of Habitat's homeownership program.

Pickens County Habitat for Humanity commemorates former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, honoring her legacy as a champion of social justice, mental health, and affordable housing. Integral to Habitat's story, her life's work profoundly impacts humanity and continues to inspire.

The 2023 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree stands as a towering emblem of holiday spirit and transformation in New York City. Beyond its festive allure, the Center partners with Habitat for Humanity, turning its lumber into sustainable housing materials, symbolizing a cycle of renewal and hope for families in need.

Discover the profound impact of housing on our lives and communities. From the challenges of finding affordable homes to the vital role of Pickens County Habitat for Humanity, explore the intricate housing cycle and learn how you can be part of the solution.

Dolly's Roofing, a family-run Seneca-based company, partners with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity, providing quality roofing services for community builds. Founded on values of superior customer care, they emphasize giving back. Charles Dolly, the founder, encourages businesses to join hands with Habitat for its transformative impact.

Architect Lura Godfrey collaborates with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity, offering designs and championing affordable housing. Inspired by family and faith, she urges support for the cause, emphasizing the power of homeownership.

Clemson University students completed their 30th annual Homecoming Build for Habitat for Humanity, constructing a home later relocated to Pickens. The effort, supported by community sponsors, emphasizes the community’s support of affordable housing initiatives.

Dive into inspiring tales of triumph and transformation as we revisit the lives of three remarkable homeowner partners from past Homecoming Builds. Discover the impact of affordable housing on their families and learn about the community they built along the way.

Explore the vital link between affordable housing, equity, stability, and community. A home is more than shelter—it's a foundation for financial security. Join Pickens County Habitat for Humanity to understand housing's impact and become an affordable housing champion!

Spanning over three decades, Theron Cochran's volunteer story is a testament to passion and dedication, showcasing how individuals can truly make a difference. Celebrate the profound impact he has had on Pickens County, shaping a better tomorrow for families in need.

In a remarkable show of community spirit, Alair Homes partnered with Habitat for Humanity for a statewide, multi-site volunteer collaboration, leaving a lasting mark on the landscape of affordable housing. Read on to learn more about their experience with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity.

The journey toward homeownership is often a complex puzzle of opportunity and finances, but for many families in Pickens County, it’s a dream they fear they’ll never achieve. Learn how Pickens County Habitat for Humanity is empowering residents as they seek the stability and peace of mind that comes from owning your own home.

Harbin Lumber is a family-owned business that has been serving Pickens County for over 100 years. The company is known as a go-to source for top-notch lumber and building materials. But what sets them apart isn't just what they provide; it's what they give back.

After retiring from a 30-year career as a self-employed civil structural engineer consultant, Gary Caruso has found a new sense of purpose in volunteering with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity. He has been volunteering with the organization for 18 months, and in that time, he has helped build several homes for families in need.

Meet the dedicated student leaders of the 2023-2024 Pickens County Habitat for Humanity at Clemson University (Campus Chapter). Discover their passion for affordable housing, their journey to leadership, and their commitment to making a difference in their community. Join them in their mission to create affordable homes for families in need.

Pickens County Habitat for Humanity is excited to announce that Tamara Dourney has joined our staff as Volunteer Coordinator and Communications Specialist! Her focus will be on increasing awareness for the need for affordable housing in Pickens County and expanding the capacity of PCHFH through storytelling and volunteer recruitment efforts.

Tabitha Good didn’t have much stability growing up. She moved several times and attended five elementary schools and two middle schools! Tabitha wanted to create a different life for herself and her growing family, so several years ago, she embarked on a homeownership journey with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity.

Longtime Clemson, South Carolina, resident Cathy Turner is a dedicated board member of Pickens County Habitat for Humanity who has always understood the importance of “being able to go home again.” She says she is very proud of the Habitat homeownership program and feels blessed to be involved.

Pickens County Habitat for Humanity celebrated a new Home Dedication for the Bramlett family! Amanda Bramlett and her two children moved into their new home in February and are continuing to settle in. PCHFH staff, board members and volunteers joined together on March 26 to celebrate the new Bramlett home alongside their family and friends.

