Hope Restoration project changing lives on multiple fronts

KINSTON, Lenoir County – The Hope Restoration project, which started in 2016 by giving those having a hard time finding jobs a chance to work on home for those in need, has expanded exponentially sine then.

Last spring, the project had four homes slated for restoration. Now, they’ve restored 25, with more on the way.

Lawrence Wilson, who works for the project, said this job has been all about second chances.

“I started doing drugs, I didn’t have a place to stay, they gave me a place to stay at the Flint home to live in a fellowship program, the same as the church,” Wilson said.

Hope Restoration founder Chris Jenkins said stories like Wilson’s are why he started the program in the first place.

“We are trying to give employment support to folks who really need and have a hard a time being hired elsewhere,” he said.

It’s been a life-changer for those that end up living in the homes, too, like Jeff Richardson, who was one of the first to get a Hope Restoration home last year.

“That’s the American Dream – you raise your family, and you know you own a house and you know that is one of big goals you know to own a house,” Richardson said.

Jenkins started buying and restoring old homes in low-income neighborhoods in 2014 as a way of healing after his son’s death. The 17-year-old committed suicide after battling a substance abuse addiction.

He’s hopeful that this project can provide more stability for families and jobs for those on the path to recovery as a means of combating substance abuse. The goal is to be able to get to 45 homes and make the program financially self-sufficient.

“The more in the neighborhood that own their home the better things are like crime rates and health rates and scholastic and performance and performance of their children,” Jenkins said.

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