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Howard-Navarro Homes Get the Royal Treatment

(from left to right) Salia Baligh, Sahanna Rajinikanthan, Michelle Cortez-Peralta, Bella Ballard, Zoe Denoncourt, Uma Wittenberg, Adrian Crick.

The Howard-Navarro homes received royal treatment on Saturday, November 12th, when the Tournament of Roses 2023 Royal Court participated in a volunteer day.

When Michelle, Royal Court Princess, walked onto the property, she had a sense of familiarity. Growing up, her family lived on Navarro and would come to this site when it was a community garden.

“I remember we used to plant vegetables here,” Michelle said pointing to the house site. “It is amazing that I’m here again, but this time engaging in a hands-on way helping complete these homes for 2 families,” she said with gratification.

Michelle concentrating on the details

This year’s Tournament of Roses theme is “Turning the Corner.” It is described by the President of the Tournament of Roses, Amy Wainscott, as a theme that can have a different meaning based on personal experience.

“For some, it can mean putting difficult times behind them, said Wainscott. “For others it can represent the unlimited potential that each new year brings. It can address a significant challenge that was overcome or achieving a new goal.”

At SGV Habitat, “Turning the Corner” has incredible significance, not only for the Howard-Navarro property, but for the two families that will soon call this home.

These homes sit on the corner of Howard and Navarro, which once was the location of a liquor store that burned down 2 times and was a magnet for less than desirable neighborhood activity. Thereafter, it became a community garden, which eventually dissipated. When SGV Habitat began construction it became a symbol in the community, turning the corner of past memories, and creating an environment of community support. Neighbors come by regularly offering words of kindness and food and beverages for staff and volunteers. Vincent, a talented craftsman, and resident in the neighborhood, even built and donated the exterior doors to the homes. Each week volunteers show up to work on the home, some returning regularly and have worked on the project from the raising of the first walls.

Rene, who is now one of the homeowners, is a veteran in the US Army. His family of 5 has lived in a one-bedroom apartment for 20 years. He has been volunteering 2-3 days a week since July on the Howard-Navarro homes before he even knew he would one day be the new homeowner. (Part of the pathway to homeownership program requires participants to put in volunteer hours, which we call sweat equity.) Learning that he would own one of the Howard-Navarro homes was his own “Turning the Corner” moment that leaves him with tremendous gratitude.

“My family and I are very grateful to SGV Habitat for this opportunity,” Rene said. “It is a life changing moment. We are thankful to everyone for making this happen. As a veteran, I can’t say enough about how much this helps. There are so many veterans that need support. I encourage people to give to Habitat, so others can benefit from this program,” he continued with earnest.

“It is a great feeling, knowing we are working on a veteran’s home, who served our country, and now, we are able to serve him,” said Michelle, Royal Court Princess.

The young ladies of the 2023 Royal Court are an inspiration for our youth who wish to volunteer in their community. We are grateful for their participation. For more information about our youth partnership program visit https://sgvhabitat.org/youth-partnerships/ or contact Sophia Cruz at scruz@sgvhabitat.org

We look forward to seeing these accomplished, warm and kind-hearted ladies of the royal court represent Pasadena on January 2nd 2023 at the Tournament of Roses Parade and to seeing our homeowners move into their new homes in the coming weeks.

Uma, Michelle and Bella

 

100 Beams of Gratitude as Habitat Approaches the 100th Home Repair

Most people are familiar with Habitat for Humanity’s mission to partner with families to achieve affordable housing.  It may come as a surprise to some, that Habitat for Humanity also repairs homes, addressing housing inadequacy among homeowners with limited resources.  The Critical Home Repair Program helps ease health and safety issues while often increasing the quality of life in the home. We are proud to announce that we are approaching 100 households whose homes we have repaired, many of whom are retired, veterans and single parents.

