Homes of Hope had barely gotten off the ground when the nonprofit lost its sole source of funding, and its founder, Don Oglesby, was forced to work for two years without getting paid.
Oglesby writes about this journey in his book, “Still Desperate in the Promised Land,” which is now available on Amazon.
“Our story is one worth hearing,” Oglesby says. “For 23 years, I’ve been sharing it verbally with interested people — volunteers, board members, staff members, clients — and it always, always resonates because they can all relate to parts of it.”
Greenville-based Homes of Hope is a faith-based nonprofit with a mission that’s twofold: building affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families that are paying too much for their housing or living in substandard housing as well as workforce development for men overcoming addiction. The organization builds 50-75 market-quality, energy-efficient homes across the state each year, according to Oglesby.
“Still Desperate in the Promised Land” covers Homes of Hope’s 23-year history, including how it got its start and all the bumps and milestones along the way.
On the nonprofit’s loss of its only funding source early on, Oglesby says: “We found ourselves in a wilderness spot, and as a faith organization, we understood that that means we really had to depend on God and in a lot of ways be desperate for him to help us.
“So we went through a period of a couple of years where most of us were working for free. I worked for free for two years and the other folks that were in Homes of Hope worked sporadically for free and got paid when we could.”
Ultimately, Oglesby says his book is about Homes of Hope’s faith journey and how it got to where it is today.
“The book is not just the story of how we got started, but 23 years of learning from the experience of getting started and what that faith journey taught us,” Oglesby says.
It was also Oglesby’s first attempt at writing — he worked on the book off and on for over a decade before self-publishing it last month.
“I have to admit, I had butterflies when it went live,” he says. “It’s a little scary when you write a book because when I tell you the story across a cup of coffee, you’re going to forget most of it the next day, but when you write it down, it’s there (forever).”
Pull quote: “The book is not just the story of how we got started, but 23 years of learning from the experience of getting started and what that faith journey taught us.” – Don Oglesby, founder of Homes of Hope