The Homecoming Build of 2021 led to an unexpected opportunity for Pickens County Habitat for Humanity, when Michael Nieri pledged to build a second house on Bowman Field during the 2022 Homecoming Build. Nieri is founder, owner and president of Great Southern Homes. He is also a Clemson University alumnus who invests in various local projects. In 2021, he contributed $50,000 as a cornerstone gift for the PCHFH 40th Anniversary Build.

Over the past few months, our PCHFH family has grieved the loss of two staunch supporters and long-time volunteers with the passing of Dr. Dennis Bausman and Dr. Joe Dickerson. Both of these fine men were involved with PCHFH for more than 25 years, supporting the organization through their leadership as members of our board of directors, build site supervisors and volunteers, and faithful financial donors.

Whether he is insuring residents in the Clemson community as a local State Farm agent, or advocating for and volunteering with Habitat, Daniel Webber is no stranger to helping others. He has become an important member of Pickens County Habitat for Humanity as one of our newest board members, yet his involvement with PCHFH began many years ago.

PCHFH staff, board members and volunteers joined together on December 4th to celebrate with Jamie Everett, our newest Habitat homeowner! Everett and her family enjoyed their first Christmas in a home of their own.

On November 10, approximately 108 Prisma Health employees invested more than 700 volunteer hours on Habitat for Humanity build sites statewide – in Greenville, Laurens, Pickens, Oconee, Richland, Lexington and Sumter counties. Prisma Health Partnership Day began last year with 133 volunteers working for a total of 850 hours which set the record for the largest single day, multi-site project in South Carolina’s Habitat for Humanity history.

In a world where affordable housing is increasingly harder to attain, Habitat for Humanity’s mission to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope is more important than ever. While the most recognizable impact of Habitat’s services is the construction of new homes, Habitat’s overall impact reaches far beyond that. Besides driving important social and economic outcomes for Habitat households, Habitat’s work seeps into the wellbeing of surrounding communities and other sectors of the economy.

The 29th annual Homecoming Build on Bowman Field has come and gone, and the Homecoming House has now been moved to its permanent location in Liberty where it will be completed for a family of 5! Read more about the two weeks of activities which helped make this year's event a success.

This summer, Pickens County Habitat for Humanity celebrated two new families who recently became Habitat homeowners. We held two home dedications in July – for Clemson resident Kiara Robinson, and for mother and daughter, Joyce and Britney Roper who live in Liberty.

Each year, the Pickens Area Society for Human Resource Management initiates a volunteer project in the community. When the organization was recently brainstorming ways to serve, Alison Saavedra immediately thought of Habitat but wanted to do something different than helping with construction. That's when the “Welcome Home Basket” project began to take shape.

On a February morning, 13 Prisma Health employees gathered in front of the Clemson Campus Chapter’s Homecoming House in Liberty, South Carolina to be briefed on their responsibilities for the day. While this Liberty team was preparing to start their day, other Prisma employees all across the state were also making their way to Habitat homes in various stages of construction. It was the inaugural Prisma Health Partnership Day with Habitat for Humanity South Carolina.

Sitting in a recliner in her Habitat home, Kiara Robinson fondly describes her experience as a new homeowner. Kiara recently celebrated her one-year anniversary of homeownership! She and her daughter, London, moved into their new home in Clemson in November 2020. I caught up with Kiara recently to see how she and her daughter are doing.

Since its beginnings, Habitat for Humanity has been grounded in principles of faith. The nonprofit’s mission, to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope, has served as a constant guide for the Pickens County Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers. One way that this faith-based mission has been carried out in the South Carolina Upstate is through local church participation in Habitat projects. These churches have participated in a local Apostles Build, helped on the Pickens County Habitat for Humanity at Clemson University (Campus Chapter) Homecoming Build and have served overseas with Habitat.

A faith partnership with PCHFH encompasses various acts of support, such as assisting in building homes and fundraising from those who feel called to join the housing ministry of Habitat. Such a partnership is often formed with a “biblical mandate” on the hearts of those who get involved. They are called to make their faith active by demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ, which includes helping those less fortunate meet their basic needs.

Samantha worked hard to become a homeowner -extra hard. She remembers riding her bike in the rain to help build her home with PCHFH volunteers. Many years later, Samantha lives comfortably and securely thanks to Habitat for Humanity and her determination.

In-kind donations play a massive role for non-profit housing organizations like PCHFH. The Homecoming House is one of the biggest recipients of in-kind donations for the organization. Read more about the need for donated materials and why one PCHFH corporate partner supports the annual Homecoming Build with an invaluable donation.

