Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could own a home, even if you struggled with a low income? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could guarantee your children had a roof over their heads, in a home that you could call your own? It’s not just a dream come true, it’s a reality for thousands of people across the United States. For them, they have more than a house: they have a home to call their own, all at an affordable price and with a mortgage that can guarantee they build equity over time.
For these families, they’ve had the help of a non-profit that has brought smiles and stability to thousands of families, at no cost to them, except for a little bit of labor. The non-profit organization that’s responsible for housing thousands of families is called Habitat for Humanity, and they’ve been helping people in every state from California to the bustling state of New York.
Who Is Habitat for Humanity?
If you’re wondering about Habitat for Humanity and its history, it’s a non-profit organization that offers people with low- or moderate-income a chance to buy a home with an affordable mortgage.
Habitat for Humanity partners with government agencies and philanthropic donors to build these homes at no cost to the homeowner. Habitat for Humanity has a vision for the world which involves everyone having a decent place to live. If you’re wondering about Habitat for Humanity and its mission goals, they are as follows:
- Demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ
- Focus on shelter
- Advocate for affordable housing
- Promote dignity and hope
- Support sustainable and transformative development
Habitat for Humanity does not force the people they help to convert to any sort of religion. However, it does encourage communities to unite and donate to Habitat for Humanity, in addition to helping those in the community. Catholic charities, Christian charities, and even Muslim charities are all great ways to donate to different religious communities if you’re interested in supporting Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to get involved and help your neighbors.
History of Habitat for Humanity
A story about Habitat for Humanity and its history: it began in Koinonia Farm, a community farm outside of Americus, Georgia, which was founded by Clarence Jordan, a farmer and a biblical scholar. On the Koinonia Farm, the eventual founders of Habitat for Humanity, Millard and Linda Fuller, developed the idea of “partnership housing,” which is still used for Habitat for Humanity today. In partnership housing, those in need of homes partner with their community and home builders to construct a home that’s build for no profit. This home, through generous donations and help from those at Habitat for Humanity, is paid off through a no-interest home loan mortgage. The fund to build these homes is then used again and again to build more homes.
The first people to acquire a home from Habitat for Humanity were Beau, Emma, and their five children. The family moved into their new home that, with the help of general plumbing services, had a modern kitchen, indoor bathroom, and heating system to help keep them warm. Unfortunately, it was a life neither Beau, Emma, or their children had known, as they were lived in a shack before being helped by Habitat for Humanity. The change they underwent was so dramatic, it inspired the Fullers to take their idea to Africa in 1973, in the now modern-day Democratic Republic of Congo.
After three years of beginning their home-building program out there, they were able to return to the United States and launch their dream non-profit, Habitat for Humanity International, in 1976.
Help Along the Way
Through the help of government agencies, the help of former President Carter, and thousands of people who donated to Habitat for Humanity, the organization was able to spread its efforts and help people in not just all 50 states in America, but 70 countries worldwide! If you’d like to know about Habitat for Humanity now, it’s run by their CEO Jonathan Reckford, who is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Stanford University where he received his Masters in Business Administration. Jonathan Reckford is a great fit for Habitat for Humanity, as he held executive and managerial positions at Goldman Sachs, Marriott, The Walt Disney Co., and Best Buy. When he lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he was executive pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church and was finally recruited to be the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, where he’s been able to help the non-profit continue to house thousands of families.
Want to learn more about Habitat for Humanity and its shareholder agreements and partners? They have been able to partner with companies to help not just with financial donations, but also with renovations of the home itself. Some of these companies include Wienerberger AG, which has partnered with Habitat since 2012. It has helped those receiving services from Habitat for Humanity by providing bricks, roof tiles, financial support, and employee volunteers that provided services such as residential siding installation. Other companies include The Swiss Capacity Building Facility (SCBF), Majid Al Futtaim Properties, and Proman natural gas just to name a few.
Why Homes Are Important
There’s no better way to build equity and financial freedom than to own a home instead of pay rent. When someone owns a home, they’re able to pay into an asset that is fully theirs, and if they are thinking about selling a home, they can profit off of this sale as well. The sooner someone buys a home, the better it is, as housing costs especially in the United States are increasing every year. A home that was worth $300,000 10 years ago is now worth $500,000, giving the homeowner a profit of $200,000 once they sell their home. This is an example of how time and years are vital for homeowners to take full advantage of their property.
