Best Overall: Davidson Ice House, ft. Davidson Wedding Soup
Best Chunky: Table 31, ft. Short Rib Chili
Best Creamy: Mestizo Contemporary Mexican Cuisine, ft. Roasted Chile Ancho Crab Meat Creamy Soup
Best Farm to Spoon: Davidson Ice House, ft. Davidson Wedding Soup
Best Vegetarian: Carrburritos, ft. Cream of Mushroom and Broccoli Soup
Most Creative: Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse, ft. Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Additionally, thank you to our dessert vendors: Gâteau on Main and Fresh Market. Thank you to our silent auction donors for their unique contributions, and to our musicians, Sunday Union, Rusty Knox, and Sands of Tyme.
This event would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Thank you to the following local businesses:
Souper Bowl is annual fundraiser in support of the Davidson Housing Coalition’s emergency home repair program, HAMMERS (Hands Helping Around Mecklenburg/Mooresville Making Emergency Repairs Safely). Please visit our program page to learn more about HAMMERS.
Missed Souper Bowl, but still want to support HAMMERS? It’s not too late! We accept donations year-round in support of HAMMERS. To support HAMMERS now, visit our online donation page, and mark the box, “This is a gift for DHC’s HAMMERS program.” Thank you!
Davidson Housing Coalition’s annual holiday tradition, Holidays for Hope & Housing, returns for its 18th year! This holiday event began in the McConnell neighborhood of Davidson, as a way for the community to celebrate the holidays with the lighting of luminaria, while coming together to support a good cause. The warm glow on a wintry December night caught the attention, and affection, of other neighborhoods who quickly joined in the festivities.
In recent years, Holidays for Hope & Housing has grown—last year, with the help of volunteers from the Community School of Davidson and Boy Scout Troop 58, more than 10,000 luminarias were created, and over 850 families across Davidson and Cornelius participated.
Preparations are underway for this year’s lighting, to be held the evening of Saturday, December 8th at 6 PM. Letters to participating streets and/or neighborhoods will be delivered between Monday, November 26th and Monday, December 3th. Sets of luminaria, which include eight sand-filled paper bags and candles, will be available with a donation to DHC. TO order luminarias online, or to make a donation to the event, please visit our online donation page here. For more information, please email our Development Coordinator, Livesey Pack ([email protected]), or call DHC’s office at (704) 892-4486.
Interested in supporting Holidays for Hope & Housing? Check out this year’s volunteer opportunities here.
Davidson Housing Coalition is a non-profit that serves our local community with the belief that everyone should have access to decent, affordable housing and the resources to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Therefore, the mission of Davidson Housing Coalition is to work with the larger community to preserve and create affordable housing options, and to prepare families and individuals for financial stability and homeownership. The organization provides homebuyer education, financial literacy counseling, a job search assistance program for the unemployed and under-employed, and HAMMERS, a home emergency repair program that serves the greater Lake Norman area.
Natalie Desvarieux had heard Davidson referred to as one of the best places to live in North Carolina before she had even moved here. Therefore, when she stumbled upon the Davidson Housing Coalition’s website in the fall of 2017, it felt almost like fate. At the time, she was working part-time as a server in Concord, and renting an apartment nearby. While her current lease didn’t end until the spring, she was already thinking about her next move. As a life-long renter, Natalie was well aware that each lease renewal meant an increase in rent. She was already paying $1,080 for a one-bedroom apartment, and even after taking another part-time position with an insurance company, her current living set-up was becoming financially unsustainable. Additionally, Natalie did not want to remain a renter—she had aspirations of being a homeowner, but with most of her monthly income covering her basic living expenses, it didn’t seem possible to save enough money for a down payment on a house.
When Natalie arrived at the Davidson Housing Coalition several months later, her dream of achieving home-ownership finally seemed within reach. She began meeting regularly with Gail Brooks-Lemkin, DHC’s Homebuyer Education and Financial Literacy Counselor. Initially, the two worked together to outline a new budget and to review Natalie’s income and credit. Then with Gail’s support, Natalie took the lead, completing a homebuyer education course and gathering the necessary paperwork to become pre-certified. In March, Natalie received notice that she qualified for the Town of Davidson’s Affordable Housing program, and started to look at homes available for purchase through the program. Then, in April, Natalie learned that she had been approved for down payment assistance through the Town. To add to the good news, she was also approved for mortgage support from the Community Partners Loan Pool program, offered through the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.
Only three months after her initial meeting with Gail at DHC, Natalie closed on her new home. She officially moved in at the end of May. When we sat down with her, nearly a week after she moved in, Natalie had already changed the color of the walls, put in new flooring in the kitchen, and re-painted the kitchen cabinets—all design choices that she wasn’t able to make while renting an apartment. Natalie already enjoys living in her new neighborhood, and is excited to be a part of the greater Davidson community. An avid biker and a food enthusiast, Natalie is looking forward to biking around town, and to exploring Davidson’s growing restaurant scene. In addition to settling into her new home, Natalie’s biggest priority is to save money. Her mortgage payments are half the cost of her former rent, so for Natalie, home-ownership means not only financial stability in the present, but the promise of financial freedom for the future.
