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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.

National Homeownership Month

June is National Homeownership month, promoting the value of owning a home and the organizations that help further the American Dream of homeownership. 

“SGV Habitat is proud to bring opportunities to a families that never would have been able to buy a home on their own. Future homes serve as the first step towards economic independence for the selected first-time homebuyers. We are proud to be part of a transformative journey that will make a difference for generations to come,” says Bryan Wong, SGV Habitat Executive Director.

One of the key benefits of owning a home is the ability to build long-term wealth.Recent data from the Federal Reserve indicates that the net worth of homeowners is over 40 times greater than that of a renter. Research has also shown a correlation between homeownership and increased wealth, with each year of homeownership tending to be associated with an additional $9,500 in net wealth, on average. Think about what you could do with that money!

Many homeowners choose to leverage their housing wealth to finance post-secondary education for their children, especially lower- and moderate-income households. A $10,000 increase in housing wealth raises the probability of college attendance by 14%. According to a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, the independent impact of homeownership combined with its positive impact on the home environment results in the children of owners achieving math scores up to nine percent higher, reading scores up to seven percent higher, and reductions in children’s behavior problems of up to three percent. 

Owning a home fosters a sense of community and stability.

Homeowners are more likely to vote in local elections than renters in comparable neighborhoods.​​​​​​ This leads to safer neighborhoods, stronger schools and reduced crime. 

Beyond the statistics, think about the mental instability renters endure. Leases end, and rents increase pulling dollars away from necessities to cover the cost of increased rent. Renters in many leases are restricted from painting, drilling holes to hang decorations, or having a furry family member to add joy in their life. Renters run the risk that the property will be sold, adding to the stress of finding and funding a new place to live.  

The old adage “owning a home is the American Dream” should be edited in California to “owning an AFFORDABLE home is the American Dream.” Only 23% of Californians could afford to purchase the median cost of a home in California which is $817,950.  

SGV Habitat proudly serves the community by offering eligible low-income families the opportunity for affordable homeownership. By lowering the cost of homeownership, it makes it easier for future homeowners to access quality housing, affordable mortgages, and allows families to invest in the family’s health and wellness and gain net wealth. Information on the application process and eligibility can be found here: 

SGV Habitat is Green.

New SGV Habitat homes are built sustainably using green building techniques, solar panels, and materials that increase the efficiency and durability of the home. Many homes are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, and Energy Star certified.  

Alongside volunteers every SGV Habitat homebuyer contributes “sweat equity” by volunteering hours on a build site (either their home or another family’s home). By participating in building their home as well as their neighbor’s homes, it creates a sense of community and belonging. There is a lot that goes into owning a home besides choosing your color pallet, which is why pre-purchase support programs, such as financial education classes are offered to educate, and to help build networks among Habitat homeowners.  SGV Habitat is also there for the homeowner to help furnish and decorate when shopping their ReStore locations in Duarte and Atwater.  There, homeowners can find new paint, flooring, cabinets, as well as donated furniture, light fixtures, appliances and decor.  

SGV Habitat Offers Low Cost Home Repair

Giving a helping hand to families doesn’t stop at homeownership.  SGV Habitat’s home repair program offers any low-income homeowner an affordable solution to home repair. Depending on need, repairs are made at low cost to the homeowner.  This program is a lifeline to older homeowners, single mothers and veterans. 

You can make a difference

National Old Stuff Day

In honor of National Old Stuff day, let’s talk about our ReStores. Our ReStores are filled with both new and gently used items. Where some may see “old stuff” in our ReStores, others see treasures, possibilities, and potential.

San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity has two ReStores to service 400 square miles, with locations in the city of Duarte and Atwater Village. Our ReStores average 30 residential pickups a week, with two teams of experienced drivers working Tuesday through Saturday throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Although our Atwater Village ReStore is the only site that accepts drop-off donations from the public (hours: 9am to 12pm), both ReStores process donation deliveries twice a day.