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans between 50 and 80 years of age, said it’s important to remain in their homes as they grow older, a study from the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging found. Financial and health issues often make it difficult for the elderly to address home repairs.  For many people, maintaining a sense of independence by remaining in their home and community enables older adults to improve the quality of life. The New York Times reported that many older adults have a strong desire to maintain connections to their community and their friends.  Moving from their home and community would cause a disruption to their life, disconnecting them from their friends and familiar surroundings. When older adults are surrounded by familiarity, routine, friendships, and an active social life, it can help prevent dementia and ailing health issues leading to a higher quality of life.

Thanks to the Critical Home Repair Program, we are helping elderly in our community age in place.  Liz, a vibrant, 81-year-old Pasadena resident, lives in a 1930’s bungalow on a fixed income. Liz was recently faced with several repairs she was unable to afford. This past summer was exceptionally hot and extremely dangerous for Liz when her air conditioning/heating unit broke.  That repair, coupled with the pipes bursting in her only bathroom, created a serious living hazard.  She was incredibly grateful to the Critical Home Repair team that addressed her with dignity and her repairs with efficiency.

Other types of programs have a feeling of judgement towards the applicant, questioning the recipient as if they have done something wrong in their life to require help,” Liz explained.  “SGV Habitat was positive, uplifting, and partnered with me throughout the entire repair process. The attitude I felt from SGV Habitat was, ‘let’s help this person live a happy vibrant life’,” Liz said.   Liz shared that the repairs to her house eased her stress, and allowed her to refocus on living her life, focus on her part-time business, and plan for her next personal adventure.

Manuel, 80, was enjoying his retirement years living in Duarte.  In the past year, he faced difficulty with

Manuel, homeowner

the loss of a cherished relationship and his beloved dog, who was his daily companion for 20 years. The challenges he faced kept him secluded inside his home, with little desire to do the activities he once enjoyed.  His home for more than 30 years was showing significant signs of disrepair; with floors that were splintering and warping, and a leak that created a gaping hole in his bathroom and garage—all creating an unhealthy environment, compressing his emotional well-being.

When he received the news that SGV Habitat would begin repairing his home, the darkness that had constricted him was brightened with a renewed sense of hope. He started once again enjoying the community of Duarte, attending concerts every week in the park. “I felt like I was in high school again,” Manuel exclaimed.  He began to visit the senior center regularly, making new friends. He now has pride in his home. Instead of closing himself up, he opens his doors and welcomes friends over for lunch.

“SGV Habitat did more than fix my father’s home. They uplifted his spirits and gave him a fresh outlook on life. Habitat renewed his faith in humanity,” Anna Lisa, Manuel’s daughter, shared with tears in her eyes.

“If the Red Cross is for healing people, Habitat for Humanity is for fixing and building communities.  They upgrade the quality of life. I love Habitat,” Manuel said earnestly.

Liz and Manuel expressed to SGV Habitat a sense of relief knowing that they had a team of experts on their side, not only uplifting their home, but their spirts as well.  Uplifting spirts is exactly what homeowner Xochitl felt when she was introduced to our home repair team. Xochtil, is the mother of two children, Daisy (17) and Robert Jr. (13).  Last year the family suffered a tragedy. Robert, Xochitl’s husband and father to Daisy and Robert Jr. passed away after battling an illness. Xochitl, who was a stay-at-home mom, was now faced with managing so much more than just the household and the children’s busy schedules.  Her husband was the main income earner, and Xochitl contributed with a small baking business. Several of the repairs needed in the home, were in the kitchen.  With her kitchen finished, free from dangerous electrical issues, Xochitl feels energized to expand her baking business, allowing her to provide for her family contributing to their long-term stability.

This multi-faceted home repair project had a significant emotional impact on Xochitl. “I cry every day in gratitude for the generosity of Habitat staff, donors and volunteers,” Xochitl’s said with tears. “It has been so difficult with Robert gone, he took care of all of the repairs to our house and our hearts, we will always miss him, but now we have hope that things will be ok,” she said.

