Building Suffolk’s future

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2005

Volunteers began laying the foundation of Building Suffolk Inc., the city’s newest affordable housing nonprofit organization, on Thursday

Weeks after ironing out legal differences with the South Hampton Roads Habitat for Humanity Inc., the new group – created by several long-time Suffolk Habitat volunteers – began planning for the future.

The group formed the competing organization to increase affordable housing options for Suffolk residents, said Angela Koncz, a former project coordinator for Suffolk Habitat and founder of Building Suffolk.

Email newsletter signup

Before the new group could get started, Koncz and South Hampton Roads Habitat went to court to resolve several disputes.

&uot;That’s all history now, it’s in our past,&uot; she said. &uot;We are moving on to a new day.&uot;

With the new day came the tapping of an inaugural executive board of 14 local leaders: Fran Alwood, Steve Stevenson, Carolina Martin, McLemore Birdsong, Don Hammond, Jeff Sletten, Carrie Sletten, Denise Boyette, Teresa Provost, Rosemary Sadler, Karen Croston, Paige Weiss, the Rev. Henry G. Baker and Koncz.

In coming months, the organization will focus on fundraising and selecting a family for its first home, Koncz said. She is hoping the group will be ready to break ground on its first house on a piece of donated property in Orlando by October.

Building Suffolk is expecting to hear within the next few weeks whether it will receive a $25,000 matching grant from the Fuller Center for Housing, a Georgia-based organization created by the founder of Habitat for Humanity International.

Meanwhile, members will begin planning fundraisers to help get the organization off the ground.

&uot;I see that as our most pressing need right now,&uot; Koncz said.

Although the organization is still waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to approve its non-profit status, it can begin taking contributions immediately, Koncz said. Anyone making donations will be sent the necessary information for tax deductions once the non-profit status has been granted, Koncz said.

Building Suffolk will operate much like Habitat in selecting recipients for its homes, Koncz said. Applicants will have to meet economic guidelines, show a need for housing and be able to meet credit guidelines for standards to hold a mortgage, she said. They will also be expected to invest a minimum of 400 hours of sweat equity into construction of their houses.

Koncz is optimistic about the future of Building Suffolk.


think last night went well,&uot; said Koncz on Friday. &uot;The showing was wonderful. &uot;We’re putting together the foundation of a strong organization that will help address affordable housing issues in Suffolk.&uot;

For more information on Building Suffolk, call Alwood at 539-5780 or e-mail Koncz at