NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – For Angel Barnhill, the good ole days took place 10 years ago when this single mother qualified as a Habitat for Humanity homeowner.

Constructed in 1921, a 1200-square-foot house is now home-sweet-home for Barnhill and her adult son who live in the Ballentine section of Norfolk. Ten years ago it required a total renovation, including the replacement of the first-floor ceiling.

Ribbon Cutting ceremony for home
(Photo courtesy: Habitat for Humanity)

After a lot of TLC, it still has roaring twenties charm with original hardwood floors, a broad front porch, and a deep fenced-in backyard.

“It makes me feel wonderful because I know I am part of a community. I am helping build this community so it just feels great,” said Barnhill.

Under the program, now in its 34th year, 240 families in Hampton Roads have become homeowners under a program in which Habitat renovates or builds new homes. Qualifying families invest so-called sweat equity by working alongside volunteers.

This month it’s open season. Habitat for Humanity will accept applications for others who have a dream of homeownership.


“The month of May we accept applications for deserving families who have the credit score, have a job, and can afford a mortgage,” said Frank Hruska, who is the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, South Hampton Roads.

Frank Hruska
Habitat for Humanity/South Hampton Roads
(WAVY photo/Regina Mobley)

Hruska projects that 200 people will apply. But, because of an estimated 2-5% decrease in contributions, a 50% increase in the cost of construction supplies, and person-power issues, only five families will become Habitat for Humanity homeowners.

The projections point to a perfect pandemic-related storm for many who have dreams of buying a home. According to Long and Foster, the average price of a home in March in Hampton Roads was $300,000.

“We need volunteers; 85% of the work done on our homes is done by volunteers. I’ll be honest, we need some monetary donations too,” said Hruska.

Angel is grateful for the donations that made her dream a reality. “Being able to have this home is an asset that I can give [to my son] after I am far gone and he’s comfortable. That just makes my heart melt.”

Angel and son Zevon
(Photo courtesy: Angel Barnhill)

More information about the program, how to apply, and how to become a volunteer can be found on the South Hampton Roads Habitat for Humanity website.