Xochitl, homeowner

Imagine for a moment, your circumstances find you in a place where you are faced with serious repairs on your home with little financial means to address the repairs.   Think about your beloved parents, or grandparents facing the same situation. When you have navigated life to afford a home, raised a family, focused on your life aspirations, worrying about costly critical repairs can be a stressful disruption causing pressures leading to deficiencies in health and mental well-being.

As with all our programs, SGV Habitat offers a hand-up, rather than a hand-out to our qualifying home repair partners, requiring them to pay a portion of their home repair based on income and repair costs.

Your support in offering families a hand-up is much appreciated and needed in this time of soaring costs.  For more information on how you can uplift families by supporting our Critical Home Repair Program, please visit www.sgvhabitat.org

Liz, Manuel, Xochitl, and our almost 100 home repair families, as well as our future homeowners, say, “Thank You.”

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Owning a Home and Tips to Get You There

Have you ever dreamed of owning a home, but think the idea of saving and preparing for homeownership is too daunting?  Can you visualize yourself in your new home relaxing with a beverage on your porch?  SGV Habitat has been helping families achieve the dream of homeownership since 1990.

Our vision is a San Gabriel Valley and a world where everyone has a decent place to live.  We continue our work toward this goal through our homeownership program, our critical home repair program, donations to our Restore, our Cars for Homes program, volunteers, and donations made by individuals, corporations, and community partnerships.

At SGV Habitat  we “partner with homebuyers on their path to homeownership.  Every approved homebuyer in our program, participates in our Homebuyer Education Program (HBE) designed to promote knowledge, stability, and self-sufficiency in preparation for the home buying process.  The information provided to our homebuyers, is beneficial for anyone who is planning on purchasing a home. These are useful tips that can help prepare you for a future as a homeowner. 

Our HBE program include topics such as:

  • Saving and budgeting
  • Managing and improving credit
  • Homeowner responsibilities and home maintenance
  • Loan closing and escrow preparations
  • Strategies for saving for a down payment for a house, and eliminating debt
  • Preparing for major home repairs
  • Tax benefits of homeownership

Educating yourself in preparation of homeownership can have long-term benefits. This can diminish the inevitable bumps in the road that most homeowners face and will prepare you for advantages like wealth management and long-term savings.  HUD (Housing and Urban Development) offers many on-line education programs.  For more information on these programs you can visit: https://www.hud.gov/states/california/homeownership/eduprgms

SAVING 

Homeownership often begins with saving. The first step to savings is to evaluate your budget.  Figure out all your expenses—ALL your expenses—that means even your drive-thru specialty coffee drink! This can be done simply with a pen to paper, excel spreadsheet or free online spending trackers.  It is important that you include “savings” in your budget.

Photo Credit: Micheiledotcom

 Financial experts recommend saving approximately 20% of your income.  One of the most proven ways to save, is to have money withdrawn from your check each month and transferred into a savings account.  Over time you may be amazed at how much money you can save.  If you have a specific amount of money you wish to save, there are free on-line calculators that can help you determine how much money you need to save every month to achieve your  goal.  For example, if you currently have $500 in a savings account and wish to save $5,000 over a 2-year period, you will need to deposit $183.00 each month to hit your target goal.  With an interest rate of 2% you will have earned about $100 in interest –that’s added free money! 

TAX BENEFITS OF HOMEOWNERSHIP 

Using a house to save on your overall tax burden is one of the many benefits of homeownership. California tax law allows homeowners to deduct a portion of their property tax and their mortgage interest on the home loan.  Consult a CPA for details on the most updated tax law.

Photo Credit: Kostiantyn Li

BENEFITS OF PAYING A MORTGAGE VS PAYING RENT

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, California has the 2nd highest median rent in the United States.  With each year, rents are rising at unprecedented numbers. When you pay a mortgage, instead of rent, you are investing in an asset, building your personal wealth. 

