Building Stronger Communities Through the Power of Women
Three events in March recognize the great achievements of women: Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day (March 8th) and the San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity Women Build, These events collectively recognize women who are trailblazers, heroes, and advocates, internationally and in our own communities.
SGV Habitat’s Women Build brings a community of volunteers and corporate sponsors together to help build better futures for low-income families in the San Gabriel Valley.
Women from all walks of life will trade in their “mom hat” “business hat”, or “student hat” for a hard hat. As we remember the women pioneers whose strength and courage contributed to our great nation, we celebrate women in our own community who at Women Build, lift a hammer and their voice to support affordable homeownership opportunities and the need for additional funding for homeownership programs
In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we want to recognize one of the most famous volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, has volunteered alongside her husband since 1984. After the duo volunteered on a Habitat home, they realized their personal values aligned with those of Habitat for Humanity. Soon after their first volunteer experience with Habitat they started The Carter Work Project. This weeklong building blitz which takes place annually, alternating between the United States and internationally, has contributed to securing the stability of homeownership for over 4,300 families. Rosalynn Carter has dedicated her life to serving others in areas such as fighting for decent housing, improving services for mental health, and advocating for women’s rights.
Although women have come a long way since the women’s right movement, there are still barriers in housing equality. Even though women have closed the gap in education, women are paid 83 cents for every dollar a man earns, (according to the U.S. Census Bureau.) This translates to men having more buying power than women. Women could afford 18% more of the housing market if they made as much money as men, (according to Zillow.)
Income disparage means women have more difficulty saving for a down payment than men. Often they sacrifice size of a home and live in less desirable neighborhoods. In addition to lower wages, women often have higher cost burdens than men that affect their debt-to-income ratio. For example, “mom-wage gap” is experienced by single mothers who often bear the financial responsibility of childcare expenses, and the lack of paid time-off for maternity leave.
These factors can lead to women being denied better lending rates. According to The National Association of Realtors, women make more financial sacrifices than men in order to purchase a home. Forty-two percent of women make financial sacrifices compared to 32% of men. Women are also willing to make more sacrifices than men, including cutting spending in areas of entertainment, clothes, and vacations. This highlights the importance that women place on owning a home. Women recognize that owning a home provides long-term financial stability and upward mobility. Studies show that the benefits of owning a home go far beyond improved financial health but also add to increased self-confidence, mental health, physical, and emotional health.
Homeowners take a vested interest in their community creating stronger social ties and community activism. Homeownership raises education outcome in children leading to higher graduation rates.
Women Build and International Women’s Day, calls attention to the need to close the gap, creating a more secure and fair path to homeownership for women. When you advocate for Women Build you are helping women here and internationally, find a better means towards stability through shelter. To build a stronger housing future for women, please consider joining our sponsors in support of a San Gabriel Valley and a world where everyone has a decent place to live. For more information visit our website at www.sgvhabitat.org.
Thank you to our sponsors:
The Phenomenon of Helper’s High
Life is a series of ups and downs. The ebb and flow are a continuous motion that affects our mental and physical state. Anxiety and stress play a huge role in our mental and physical well-being. Unchecked it can lead to serious ailments including high blood pressure, heart disease, daily aches and pains, lack of sleep, stomach issues and more.
This isn’t such good news, until you hear that there is a way to combat anxiety and stress that has a double impact–it helps you and your community.
“Helper’s High” is a phenomenon researchers have coined to explain the positive emotions following service to others by donating money or volunteering. Research from the National Institute of Health found that when individuals donate money, for example, the brain’s mesolimbic system (the reward part of the brain) responds and it releases “feel good” neurotransmitters such as oxytocin (a hormone linked to reducing stress and anxiety; a feel good hormone) and vasopressin (known to regulate blood pressure).
More than a third of Americans experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. In this mental state it may seem counterintuitive to sign up and volunteer. However, people who make that effort to volunteer, experience a boost in their mental health. Studies show that even after volunteering, the thoughts related to the activity of volunteering have residual positive effects.
The news gets even better. WEBMD sited researchers who analyzed data from 40 published papers and found evidence that volunteers had a 20 percent lower risk of death than non-volunteers as well as lower levels of depression and increased life satisfaction. In other words, volunteering with SGV Habitat can lead to a happier life.
The simple act of volunteering or donating money to a good cause has an impact on your happiness and health. It can move you, and your community forward in a positive direction.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace.”
At SGV Habitat, you don’t need to know construction. No experience is necessary. You just need to sign-up and let our passionate staff guide you along the way.
Volunteer opportunities on our construction sites, at our ReStore retail locations, at events, and in our Monrovia office are available.
