The Families of Carney Place | Habitat For Humanity
On a sunny summer day at Carney Place, John Perry ran the circular saw, cutting gables for the new home that will soon belong to Lynn Burklow, a teaching assistant and after-school teacher in Asheville, North Carolina.
When the day’s work ended, Perry went home to his tent. Homeless off and on for 12 years, he is one of a regular corps of homeless men and women who help build Habitat homes in Asheville.
“This right here is a good way to get closer to God and His people,” he said during a break in the gable-cutting. “These are His people right here. These are His workers. We’re doing something for humanity, helping people to have homes.
“I wouldn’t mind living in one of these houses,” he added.
But it doesn’t seem strange, he said, to spend the day building homes for others when he has no home. It’s just the way it is.
The Rev. Brian Combs, pastor of Haywood Street Congregation, who helps bring the homeless to build houses, calls this a “holy irony.”
“It really invigorates my faith,” he said. “These guys sweat and get blisters and inevitably they say, ‘I’m going to go back tonight and sleep under a tree or in a tent. But I got to build something so someone else will have a house.’