Often renters have no control over rent increases. As a homeowner, you have opportunities to obtain a fixed rate monthly payment.  If interest rates drop below the initial term of the loan, refinancing can be available to further reduce the homeowner’s monthly payment adding more financial wealth and freedom. 

According to the Federal Reserve’s 2020 Survey of Consumer Finances, homeowners have a net worth that is 40 times greater than their renter counterparts, reinforcing the idea that owning a home is the path to financial stability.  At SGV Habitat we provide families a hand up toward their dream of homeownership. While we do not have any openings in our program right now, you can visit our homeownership section on our website to see the qualifying parameters of our program. Following these tips will help you on the path to apply for our program, or other home buying opportunities, when they become available.   

For updated information about our homeownership program, sign-up for our newsletter here: https://bit.ly/3tRpTXu  and follow us on our social media platforms.

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The Benefits of Quality Family Time

Photo Credit Marian Grabowski

 

We have all seen the family sitting around a table at a restaurant, each one laser focused on their smart phones. We have all been guilty at some point or another of allowing  distractions to pull our attention away from our family.

On September 26th we recognize National Family Day  as a reminder to become more engaged with our family members and discover new activities or participate in favorite family interactive past times. The day promotes the benefits of communication, loving, and nurturing of the family unit which develops strong bonds.   The four walls and roof that we build as partners with our Habitat families, is the structure that often changes the dynamic and growth of a family resulting in better lives, and creating more opportunities for time spent together in an environment that is uplifting.

April and her daughters

Worrying over spending time with family is something new homeowner April experienced when she was facing another rent increase.  April is a working single mom of 3 children who have busy schedules.  As she faced her rent increasing, year after year, April was on the verge of seeking a second job to cover the rise in costs.

The sacrifice of April’s time away from her children, caused her an incredible amount of stress. It would not only mean less time April would spend with her children, but it also would mean less activities the children could experience.  Fortunately, April qualified for SGV Habitat’s first-time homebuyer program and was able to purchase a home.  She now experiences a more balanced life free from the anxiety that her rent will continue to increase.  The financial stability means that April can now dream of putting money aside for her daughters’ education.

Spending time with family has advantages beyond the smiles and memories made. A recent study by the University of Massachusetts indicated that families that ate meals regularly together, had teens that were less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs.  When families spend time together, children are more confident, they become more adaptable and resilient, and have overall better health.  The health benefits continue especially when families spend time together outdoors, such as playing in a park, gardening, or riding a bike.

Future Habitat homeowner, Malissa was asked what is one of the first things she is planning on doing when she moves into her new home, she said, “create a garden with my children.” Currently, Malissa and her children live in a 2-bedroom apartment with no outdoor space.  In her new home she will have a yard where she plans to grow vegetables with her 3 children. “I always wanted a garden but growing up in an apartment, we never had the outdoor space,” Malissa said.

Hannah with her family

If you are blessed to have a family, traditional, or one that is designed by you, the benefits of time spent together is immeasurable and has long term benefits in overall happiness and reduction of stress.  Studies show that time spent with family creating memories is far more important than monetary gifts.  This sentiment was expressed recently when SGV Habitat spoke with new homeowner Hannah.  She was recently able to purchase her childhood home with her husband and parents, through the SGV Habitat homeownership program.

She shared with us the memories she has of her family’s barbecues in the backyard enjoying life’s celebrations.  She remembers the neighborhood getting together in the evening, with her friends riding their bikes up and down the street. “I have the best memories from my childhood and now thanks to SGV Habitat, I am able to raise my children in the same house where I grew up and give them the same quality childhood that I had.” Hannah said.