To learn more about volunteering please visit www.sgvhabitat.org
Questions about volunteering can be directed to Tywanna Hill at 626-709-3265 or contact her at email@example.com.
Female Construction Crew Member Finds Strength in Helping Families
When volunteers work at a San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity (SGV Habitat) construction site, they are greeted with an array of new experiences. With our “no experience necessary policy” many volunteers have never stepped foot on a construction site, however, after working with Haydee Garcia, SGV Habitat’s construction crew member, volunteers quickly feel at ease under her guidance and encouragement.
Haydee represents a small percentage of women that work in construction. Currently, there are only 6.2% of women that work on construction sites in the United States. Haydee is no stranger to working in male dominated industries. Although she has been building homes with SGV Habitat for over 15 years (first as a volunteer and then as a member of the construction team), she has been breaking the gender barrier for much longer.
“I started my career at a young age in law enforcement. “Back then, it was mostly a male dominated profession. I moved up in the ranks as a detective working investigations and was one of the very few women in the investigation’s bureau,” Haydee explains.
After she retired from law enforcement, she decided to explore a new passion—interior design. One of the requirements was to participate in an internship. “I decided to volunteer with Habitat because I wanted to learn what was behind the walls (of a home) so I would have an understanding of what it takes to make the outside beautiful,” Haydee shares.
Although the internship was supposed to be temporary, Haydee quickly realized she loved construction. “I loved getting my hands dirty, working with the volunteers and working outside in the fresh air,” Haydee shares. The courses she took in interior design didn’t go to waste. Haydee is better able to explain the vision of the project and offer insights. Coming from a mostly male dominated profession, she knew she had the tools to inspire other women to do more and achieve their goals, no matter the “traditional” gender roles.
“Because of Haydee’s patience and guidance, I learned how to use a nail gun, how to rip and cut wood and how to use a paint sprayer—things I thought I was not capable of learning,” Natasha, SGV Habitat volunteer said. “I was excited to volunteer because I was looking for a career change and I wanted to see if I liked doing construction—now I know I do. Seeing how skilled and confident Haydee is on the construction site, encourages me to pursue a career in construction,” Natasha continued.
Throughout the years Haydee has inspired many women, some who have considered work in construction, and others who after working with Haydee, felt more confident about making repairs in their own home. “Women should not be intimidated on a construction site. Working on a construction site is not a matter of strength, it is a matter of your mindset,” Haydee shares. “It is how you approach the tasks at hand.”
Volunteers will have the opportunity to work with Haydee at SGV Habitat’s annual event WOMEN BUILD. This empowering event will kick-off with a celebration on March 10th and 11th when community partners gather to build SGV Habitat’s first home in Altadena. WOMEN BUILD is an opportunity for the community to come together to support a family in building an affordable home, which would not be possible without the dedication of volunteers and sponsors. It is also a time to raise awareness for the need of more affordable homeownership opportunities for women locally and around the world.
Over the years Haydee has worked with hundreds of volunteers. She has helped volunteers realize their strength and capabilities. She has worked side by side with future SGV Habitat homeowners creating long term skills, and a foundation of stability where families can thrive. The bonds she has formed with families have remained strong. She has developed friendships with many of them, communicating regularly.
“The most gratifying part of my job is seeing the appreciation from the homeowners. The homeowners who express their gratitude and continue to volunteer on new projects make this job more than just a job, it becomes a passion,” Haydee said with earnest.
In honor of Haydee’s work with SGV Habitat and the community, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf will recognize Haydee on February 15th at 1 p.m. at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Monrovia (702 E. Huntington Dr.) 20% off all proceeds will be donated to SGV Habitat from February 15th– February 21st, 2023.
It’s a Wonderful Life as a Builders’ Club Member
The film “It’s a Wonderful Life” is considered to be one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. The message of family loyalty, doing good for others, the importance of friendship and community, and that in life, it’s ok to accept help from others, are strong themes woven throughout the storyline.
There is another message in the movie that might get overlooked: the preservation of affordable housing. At one point in the movie George Bailey, says to a desperate crowd “Because he (Potter) wants to keep you living in his slums and paying the kind of rent he decides.”
Many families in our homeownership program have shared stories of their poor living conditions previously as renters. Families have expressed landlords that don’t attend to the upkeep of the property, neighborhoods that are unsafe, and rents that are unaffordable with the threat of frequent increases.
As a Builders’ Club member, you are uplifting families that are faced with many challenges while they pursue to dream of homeownership. In LA County the average home sells for close to $800,000 – will your children be able to afford this? This is an unattainable price for most residents in the San Gabriel Valley. When you become a member of the Builders’ Club, you are taking an active role in helping combat the affordable housing crisis by supporting SGV Habitat as we advocate for more affordable homeownership, and you are directly helping families afford safe, and secure housing.