There are many reasons why people donate their items. Whether you’re leaving the country, moving to a smaller place, helping to empty an estate, or changing up your aesthetic and ready for new furniture our donation coordinators have heard and seen it all. We accept furniture that is free of any damage, appliances that are fully functioning and under 10 years old, tools in working condition and unused building supplies. Many of our ReStore shoppers know that they will likely find items that are gently used and in need of a new home, at a great low price.

As a non-profit organization that offers a “free” pickup service, sometimes donors want us to pick up their items that are beyond repair. Unfortunately, our resources only allow us to pick up items that are without damage. We do not accept any items with discoloration, rips, tears, damage or pet hair. The items we do pick up go straight to our ReStores for resale, so they need to be purchase ready.

We couldn’t achieve our mission without the generosity of our donors and ReStore shoppers. All proceeds from our ReStores go towards our mission of repairing and building homes throughout San Gabriel Valley -building strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.

If you’re interested in scheduling a donation pickup for your “old stuff,” call our Donation Coordinators at 626-387-6900, email photos to or visit us at


Atwater Village ReStore

5201 W. San Fernando Rd.

Los Angeles, CA 90039

Drop off hours: 9am to 12pm

Store hours: 9am to 5:30pm


Duarte ReStore

2215 Huntington Dr.

Duarte, CA 91010

Store hours: 9:30am to 6pm

Habitat for Humanity’s Most Famous Volunteer

Happy President’s Day to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter 

In celebration of President’s Day, we’d like to acknowledge the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. James (Jimmy) Earl Carter, Jr., has always had a voice for affordable, decent housing for all.  

In March of 1984, President Carter resonated with Habitat’s mission of helping families achieve their dream of homeownership when he jogged by the New York City Habitat build and thought to himself, “Rosalynn and I should come up and give them a hand.” 


His Deep Commitment and Value Alignment 

President Carter and Mrs. Carter realized Habitat’s mission aligned with their values – they understood the need for families to have a stable, affordable foundation to grow. With this, President and Mrs. Carter formed a partnership with Habitat for Humanity and have been building to improve homes through the Jimmy & Rosalyn Carter Work Project. 

Although Carter is most known in the world for his notable accomplishments as the President of the United States, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Governor of Georgia, and more, in Habitat’s world, President Carter is known as our most famous volunteer.  

Over the course of 30 years, President Carter has inspired millions of people in 14 countries while working alongside more than 104,000 Habitat volunteers to build, renovate and repair 4,390 homes.  

“We have the ambition to share some of our good fortune with others,” Carter says. 

 “That’s one of the most difficult things in life: to cross that chasm between well-off people and families that don’t have a decent home. That’s one of the things Habitat has given to us: an ability to share, side by side, building a home with families that have never had a decent place to live.” 

A fact of Carter’s commitment

Carter suffered a fall in his Georgia home that led to 14 stitches and a visibly black eye. Despite his injuries, he traveled to Nashville to help rally volunteers during the 36th Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project with Habitat for Humanity. 

We are honored and grateful for President Carter and Mrs. Carter’s continued partnership and support. You can add to their mission of life-changing work by volunteering, donating, or shopping at San Gabriel Valley Habitat ReStores. 

How Donating a Car Gives Back to the World 

By donating your unused car to San Gabriel Valley Habitat’s car donation program, you can help families in your community and build a more sustainable world. Your car, running or not, makes an impact and helps families gain independence.  

Based on size and materials alone, automotive recycling can go a long way in saving natural resources and our planet. Cars that can be recycled are crushed, shredded, and recycled into steel. Recycling cars keeps a huge amount of steel out of landfills – enough to build nearly 25,000 steel-framed homes every year. According to Auto Alliance, “86 percent of a vehicle’s material content is recycled, reused or used for energy recovery.” The energy saved each year is enough to power approximately 18 million homes! 