Isabel and her family

For 30 years Habitat homeowners, Norma and Raul lived in the same community with their 4 daughters in Pasadena.   The family is close knit spending quality time together and helping take care of elderly parents and grandchildren who all live nearby.  When Norma and Raul learned that the owner of their home was selling the property, they were worried about what would happen to their family.  There was talk of moving to a distant city that was more affordable, breaking up the family ties, uprooting the children from their schools and friendships, and losing their space as several family member would now need to live in a smaller home together. They felt as though they were drowning in the anxiety and stress of the situation.  “When we learned about the Habitat program, and applied, and were accepted, we felt as though the hand of God pulled us from the storm,” Isabel, daughter of Norma and Raul said.  “It was such a relief knowing that my parents could purchase the home and stay in the community near family, friends and a support system as they aged,” Isabel explained.

As we acknowledge National Family Day, SGV Habitat understands it is not just the structure that improves the lives of these families.  Owning an affordable home means these families have one less burden, enabling them to feel a sense of freedom, to enjoy time with their families. It allows parents to save more money for family outings, use their money for activities for their children, and create a more stable life embedded in self-reliance, stability and better health.

We asked our homeowners their favorite activities to do as a family in their new home. We hope this list will spark some fun for your family on National Family Day and throughout the year.

Photo by Adam Sherez

  1. Bake together
  2. Visit a local park/hiking trail
  3. Go fishing
  4. Make a special family dinner together
  5. Plan a staycation together each family member contributing an activity
  6. Have a backyard overnight
  7. Go bike riding
  8. Plant a vegetable garden
  9. Walk the dog together
  10. Family game night

How will you spend National Family Day?

 

We Build Strength, Stability and Self-Reliance Through Shelter

Each September, National Preparedness Month encourages and reminds Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities.

As an organization who is known for showing up after disaster strikes. As a nonprofit who helps families find safety in homeownership. As a group who builds safety, stability and self-reliance through shelter, we think this month is important!

Nobody wants to think about what will happen when a major event strikes their community.  An emergency can happen at any moment. Just like we prepare our future homeowners through homebuyer education – we want to help you – our loyal supporters be ready.

To reduce the stress in the event of a major disaster,  it is advised to have a plan, and be prepared with safety kits.

Start with identifying what type of disasters are most likely to occur in your area.  For example, if you live in a fire hazard, flood zone or for most people living in California, the dreaded earthquake. Once you know what could come your way, have a family meeting explaining what to do when an emergency arises.

For children, it is especially important for them to know what to do if they can’t get to you. One situation where this could occur is a house fire.  Review fire safety procedures, show children the safest exit out of the home, and identify a safe place (like a neighbors house) to meet other family members.  Make sure everyone knows how to turn off the electricity, gas and the water.

The government has an Emergency Alert System that people can sign up for to be notified when there is an emergency in their area. You can sign up here https://www.ready.gov/alerts.

Photo by Cullan Smith

This month is a great time to build an emergency kit.  Start with items you may already have in your home, like a flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, copies of important documents, water, non-perishable food and extra money. When you go to the grocery store, pick up an extra item that you use regularly. Community food banks are a potential resource for food-insecure families to stock their emergency supply kits. Also consider battery-free supplies, like wind-up flashlights and weather radios, and it’s also a good idea to have an external phone charger at the ready in case of a power outage. Consider making an extra emergency kit for your car. Include additional items such as a pair of athletic shoes, and blankets.

Store important documents and information in a safe place. Items like passports, birth certificates, maps and electronics should be put in a secure location and in a container that is fire and waterproof. Store important documents like insurance policies digitally. Make sure you put important phone numbers somewhere besides your cell phone.

Photo by Huanshi

Verify your home is fully insured for the disaster risks in your area. Talk to your insurance agent to ensure there are no gaps in your coverage. If you are a renter, look into “renter’s insurance” that covers lost liability of your property.  Even if the landlord holds home insurance, it does not cover the renter’s personal property. Depending on the policy, renter’s insurance can cover the cost of replacing belongings, such as clothing, furniture, and electronics as well as additional costs that the tenant could occur, such as hotel bills if the residence is damaged or has to be evacuated.

