The concept that grew into Habitat for Humanity International was born at Koinonia Farm, a small, interracial, Christian community outside of Americus, Georgia. Koinonia Farm was founded in 1942 by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan. The Fullers first visited in 1965. They had recently left a successful business and an affluent lifestyle in Montgomery, Alabama to begin a new life of Christian service. At Koinonia, Jordan and Fuller developed the concept of “partnership housing.” The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses.
The houses would be built at no profit and interest would not be charged on the loans. Building costs would be financed by a revolving fund called “The Fund for
Humanity.” Capital was donated from around the country to start the work. Homes were built and sold to families in need at no profit and no interest. The basic model of Habitat for Humanity was begun.
Through the work of Habitat, thousands of low income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. Churches, community groups and others have joined together to successfully tackle a significant social problem, decent housing for all. Today, Habitat has helped build or repair more than 600,000 houses and served more than 3 million people around the world.
In the late 1980’s, Mary Davis, the late John Walser, and the late Helen Brinkley realized the need in Lexington was great. They knew that many people dreamed of owning their own home, but the dream seemed unattainable. They realized that owning a home could change a person’s life and offer hope for future generations. They understood that homeownership could lead to prosperity thus breaking the poverty cycle. They believed that with hard work and offering a helping hand they could change the world “one nail at a time.” Just as Habitat for Humanity International founder Millard Fuller believed, Mary, John and Helen understood that “no one lives in dignity until everyone lives in dignity.” Armed with a strong will to make a difference, these three insightful champions began meeting at Grace Episcopal Church. In 1988, they formed what is now called Habitat for Humanity of Lexington, NC Area Inc. Aware they needed money to make this endeavor successful they recruited local Turlington and Co. accountant Bob Oates to raise the much needed funds. Bob and his committee quickly went to work. With support from local churches, businesses, civic groups and individuals they began building the future. The first house was built on Agner St. and was sold to Ricky and Haok Purvis March 30, 1990 for $38,000. Soon they began building Koinonia Village on Covenant Lane. Twelve houses were built between 1990 and 1998. Today our local Habitat for Humanity has built fifty houses in Lexington and through our tithe, forty-eight houses internationally. Ninety-eight families throughout Lexington and the world have had their lives changed as a result of the efforts of our founders and supporters. In addition, many volunteers and supporters have been touched with a sense of giving and the satisfaction of helping others.