Shea Homes of Charlotte Partners with Opportunity House to Provide Jobs for Locally Unemployed Residents

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by Kelly Moorcroft on November 26, 2013

Opportunity came knocking for Shea Homes of Charlotte, NC, in two ways. One, an opportunity to purchase a distressed neighborhood. Two, a chance to partner with a local non-profit organization, Opportunity House, to clean up the neighborhood while putting local residents back to work.

The first opportunity came in the way of a distressed neighborhood in China Grove, NC formerly named Miller’s Grant. The neighborhood had paved streets and street lamps, but was chained shut and undeveloped when the economy took a turn; it became an eye-sore to the local area. Immediately upon contracting on the neighborhood, the second opportunity arose for Shea Homes to partner with Opportunity House and put a group of unemployed local residents back to work, as landscapers. Their first project was Miller’s Grant, which along with its new look, was given the new name of Miller’s Grove.

Miller’s Grove needed a good clean-up, as weeds and neglect had taken over. Jonathan Steele, local Rowan County resident and Shea Homes’ CFO, immediately thought of partnering with Opportunity House to spruce up the neighborhood while helping local poverty-stricken residents. Jonathan Steele commented, “We have helped Opportunity House in various ways in the past, but we are very excited to be the first customer of Opportunity Houses’ employment initiative, with this landscaping project. Giving a group of local people a second chance and an opportunity to start a new career was a choice we didn’t have to think twice about.  I encourage others in the community to support Opportunity House either through charitable giving or work programs similar to Miller’s Grove.”

Opportunity House of Kannapolis, NC assists local homeless and working poor families. Many of these people live in tents and have not worked in quite a while. Besides providing basic items such as food and clothing, they help people straighten out their lives and get back on track. Their newest initiative is to help people re-enter the work place, especially those who are homeless, in transition, or live in low-income housing.

On October 11, a group of six men met at a local church parking lot as they began their new career as landscapers. Every man had a story. One man related during orientation how he came to Opportunity House a year ago and asked if he could have a pair of shoes. Instead, he was given a pair of boots. Now, the Work Program of Opportunity House has purchased a pair of brand new steel toed boots for him and the team, as they re-entered the workforce as landscapers, working for Shea Homes at Miller’s Grove.

The clean-up process took a few weeks, but when it was finished, six men were able to see what they achieved as a team. Assistant Director at Opportunity House Jeff Mullis commented, “What an incredible opportunity that we have been blessed with to partner with Shea Homes to jump start our work program.  To give these men, who would not ordinarily get a second chance, a part to play in something that is much bigger than themselves. You can see it on their faces, they see purpose and are grateful for the opportunity to steward well, all that is being placed into their hands.  We are so appreciative of Shea Homes for seeing beyond the surface.”

One of the workers explained how he felt about his new job. “Excited and anxious we began our first day together in the Opportunity House Work Program.  Arriving at Miller’s Grove (Shea Homes), we unlocked the cable and pulled in the trucks.  Our days were hard but very satisfying.  We are so grateful for this opportunity. When we join together, nothing is impossible.  We were so proud as the mulch filled the playground and our job was finishing.  Thank you for the Opportunity to rise and grow.”

Shea Homes was so impressed with the performance of these men and the final appearance of Miller’s Grove that they awarded Opportunity House a second contract that is double the size of the first. These men will begin installing new landscaping along Highway 152 of China Grove near the neighborhoods’ two entrances.

Opportunity House is looking for businesses and corporations that are willing to give people second chances, to build relationships with and mentor these employees. For more information, please visit

For more information about Shea Homes and the Miller’s Grove neighborhood, please visit us online at

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