Person of the Week: Nancy Murray

September 18, 2009 2:49:49 PM PDT
Nancy Murray literally rescues homes. She saves houses slated for demolition and by doing so, she gives hope to those who never thought they'd own a home and to the homeless who never thought they would find a job.Murray is the founder of Builders of Hope - a non-profit group that renovates and moves them. That keeps tons of debris out of landfills.

The homes are overhauled with environmentally friendly materials, and then priced to sell below the appraised value.

"Just Raleigh alone had a 23,000 unit shortfall of affordable housing according to the last census. So, being able to bring a housing inventory back that's a high quality housing standard that anybody would love to live in was something near and dear to my heart," Murray explained.

"So many of these neighborhoods have deteriorated inventories that the kneejerk reaction is just to tear it down because it's no good anymore. And we have a solution where we can go in and completely rehabilitate it and make it high quality living for another 70 years and have it still be affordable," she continued.

There's another element fundamental to Builders of Hope. Murray partners with local homeless shelters to hire people who are ready to work but unable to find jobs. People like Kenneth Bynum.

"She's given people an opportunity to own homes who've never been able to afford homes before and to see the kids come, to see the people come, it just amazes me and I'm kind of proud to be with Nancy," he offered.

Murray started Builders of Hope as a ministry to help people and the environment. She's learned a lot along the way.

"Like everybody, you sort of grow up wanting to make a difference and when I was young, I thought, 'Wow I want to do something really big and impact a lot of people and how exciting that would be.' And once you realize, you know, it's just one person at a time or one family at a time or one house at a time - that's really how to make a difference in a community," she explained.

In just 3 years time, Murray has made a huge difference in six communities in the triangle. Now, she wants Builders of Hope to grow beyond North Carolina.

"You're taking something that's going to be thrown away. It's destined for the landfill and you're turning it into something that's really beautiful and something that has significance and meaning to somebody who never thought they could have something that special," she said.

To learn more about Builders of Hope, click here to visit the website.

If you know someone who'd make a good Person of the Week, click here to nominate them.

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