When it comes to taking care of our neighbors, everyone has something to give. Pickens County Habitat for Humanity believes that when we help our neighbors succeed through stability and safety, our entire community is strengthened. You can take part in strengthening your community by giving a monetary gift to PCHFH in the way that best suits you!

Home is more than a few rooms with doors and windows. A true home is made up of many pieces - some mismatched - but all well-loved and expressive, much like a beloved quilt. PCHFH is grateful for our quilting friends who choose to support Habitat homeowners and the organization through their time, talent, and love.

“I just believe in giving back to the community." Chris Jensen never stops learning new things. As a board member at PCHFH, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from both the for-profit and non-profit industries.

Ken loves painting with oil and watercolor, and finds inspiration in the natural world around him. In his Habitat home, Ken paints using the light coming in from the windows where he can look out at his flowers blooming and hear the gurgling of the creek. Ken's Habitat home is his sanctuary.

On January 16, 2020 Pickens County Habitat for Humanity dedicated the Athletics Build project to a family of five. The house was built with the help of 330 Clemson student-athletes and 50 staff members who volunteered more than 1,200 hours and raised more than $20,000!

The Homecoming Build is a Clemson tradition that many individuals enjoy watching and participating in. However, it is no easy task! There is a lot of work that goes into the Build in the months before and after it occurs. Nevertheless, being able to build a house on Clemson’s campus for a family in need is incredibly rewarding both for the students and the greater community, and those behind the scenes deserve recognition for the countless hours of hard work and preparation to make the Homecoming Build a success year after year.

The annual Habitat Homecoming Build at Clemson is not possible without the many hands that plan, donate, volunteer, build and administer the event. People come from a wide range of backgrounds and experience, but all have the same goal in mind. Whether helping from afar or spending every day at the Build, each volunteer laid a hand on the house that will soon be called a home.

"It was evident that the team effort everyone selflessly put forth was with genuine intentions to provide a home for a family in need that will change their life for the better." Delaney Niemeyer of the Pearce Center of Communication at Clemson University shares her volunteer experience at the 2021 Homecoming Build in our latest #40in40 blog with a new perspective on homeownership and teamwork.

“If the walls could speak, they would tell you how I nervously climbed the ladder to get on top of the flooring, propped up by cinder blocks, and raised the sidewall of a house with a crew who accepted I knew nothing — but was willing to teach me what to do.”

Elizabeth O'Donnell of the Pearce Center of Communication at Clemson University shares her volunteer experience at the Homecoming Build in our latest #40in40 blog. Experiences like Elizabeth's are what have made this annual project so special for the thousands of student volunteers who have helped to build Homecoming houses since its inception in 1994.

In our latest #40in40, Pearce Center for Professional Communication at Clemson University student intern Roxie Ware shares her experience volunteering at the 2021 Homecoming Build and the meaningful impact she will carry forever: "Building the entire house from beginning to end is a long process with thousands of small steps to reach the finish line, but contributing to one of those steps and signing my name on a wall once we installed it felt like a huge accomplishment."

It's finally here! The 28th annual Homecoming Build kicks off next Wednesday September 22nd on Bowman Field at Clemson University with Clemson Habitat for Humanity! Learn more about the history of this tradition and how to get involved.

From Clemson student to Clemson leader, Daniel Webber - State Farm Insurance Agent has never forgotten how to give back to his community. In our latest #40in40, Daniel celebrates PCHFH's 40th Anniversary and reflects on the impact State Farm has been able to have on affordable housing in our community. Specifically, the Homecoming Build hosted by Clemson Habitat for Humanity.

The annual Homecoming Build is a unique service project has involved thousands of students over the years and has impacted many families in need of safe, decent, and affordable housing. Learn more about the 2021 Campus Chapter officers and their hopes for this year's build by reading our latest #40in40 blog!

PCHFH regularly seeks funding partnerships with companies who value affordable housing, community service and employee engagement. As a result, more than five large corporations have historically invested in our work in the community. Collectively, these organizations have contributed more than $100,000 toward building new, affordable homes in Pickens County!

The annual Homecoming Build put on by Clemson Habitat for Humanity is hard to forget for anyone who takes part. Learn about three former Clemson students who were impacted by their involvement in the Pickens County Habitat for Humanity at Clemson University Campus Chapter.