If you are on medication that is life sustaining, talk to your doctor about how to keep extra required dosages on hand in case you are away from your home and unable to access your medication in a timely manner.

For more information on creating your family’s preparedness plan, visit resources in your community such as your local fire department and Red Cross center. You can also visit https://www.fema.gov to access more preparedness information.

What Will Be Your Legacy

August is “What Will Be Your Legacy” month.  Legacy is most thought of as money or personal property that is left to someone else.

Donors, Grace & Margaret. Grace, pictured on the left recently passed away. May her memory be a blessing

Recently, SGV Habitat hosted a donor event with several members of our Legacy Society. Many of these donors have made a promissory note to include SGV Habitat in their will.  Legacy donations can range from allocating savings, stocks, and personal items such as artwork, automobiles, or homes to SGV Habitat.  The contributions these donors make have a powerful and soaring impact on the development of affordable homes in our community.

“SGV Habitat for Humanity’s Legacy Society provides us with an opportunity to share our resources for the greater good. To continue helping families at the end of our lives by means of our will is our last gesture of solidarity with those in need of decent housing,” Grace and Margaret, SGV Habitat Legacy Society Members shared.

One of our most recognized Legacy Society donors, was Charles Rouchka, (Uncle Charlie).  His legacy will be remembered through the lives of 3 veterans whose homes in the SGV Habitat Desiderio community were funded by the sale of Rouchka’s home. Uncle Charlie served in the Navy in WWII, and his desire was to help improve the lives of other veterans.  Uncle Charlie’s legacy extends to future generations who will gain substantial stability due to the selflessness of a person they did not know.

Statue of Charlie Rouchka, created by actor and artist Daniel Stern

A statue in memory of Charles Rouchka and the bike he was known for riding around town, was erected in the common community garden at Desiderio.

SGV Habitat is grateful to our Legacy Society Members and all of our donors.  Their desire to contribute to our mission of creating a community where everyone has a decent place to live, was reinforced recently at the build site of 2 homes located at the corner of Howard and Navarro in Pasadena.  Here, members heard the stories of two future homeowners who will be moving into their new homes by the end of 2022.

Donors, future homeowners, and Habitat staff celebrate the progress at Howard Navarro

Every day we have the opportunity to leave a legacy through our actions. We don’t need a portfolio to have a lasting impact.  When we serve as outstanding role models for our children, we leave a legacy. When we volunteer to uplift someone else’s life, we leave a legacy. When we serve in a profession that changes lives, we leave a legacy.  We all have the ability to make an impact and improve this world for the better.

What will your legacy be?

For more information on joining the Legacy Society, please contact our Donor Care Manger, Paul at paulv@sgvhabitat.org or 626.340.2280 Ext.116

What We Build

August 17th is National Non-Profit Day. This day celebrates the contributions of non-profit organizations to our community.  On this day, SGV Habitat would like to celebrate what we build in our community.

We Build Homes.

Builders’ Club Member Sam

Thanks to the generous partnerships with our corporate donors, our Builders’ Club monthly donors, individual donations, as well as the hundreds of volunteers who donate their time; affordable housing is becoming a reality for families in our community.  Our current campaign “Expanding the American Dream” is a three-year $28 million campaign that will help 100 families here and abroad, build and repair their own place to call home.  In the month of August, Grifols is matching dollar for dollar every donation, which will tremendously impact our goals to serve 100 families.

 

 

 

 

We Build Safety.

Salihah Says “Thank You!”

Habitat is known for building homes, but we also repair homes in critical need.  When Zuheerah’s daughter Salihah had a stroke, it changed her life forever. She became wheelchair bound, no longer able to access areas of her house.  Stairs and doorways made it impossible to have independence in her own home. Thanks to donors, and volunteers, the Critical Home Repair team widened the doorways and built a ramp outside, designed a wheelchair friendly sink and mirror in the bathroom, as well as modifying their bathtub for easier access. Your generosity helped Salihah feel safer in her own home and regain her independence.