On September 19th, 2005, Rick Volker was driving home after a night out with friends. Approaching the intersection at West Catawba, Rick accelerated to make the yellow light. As he sped up, his car’s front right tire veered off the road. A drop off between the pavement and the side of the road caught the tire. Meanwhile, the car continued to move forward, flipping once before hitting a telephone pole. When EMTs arrived at the scene, they presumed that Rick, trapped in the driver’s seat, was dead. However, in cutting Rick out of the car, they discovered a slight pulse, and Rick was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center in downtown Charlotte. He remained there in a coma for four months before being transferred to a nearby nursing home. While the medical staff thought Rick’s chances of waking up were slim to none, his mom continued to visit him daily—to talk with him, to laugh with him, and to shave his beard. It was this scene to which Rick woke up, his mom there beside him, shaving his beard.
Almost twelve years later, Rick sits across from his wife, Christa, in their home in Davidson. Rick’s good-natured smile and Christa’s bubbling laugh create a warm atmosphere, as their dog, Star, runs around excitedly. In a few months, they will mark their one-year anniversary as homeowners—an anniversary that is cause for celebration as neither Rick nor Christa thought they would ever own a home.
When Rick awoke from his coma, he had traumatic brain injuries, paralysis on his right side, and a weakened short term memory. While he faced a long road to recovery, Rick was determined to move forward with his life. He moved in with his mom while undergoing physical therapy, and as he regained his independence, his first goal was to get a job. After finding a position at Rite Aid, Rick moved onto his next goal: living on his own. He soon found an apartment in Huntersville. In his spare time, Rick also began sharing the story of his accident by giving speeches at local schools.
It was during one of these speeches at the Carolinas College of Health Sciences that Rick first learned of the Davidson Housing Coalition. Before walking on stage, he had been chatting with a woman about how he was looking for a new place to live, somewhere with a greater sense of community. After his speech, the woman came running up to him with information about DHC, and the new apartments being built on Mock Circle. In 2012, Rick became the first resident of the newly built Unit 114 at Creekside Corner.
Shortly after moving to Creekside Corner, Rick met Christa. They began dating, and were engaged within six months. They decided to move in together, but stayed at Creekside Corner, moving from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom unit. The couple was married in 2015.
Before meeting Rick, Christa had been renting a house in Mooresville with a friend, and working at Carolinas Healthcare. She thought she would only live in the house for six months, but had been living there for almost four years. Moving into an apartment with Rick felt comfortable, but the prospect of buying a home? “I never thought I would ever own a house, you know?” Christa said when asked. “We had our own apartment, and I had been living in apartments, but owning a house was something I never ever thought would be possible.”
In 2016, Rick and Christa began meeting with Gail, DHC’s Financial Literacy Counselor, to review their finances. Christa and Gail met one on one for almost a year, working to improve Christa’s credit and to refinance her student debt. With Christa’s credit improving, Rick and Christa met with Gail again as a couple to explore their housing options. With Rick working in Huntersville and Christa working in Davidson, they hoped to stay in the area. However, although Rick and Christa both work full-time, they didn’t think that they earned enough to afford a home. “It was Gail who brought to our attention that we could afford a house,” said Rick. The Volkers were eligible both for the Town of Davidson’s Affordable Housing program and for the Town’s Down Payment Assistance program. When a home became available through DHC’s land-lease program in April 2017, Rick and Christa felt ready to take the leap.
The Volkers closed on their new home in August 2017. While the move down the street was easy, the first year of homeownership has come with its own set of challenges. The couple has learned how to keep their pipes from freezing in the winter, and who to call when water mysteriously pools in the kitchen. However, the challenges have also come with rewards. Rick and Christa beautifully renovated their kitchen space, putting in new counters and cabinets. They also recently purchased a patio table and chairs as Rick has plans to finish their back porch. They look forward to becoming more involved in the community through volunteer work. Above all, they are excited to continue making their house a home as the Volkers plan to stay here as long as possible.
The Davidson Housing Coalition is seeking a volunteer to assist with our Homebuyer Education and Financial Literacy program. This is an ongoing opportunity to make a big impact on a small non-profit. In addition to being within walking or biking distance of downtown Davidson, we have a friendly, hard-working staff.
The volunteer would work closely with our program counselor to maintain client records, enter data, produce weekly reports, and provide general organizational assistance as needed. If you are interested in community development or affordable housing, this volunteer position would be a great fit!
We are looking for a weekly time commitment of 2-3 hours. Hours are flexible for Monday through Thursday. If interested, please contact Gail Brooks-Lemkin at [email protected], or call the DHC office at (704) 892-4486.