Sustainability and Stability 

Cars donated to Habitat are reused for transportation or transported to auto salvage yards where reusable parts are removed. Proceeds from the sale of your donated car will help Habitat families build strength, stability, and self-reliance right here in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond. Our partners at Advanced Remarketing Services also return a higher percentage than any other vehicle processing entity.  

The Benefits of Donating Your Car to Habitat for Humanity 

 Your car donation makes it possible for more families in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond discover the impact of living in a safe and stable home. Running or not, every vehicle makes an impact and creates transformational homeownership opportunities. 

You get a healthy tax write-off! 

After your car has been sold, you will receive a donor acknowledgment letter or receipt to get a tax write-off. Contributions, including vehicle donations, may be claimed as deductions on your federal tax return. The selling price of your donated vehicle determines the amount of your donation. 

It’s an easy 3 step process. 

Donate your car online or by calling 1-877-277-4344. Once you complete the form or call the number, our team will request a Certificate of Title in order to donate your car. When your car is accepted, we will schedule a date and time to pick it up! 

We accept almost all vehicles, including:  

  • Cars 
  • Trucks 
  • Motorcycles 
  • Recreational vehicles 
  • Boats 
  • Snowmobiles 
  • Farm equipment 

It helps the planet and families in your community. 

Old cars can become a sustainable source of income for our Habitat chapter and clean up the neighborhoods in San Gabriel Valley. Saving natural resources, reducing air and water pollution, decreasing energy use, and reusing parts are just some reasons how recycling your car can help the planet. In 2016, an EPA study found that recycling and reuse activities in the United States lead to 757,000 jobs, $36.6 billion in wages and $6.7 billion in tax revenues. 

Here’s What A Donor Just Like You Had to Say About Donating Their Car 

Cars for Homes donor Steve donated his four-door sedan to Habitat after 14 years of faithful service to their family.  

“We are delighted to know that more families will benefit from the over 14-year-old four–door sedan I so proudly purchased so many years ago thanks to my grandmother’s help.” – Steve, Cars for Homes donor 

Through our Cars for Homes program, donated cars raise much-needed funds to support our vision: a San Gabriel Valley and a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Start your donation now! 

More ways to help: 

  • Donate to show your support to fix the housing crisis in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond 
  • Sign up for SGV Habitat’s e-newsletters by scrolling to the bottom of 
  • Share this article and educate others on the importance of affordable housing 

3 Reasons Affordable Housing Creates a Better World 

A house is not just a house, it is a home – a place that shelters, protects, and nurturesIt offers a safe space for the people inside to thrive and supports their personal and professional development. 

We believe affordable housing is not a hand out. It’s a hand up. It gives families’ the ability to reimagine their future without the high cost of rent.  

In San Gabriel Valley, the need for affordable housing is apparent. The cost to rent or purchase housing has become less affordable for millions of Californians. What needs to be known is the impact affordable housing can make to families and the community. 

Affordable Housing is Great for Kids 

Stable, affordable housing is important for children’s future. A study done by Boston College and the MacArthur Foundation detailed how poor quality housing is tied to children’s emotional and behavioral problems.  

The National Low Income Housing Coalition reported poor housing quality and residential instability are the strongest predictions of behavioral problems among low-income children.  

Addressing housing affordability is the most cost-effective way of lifting people out of poverty, for reducing childhood poverty and increasing economic mobility, says Sarah Mickelson, senior director of public policy at the National Low Income Housing Coalition.” 

For children, a stable place to call home gives them an adequate space to study and the possibility to make a better future for themselves. With a room for a small desk and parent’s ability to spend more time with their children – all of these benefits can lead to a happier and healthier family. 

It Builds Sustainable Communities 

The need for affordable housing is imperative, not only for families who rely on housing, but neighborhoods. Having affordable housing developments in neighborhoods bring a positive impact on the surrounding communities. SGV Habitat works with city governments, housing organizations, and community advocates to create communities for families to thrive in.  

Studies have shown affordable housing uplifts residents, encourages social connection, reduces overcrowding, increases adjacent property values, attracts businesses and jobs, and lowers crime rates. 