 

We Build Futures.

Xochitl and her children

 

Xochitl’s husband always took care of the repairs to their home in Pasadena. But when he got sick several years ago, he was no longer able to maintain their home, and signs of serious repairs were evident. When he died last year, it left the family devastated with little hope.  Thanks to the support of Lowe’s, our Critical Home Repair team, and our dedicated volunteers, those repairs on Xochitl’s home are being addressed. The biggest repairs needed were in her kitchen. When completed, the kitchen will allow Xochitl to support her family with her baking business. The hole in her heart left by the passing of her husband will always remain. However, she now has hope that she can provide a better future for her children.

 

We Build Stability.

SGV Habitat Homeowners Tamer and Mariese grateful for new beginnings

A family once uprooted from their home country, Tamer and Mariese are now living their American Dream of homeownership thanks to generous donors.  It is an unimaginable thought, fleeing from a hostile country to seek asylum, leaving loved ones and a familiar life for the unfamiliar.  Tamer, Mariese and their two children found freedom in the US but were living in a residence that was not safe or stable. Thanks to donors, such as our Builders’ Club members who donate monthly to SGV Habitat, Tamer and Mariese are now living in a Habitat home, in a safe environment where they can live their best lives. “It is a feeling of peace, a dream come true.” Tamer, homeowner expressed.  Now they are truly living the American Dream.

 

We Build Community.

Through partnerships with faith-based organizations, corporate build days, homebuyer sweat equity hours, and our volunteer program, we build a foundation of community, friendships, and connections.  Community is more about the people building a brighter future for families, than it is about the actual homes we build.  Companies whose employees participate in corporate build days, have expressed a closer connection to their colleagues, and more confidence in skills they didn’t know they had.  Volunteers from of all ages, and backgrounds end their day with a sense of pride, and purpose.  Habitat homeowners become an integral fabric of their community finally feeling a sense of belonging.

SGV Habitat builds more than homes. We build up people; from our homeowners to our donors and volunteers, everyone has a new story to share, that enriches their lives and those around them.

Volunteers building hope for the future

 

This is what we build.

July 4th Celebrates Independence

July 4th celebrates the birthday of America and is celebrated throughout the country with family and friends gathering for barbecues, firework shows and parades.  As we celebrate this significant day when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, we think about our founders affecting change so they could live with freedom, independence, and the pursuit of happiness.

Homeownership is the quintessential American dream. It is a form of independence and freedom that is becoming harder to achieve as home prices continue to soar.  Our history of independence stems from affecting change. Each one of us can affect change when it comes to the affordable housing crisis in San Gabriel Valley. SGV Habitat opens its doors to the community to create opportunities that allow everyone to participate in reaching out a hand to help families move away from the financial burden and stresses associated with renting and realize the dream of homeownership.

Families like Tamer’s. These hard-working parents of 2 young children lived in a cramped apartment in a neighborhood with subpar schools and limited parks for their children to play. Now they live in a home, where each child has their own room and a yard for the children to play in whenever they desire. This is especially helpful to the young boy who has dreams of becoming a soccer player.  He told us he can now practice soccer anytime he wants, in his own backyard.

The father, Tamer, expressed his feelings about his house with these words, “We no longer worry about how to pay rent, or when our rent will increase. So much time I spent worrying, it consumed my life. Now we have dreams. We are optimistic about the future and do not feel so much pressure. My children have a better life. We are so grateful to SGV Habitat and all the donors.”

As we reflect on our country’s independence and what that means to each of us as individuals, we hope you will remember the words of Tamer. He now has the freedom to create a stable and financially secure life for his family affecting positive change today and for future generations to come. He is one of many in the SGV Habitat family on this July 4th that is living what the founders established for our country, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Wishing you a Happy 4th of July.