Surviving years with recessions and low donations, Pickens County Habitat for Humanity has remained one of the community's only affordable housing solutions. It's thanks to our dedicated volunteers and staff, our community's financial support, and a whole lotta faith that the organization has been able to continue to grow in capacity even through such challenges! Read along as we explore how the affiliate has been able to grow in financials and in community involvement, and offer ways for folks to help us reach even greater heights!

The phrase "Home Sweet Home" has enriched meaning when you've actually helped to build it! To qualify to become a Habitat homeowner, you must meet certain criteria and be willing to put in "sweat equity" for the duration of your home's construction. And it's so worth it!

Paying it forward in its truest form! In 2003, D.W. Daniel High School students had the opportunity to build a home for their former kindergarten teacher, Geneva Hicks. Read more about this heartwarming story.

Did you know that you can donate or sell land to Pickens County Habitat? With less than ten buildable lots remaining in our inventory upon which to build affordable homes for families in need, we need land and we need it soon!! Read our latest story to learn more about the need for buildable lots, and how you could help us continue building affordable homes in Pickens County.

While every Habitat for Humanity affiliate operates independently, there is one common thread that weaves all Habitat organizations together: the volunteers. More specifically, the “regular” volunteers. In this #40in40, learn about the history of PCHFH's Tuesday/Thursday regular volunteers and meet Preston - a kind and dedicated current team member!

From volunteer to Construction Coordinator to Executive Director - Cindy has done it all! We're so thankful for Cindy's many contributions over the years that helped to shape our organization.

“PCHFH truly is a family. One of the most difficult things was not being able to see everyone.” Construction Coordinator Chris Mastandrea and other members of PCHFH reflect how the pandemic impacted our organization.
In our 15th installment of #40in40, learn how COVID-19 changed our affiliate but never stopped our important work.

Pickens County Habitat homes are made to be quality homes - built by quality people! Meet our Construction Coordinator Chris Mastandrea. Chris' commitment to building homes that families can be proud of is what makes PCHFH such a great organization to serve.

Dabo's All In Team Foundation generously funded the construction of a Pickens County Habitat home in 2018. We recently got the opportunity to speak with Vice Chair Kathleen Swinney and Assistant Director Lexie Vick about our partnership, the mission of Dabo's All In Team Foundation, and much more!

Our annual fundraiser, "Have a Heart for Habitat", has become a community favorite over the last five years. We've had to reimagine the event for the past two years due to the pandemic, but we're extra excited about 2021's campaign plans! Hint hint - we've already announced part of our exciting news! Read all about our annual fundraiser and our event's history.

Volunteering with Pickens County Habitat doesn't have one look. Allison volunteers her time by collecting books for the children of our Habitat homeowners so that they have lots to read in their new and comfortable homes!

Rebecca Harper is proud. She is proud that she took a leap of faith at a time when she had little hope. She is proud of all that she has accomplished, including becoming a homeowner and providing a better life for herself and her small family.

It takes many hands and a lot of heart to do the work of Pickens County Habitat for Humanity! In this video, you’ll meet four PCHFH Board Members who not only volunteer their time to make leadership decisions for the affiliate, but have also assisted the organization in many other important ways. From swinging a hammer to prepping lunches to writing press releases – Pickens County Habitat volunteers truly have a heart for Habitat.

Thousands of college students around the nation participate in Collegiate Challenge with Habitat for Humanity. PCHFH is lucky to have hosted hundreds of student volunteers through this program who have helped to build many homes for families in need.

April Hendricks loves her community. As a board member for PCHFH, April volunteers her time assisting families as they transition into permanent homeownership.

In 2001, PCHFH and students of Clemson University led the first student-led Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build in the nation. This effort took months of preparation but ultimately produced five new homes for families in need.

Habitat for Humanity displays God's love in action.

Homeowner Kiara knew she needed to make some changes to ensure a better, more secure life for herself and her daughter. Habitat gave her that opportunity.

Executive Director Jill Evans has dedicated nearly two decades of her life to helping Pickens County families in need. She has a lot to say about her experience.

Early visionaries who cared about their neighbors in need helped to establish the Pickens County Habitat affiliate in 1981.

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, shares a celebratory message with PCHFH!