Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity/ReStore

By Sheila Adcock

(L-R) Pictured in front of the new Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Riverside Parkway @ Hwy 120 in the Kroger Shopping Center, Lawrenceville: Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity Charles Craig, Executive Director, Phillip Williams, Board Vice President, Steve Larson, Board President.
While most people know of the work of Habitat for Humanity, many are not aware that Gwinnett Habitat is a completely separate entity from Atlanta Habitat. Gwinnett Habitat builds an average of 8-10 houses per year, with the latest being a town home project. Gwinnett Habitat has completed approximately 112 houses and has its own budget, raises its own funds and manages its own projects. One board member, who had regularly donated money annually to the Atlanta Habitat, did not realize that Gwinnett Habitat is not part of the Atlanta Habitat. As a result, new efforts are focused on raising awareness about projects, mission and outcomes in Gwinnett.
Steve Larson, Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity Board President, says, “Habitat houses are built for hardworking, dedicated people. They are not free. Habitat provides affordable, decent housing for families through interest-free loans. They are expected to pay the mortgage, pay taxes, insurance, utilities and keep the house in good repair.”
Each family invests 300 hours of sweat equity, with most work being done on houses other than their own. Larson admits, “Habitat recipients definitely work harder than the average homeowner. It usually takes a year and a half to earn the house. Homeowners must attend ten, mandatory educational programs on such topics as home repair, auto repair, credit management, budgeting and more.” He believes that if such due diligence were applied to assure credit worthiness of all new homeowners, the foreclosure rate would not be so high. The Habitat foreclosure rate is below the national average.
Inside Habitat/ReStore
Another key person at Gwinnett Habitat is Charles Craig. Six years ago, Craig worked for Delta, but his spirit was leading him toward a different challenge. Though he never planned to work for Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity, the pieces just fell into place. The process began with the board interview followed by an offer of employment that matched what he needed to accept the position of Executive Director.
Craig is anxious for more people to know of the Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located at 2100 Riverside Drive, at the corner of Riverside and Duluth Highway (SR 120), in Lawrenceville. ReStore sells new and gently used items, with the proceeds going to Habitat for building homes, buying land and furthering the work of the ministry. Craig says, “We sell building supplies, appliances, furniture, tile, tools, lighting, art work and collectables. We don’t sell or accept donations of clothing..”
ReStore is the result of over a year and a half of efforts by the Board and many volunteer groups. There are 700 ReStores in the United States, and Gwinnett tried to capitalize on the best of the models they visited. Some of the major supporters for this project have been United Community Bank, Longhorn Steakhouse and Atlanta Flooring and Design. Empire Flooring recently donated a truckload of new flooring. Lawrenceville Baptist Church donated almost new Pella windows, when they began a remodeling project. Prior to the grand opening, Snellville Vintage Village staff helped with the displays and setting up interesting vignettes.
Craig says that public enthusiasm for collectables and recycling have benefited ReStore, where new and like-new items are available at bargain prices. He says, “One of the great things about ReStore is that it can double our “footprint” of 3500 donated hours per year. People who are unable to work on the home building projects, may be interested in working in the retail store.” ReStore is primarily staffed by volunteers. ReStore has a truck available for item pickup three days each week, by calling to schedule the pickup.
Responding to “What is Gwinnett Habitat’s most recent achievement?, Larson cites the ReStore project. He said, “I am so proud to bring this project to fruition. All of the support we have received and all the people came together made this happen.”
If you’d like to donate items, offer financial support or volunteer time, visit or or call 770-962-4200. Hours of operation for ReStore are on the website.

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