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Habitat for Humanity Makes Major Request from City

Habitat for Humanity will make its largest funding request ever from the Charlotte City Council tonight. If approved, the $600,000 grant will help Habitat homes blend into their neighborhoods better. The city money would pay for extra features like porches and brick work to all of the homes Habitat builds in Charlotte this year. The effort started in Washington Heights six years ago when neighborhood leaders worried Habitat homes would undermine the historic nature of their community. Druid Hills residents had concerns, too. "At first some of the neighbors were a bit apprehensive and felt that with Habitat homes it brought a certain mentality level and also that it brought down property values," says Druid Hills Neighborhood Association President Darryl Gaston. But Gaston says those fears proved unfounded, and Habitat now has 30 homes in the Druid Hills neighborhood. He says the porches are a big plus because they encourage neighbors to interact and keep an eye out for crime. However, Gaston says he'd rather not see the money for those porches come from taxpayers. Habitat Charlotte Executive Director Bert Green says the nonprofit needs the city's help because the current economy has driven fundraising down and construction costs up.