Builders’ Club members serve as leaders and role models for people who want to make an investment in their community and in the lives of hard-working people. When you become a Builders’ Club member you make an impact on families all year long. You offer a hand-up that goes beyond the house itself—you are creating the foundation for a better life, a brighter future, better health, stronger communities, and long-lasting generational benefits.
Builders’ Club members choose the reoccurring monthly donation that they wish to give. With every monthly donation you are altering the trajectory of family’s lives. A better life and a brighter future will become a reality for so many families because of your generous donation.
To make your monthly donation go even further, hundreds of companies match employee’s charitable donations. Check your employee handbook or ask your human resource manager to learn if your company will match your donation.
For more information on how you can join the Club, please click HERE,
STRONG WOMEN, STRONG COMMUNITIES: WOMEN BUILD 2023
A house is more than just shelter. It is the foundation for family unity, a place for celebrations, a location to find solace, and a site that holds our most precious memories.
On March 10th-11th 2023 San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity will host WOMEN BUILD; an annual event that promotes Habitat for Humanity’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
WOMEN BUILD brings a community of volunteers and corporate sponsors together to help build better futures for low-income families in San Gabriel Valley. This three-day event will take place in Altadena – celebrating SGV Habitat’s first new build in this community.
As a participant of WOMEN BUILD you are raising a hammer and your voice in support of more affordable homeownership opportunities in San Gabriel Valley.
When you partner with SGV Habitat, your contribution is hands-on by raising the walls of a new home, but also in our leadership team raising the roof at the state legislature advocating for more substantial funding for affordable homeownership.
It is a startling fact that 60% of renters in LA County cannot afford their rent and even more alarming is that the average home price is over $750,000. One would need to earn approximately $221,000 a year in order to be able to purchase that house. Currently, the average income in the San Gabriel Valley is $86,000.
With your participation in WOMEN BUILD you are calling attention, raising funds, and inspiring change to help more people thrive. Affordable homeownership means, safer communities, long term financial stability, lower incidences of emotional and physical health issues, more community engagement, and less behavioral problems in children as well as higher grades and higher graduation rates.
A house is more than four walls, a house is the foundation that builds a life and a future.
Thank you to our sponsors who help make the dream of homeownership a reality. Your support goes beyond the four walls they help to build. The lasting impact means stability, independence and better health for families in the San Gabriel Valley.
“There’s something very powerful about participating in Women Build. I don’t know if it’s being surrounded by other strong women or if it’s knowing that we’re doing our part to help build a new home– or maybe it’s both. Taking a day to help build a home for a deserving family sets a powerful tone for the rest of the year, like we as women can do anything.” –Cynthia Duarte, 2022 Women Build participant
Time Is Almost Up… to empower more families and get a 2022 tax deduction!
It’s the holiday season of gift-giving, family, friends, and celebrations! It also marks the last few weeks in the year to make a tax-deductible donation to San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity (SGV Habitat).
Donating to SGV Habitat is an excellent tax-saving opportunity available when you itemize on your tax form. Not only does it help families in San Gabriel Valley find a better quality of life through our affordable homeownership and home preservation programs, taxpayers also enjoy tax savings by deducting part or all of their contributions on their tax returns. It is a winning solution for you and the thousands of people in our community dreaming of owning a home of their own. Your donation will change lives!
There are many avenues to give and receive a tax deduction.
WAYS TO GIVE
Cash, check, and credit card donations allow for a generous deduction on your income tax statements. This year individuals can donate up to 50% of their adjusted gross income(AGI) for cash contributions (some limitations exist). Any cash contributions under $250 do not require a receipt from the organization. The federal law requires that if the amount is over $250 written communication confirming the donation is required. We are grateful for every donation and send out tax letters to donors after the first of the year!
When you donate your stock to a nonprofit, the donation value is greater because the gift is tax-deductible. If you were to sell the stock first, you will probably pay the capital gains tax. By donating the stock directly to SGV Habitat you are saving the penalty of capital gains tax and are still eligible to deduct the full fair-market value of the asset you donated from your income tax, (up to the overall amount allowed by the IRS). Please advise a tax accountant as this rule can vary.
DONOR-ADVIDSED FUND (DAF)
A DAF is like a charitable investment account with the direct purpose of supporting organizations you are passionate about. When you contribute either cash, securities, or other assets to a DAF you are eligible to take an immediate tax deduction. You can take the tax deduction in the current year even if the funds are not distributed until later. Those funds can be invested for tax-free growth, and you can recommend grants to any IRS-qualified public charity—like SGV Habitat. DAFs are one of the easiest and most tax-advantageous ways to give to charities. You can set up a DAF with several larger investment organizations. (There are fees associated with holding a DAF.)