For the homeowners of a Habitat for Humanity property, not only are they able to sell their property over time if they want, but they also free up income that is vital for them to get ahead. According to the Habitat for Humanity website, one in three families pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs! One in six pay more than half in housing costs, which leaves only little to spend on things such as transportation, education, and even food.
With affordable housing, such as housing provided by Habitat for Humanity, not only are families more stable, confident, and secure, their emotional and even physical health also improves. In addition, once homeowners are able to pay for education, they can open up more opportunities for work and their career that can permanently help them rise out of poverty and provide a better life for their families.
Housing in America
The housing crisis in America is one that is keeping families unable to afford homes and even rent an apartment. Not only is owning a home expensive in the United States, but also the maintenance when first purchasing a home. Luckily, Habitat for Humanity is able to provide residential and industrial roofing contractors, building contractors, and other professionals to help ensure a Habitat for Humanity home doesn’t have structural issues that can cost families thousands of dollars in repairs.
Certain states are hit harder by the housing crisis and sky-high housing and rent costs. One of these states is New York State, whose population is about 19 million people. That leaves a lot of competition for affordable and adequate housing in the state. In addition, the situation in New York City itself is even more dire. According to the website Zillow, rent in Manhattan, a borough of New York City, is around $3,500 per month. The rest of New York City isn’t any better, with rent still being just under $3,000 per month for an apartment. The square footage of the average apartment in New York City is incredibly small, with 700 square feet available on average. The high cost and small space makes it difficult for families to be able to afford to live comfortably in the Big Apple.
If you’re wondering about Habitat for Humanity and what they’ve done to help New York City, they’ve started to help thousands of New Yorkers through their branch, Habitat for Humanity New York City. About Habitat for Humanity and some of their numbers in New York City, they’ve helped 1,800 families achieve affordable housing since 1984, and continue to do so even to this day. New York City is full of volunteers that have offered help to Habitat for Humanity through roof cleaning service, building, and landscaping for new homes. In 2019 alone, over 34,000 volunteer hours were served by people doing just that! The love in New York City is incredible, and continues to today during the pandemic.
COVID-19 and New York
Unfortunately, New York City was one of the worst-hit places during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 27,000 people died, 643,000 were infected, and hundreds of small business owners lost their business due to the shutdown caused by the pandemic. Because of this, Habitat for Humanity continues to understand the importance of housing, now more than ever, and continues to reopen its various branches as the pandemic restrictions ease up and allow more people and communities to gather and build homes again.
Even with the pandemic, if you’re wondering about Habitat for Humanity and their selfless actions, look no further than their donation to local hospitals in New York City and around the United States during the height of the pandemic. Local Habitat affiliates throughout the United States have donated more than 215,000 masks, respirators, and face shields and nearly 25,000 personal protective gowns to health care providers. Though these face masks and equipment are usually used during the home-building process, they can also be used by medical professionals, which is why they were donated during this trying time.
Helping New York City
If you’re wondering about Habitat for Humanity in NYC and whose been helping them, they have many corporate sponsors that have aided them both during the pandemic and before. For instance, ConEdison, which helps power home air conditioning service inside of homes all over NYC and is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the United States, is a partner of Habitat for Humanity in New York City. Their other sponsors and partners include QBE, an insurance company, Bank of America, and Delta Airlines just to name a few.
What about Habitat for Humanity helping others in New York City through programs besides housing? In New York City, they do just that! One of the greatest things about Habitat for Humanity in NYC is that it is a women-led organization, and in fact, 80% of recipients of homes are single mothers who are head-of-households. In addition, Habitat for Humanity NYC also helps people abroad. Habitat NYC leads annual volunteer trips to build abroad in areas of need, including recent trips to the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. In addition, through the help of landscapers, local surveying service, and home builders, Habitat for Humanity New York City has been able to create a sustainability program. Habitat for Humanity NYC is dedicated to building greener, sustainable, affordable homes through Habitat NYC ReStore, and their Housing Preservation Program.
How You Can Help
Habitat for Humanity still has many more families that are in desperate need of services. Through the help of corporate sponsors, they have been able to have the funds needed to help build homes for thousands of families not just in New York, but around the world. However, you don’t have to be a big corporation to help. Volunteering to build homes, and even offering a small donation, are good enough to help you be part of the organization, and help play a part in bringing stability and success to a family in need.