Builders of Hope transforming urban neighborhoods

By Cara Oxendine
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

Builders of Hope, a non-profit organization based in Raleigh, is working to transform urban communities and lives by recycling homes and selling them at-cost to residents with below average median incomes. And now they are looking to expand their presence into Northeast Central Durham.


“We look into areas where we can bring long term change,” said Emily Egge, vice president of development at Builders of Hope. “Where we can do more than just fix-up houses. Where we can stimulate community revitalization and add to efforts that are already going on.”

When Builders of Hope recycles deteriorated homes it incorporates the latest green technology. At its first project, Barrington Village in downtown Raleigh, the organization rebuilt 24 donated homes, keeping 1.5 million pounds out of the landfill.  Typically the organization works with homes that are donated and trucked in from other locations.

The organization also works with social service organizations, such as the Durham and Raleigh Rescue Missions, to teach ex-convicts, recovering addicts and the chronically unemployed green building skills.

“We tell them, ‘you’re going to screw up, and we are going to correct you, but you’re not going to be fired. You have to stick with us and we’re going to help you through it,’” said Egge.

Egge said Builders of Hope establishes valuable partnerships with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Self Help, a community development lender that serves traditionally underserved communities.

According to Egge, Northeast Central Durham is an ideal fit for their organization because it has over 200 vacant houses, a low median household income of about $24,200 and high unemployment rates.

...and after photo of duplexes that BOH saved from demolition in SW Central Durham, on Rosedale Avenue in Lyon Park. These homes went from 'uninhabitable structures to energy-efficient, healthy rental units.' (Photos courtesy of Builders of Hope)

“What’s even better about the area is that it has other investments coming in,” said Egge, referring to organizations such as Downtown Development, Inc. and Scientific Properties, a development company focused on urban development.

“It’s got active community members interested in fixing up their own houses,” said Egge. “This is critical if any kind of change is going to be sustained. People have to have a place to work.”

According to Egge Builders of Hope will modify their model in Durham to include rehabilitating rental properties, properties that often have numerous code violations.

“We figured out that before we can take a neighborhood like that and really turn it around as a viable home ownership opportunity, we’ve got to improve the quality of the rentals,” said Egge.

She said one difficulty with Northeast Central Durham is that there is a high proportion of abandoned rental properties and acquisition of these properties can be complicated. There may be many heirs. “There’s always someone who wants to hold onto it because they think there is a a fortune made,” said Egge. “It’s a long process, and everyone has to be on board.”

But Egge is optimistic about the future of Northeast Central Durham. “Right now, we are at a pretty good spot because the city, non-profits, for-profits, organizations, community groups, retail and business enterprises are all sort of on the same page.”

For more information go to

(Other Websites)

Downtown Durham Inc.

Scientific Properties

Durham Rescue Mission

Raleigh Rescue Missiion

Durham Habitat for Humanity

Self Help