HONOR OR MEMORIAL GIFT
This holiday, or any time of year, you can gift a donation in someone’s name to honor their birthday, anniversary, accomplishment, birth or milestone. You can also send a memorial gift of a loved one.
When you donate your vehicle, proceeds go right back to helping families in the San Gabriel Valley build or repair their homes. In addition, your donation will qualify for a tax deduction. Vehicle donations are not limited to just cars. Habitat for Humanity accepts trucks, RVs, motorcycles, boats and construction equipment. Running or not, every vehicle donation makes an impact and helps families gain independence. If you have an unusual vehicle you are interested in donating, call 1-877-277-4344 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s fast and easy through our donation website
The information provided is a brief description of investment opportunities that may allow you to reduce your taxable income while injecting support to the growing crisis of affordable housing in San Gabriel Valley.
Please consult your tax professional to assess if a charitable donation can help you and your community this tax season.
The Corner of New Beginnings
On the corner of Howard and Navarro proudly stands two homes built in partnership with over 750 volunteers; committed city and corporate partnerships; youth groups; faith-based organizations and generous donors. On the morning of December 3rd, the community gathered for a home dedication to celebrate the future homeowners – Johnny, Nely, their three boys and Rene, Elizabeth and their three children.
Years ago, this was the site of a liquor store that attracted undesirable behavior in the neighborhood. After it burned down twice, it was converted into a community garden, which eventually dissipated. When SGV Habitat began construction earlier this year, the corner represented a new beginning for the neighborhood and the two families who will achieve the American Dream of homeownership.
“Everybody thinks about the City of Pasadena as ‘The Rose Bowl’ or ‘The Parade of Roses’—no, it’s about the people. The people are the most important part of our community,” Tyron Hampton, City Council Member Representing District 1, said as he welcomed the families to his district.
That sentiment was seen and felt as close to 100 gathered to acknowledge the achievements of this momentous day. Distinguished volunteers, Bill and Neil, were also recognized for their service by Luis Jimenez, Construction Site Supervisor. Neil is a regular volunteer who contributed over 300 volunteer hours on this project. William (Bill) has been a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity for over 23 years and has dedicated over 8 of those with SGV Habitat.
“These volunteers are dedicated to the mission that everyone deserves an affordable and decent place to live. They are more than volunteers, they are our Habitat family,” Luis said his voice breaking with emotion.
Throughout the construction neighbors have visited the site offering water, food, and kind words to the staff and volunteers. The graciousness of the neighborhood was on display during the dedication with welcoming words and gifts from the neighborhood watch committee.
“In this neighborhood, something special happens–first you become our neighbor; then you become our friend; and then you become our family,” said Carmen Cortez a longtime resident and neighborhood watch leader.
Gift baskets, which included citrus fruits plucked from several neighbor’s trees, were presented to the two families. This fruit represents the heritage of citrus groves that were prevalent in early Pasadena, many of these trees still stand, dating back to the 1800’s. Keeping with this heritage, citrus trees were planted in the yards at Howard and Navarro.
As part of their partnership with SGV Habitat, each of the families have put in hundreds of hours working on these homes. (As part of the homeownership program, homebuyers contribute sweat equity hours – these are required volunteer hours on the construction site, events, at our ReStores or administrative offices.) Rene was volunteering and put in nearly 400 hours on the project before his family knew they had been qualified to purchase this home.
“I was having fun working on the house, meeting the other volunteers, even before I knew that this would be our home. I will still put in hours even after we move in. It is a good feeling to volunteer and help others.” – Rene, future Howard Navarro homeowner
Johnny and his oldest son Angel have worked on the project almost every weekend. Before these families found the homeownership opportunity with Habitat for Humanity, they thought their only option for homeownership was moving away from the communities where they have employment and where their children have grown up and have friends and activities.
Thanks to the support of volunteers, donors, corporate sponsors, city, and state officials, they will thrive in the community they love, with the support system of family and friends.
“We appreciate every one of your prayers written on the beams of this house, those said in silence or spoken together. This has been the most heartfelt experience for my family,” said Johnny, Howard Navarro future homeowner, while thanking the supporters.
The completion of the Howard and Navarro project is part of SGV Habitat for Humanity’s Expanding the American Dream campaign, which will serve 100 families over 3 years through homeownership and home repair.
We wish the families many blessings in their new homes.
Howard-Navarro Homes Get the Royal Treatment
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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