There are many economic benefits of affordable housing. From increased spending, increased hiring, and increased taxes and revenue for local governments, affordable housing can help communities thrive as well. When families worry less about making rent, those living in affordable housing can spend more on more nutritious food and other essential items. Increasing the buying power for low-income families can mean steady income for local businesses, more job creations, and economic growth. This is proven as more and more shops, restaurants and healthcare facilities open where the NHP Foundation has properties. 

Promotes Diversity 

Affordable housing developments encourage diversity by creating communities where people of different cultural, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds can unite. Diverse communities increase the knowledge of cultural sensitivity, fairness, and understanding of different backgrounds – ultimately creating a better community overall.  

“Community-building investments that help neighbors from diverse backgrounds overcome their fears and suspicions and build positive social relationships across racial and ethnic lines may also help strengthen and stabilize newly diversifying neighborhoods and enable residents to enjoy the potential benefits,” according to a study by the Urban Institute. 

By supporting affordable housing in your community, you will be helping a family finally buy their first home, children being able to study in their own rooms, build a stronger and more vibrant community, and much more. 

How You Can Help 

  • Advocate for affordable housing for everyone 
  • Educate yourself on the benefits of affordable housing  
  • Help sustain and expand the Healthy Homesinitiatives at the federal, state and local levels, including public-private collaborative programs 
  • Strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws, including the Fair Housing Actand other state and local regulations prohibiting racial discrimination in housing markets 
  • Donate now to show your support to fix the housing crisis in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond 

Building the Beloved Community

Habitat for Humanity has a vision of a world where we share one humanity, and that’s a world that we believe in and fight for every day.

We are a faith-based organization, but we realize that faith must be coupled with works and action. As we share in the sadness, anger and uncertainty that have rocked communities across the United States — these protests of the systemic and racial injustice that have infused and informed the life of our nation — we recognize that we must do more.

We must create what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the Beloved Community” — a community that includes diversity and allows for tension undergirded by love and leading to transformation. To do so, we must truly love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We must change. And we must commit to tangible action.

We will do the work in our practices, our programs and our networks that brings equity to our efforts and helps bring justice to the communities in which we work. We will, throughout our ministry, connect issues of racial and social injustice with historic barriers to affordable housing and work to eradicate those barriers.

Historic discrimination in U.S. housing policy — particularly discrimination against Black Americans — is one of the chief drivers of racial inequities that persist today. Organizations like ours that work on housing must understand that history and have it inform our work.

In the tradition of the radical inclusivity that infused our birthplace Koinonia Farm from its earliest days, the leaders of our ministry commit to creating an environment where humility, open communication, dialogue and listening become our standard. In addition to being a space where people of all races, all faiths and all backgrounds come together in common cause, we commit to being actively anti-racist and to affirming, through word and action, that black lives matter and that our communities and systems must further this fundamental truth. We will ensure that our work is infused with courage and accountability so that we make our strong commitment to equity and true community a reality.

How Housing Affects Educational Outcomes

Academic Success Begins At Home

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a supportive and stable home can attribute to the educational success of children.  When families spend less on housingthey can invest in themselves. This includes investing in higher educationLong-term career growth, social mobility and finances can help lift the entire family into prosperity. 

No matter one’s age, having a decent place to call home – a place to study and think – a place to feel secure – can lead to a more successful future. 

Low Quality and Unaffordable Housing Affects Children and Adults 

Frequent or unplanned moves because of unsafe situations, rising housing costs, or other difficulties negatively impact school performance. In some cases, families are forced to move to undesirable areas with low-performing schools. These situations create cycles of instability that easily permeate into adulthood. 

For children, moves can interfere with the development of personal relationships, resulting in the lack of a support system in schoolAs friends are vital to school-age children’s healthy development, children who lack friends can suffer from emotional and mental difficulties. Establishing roots in the community allows children to develop friendships, ultimately increasing their empathy and compassion. 

Parents paying too high a percentage of their income for housing often find themselves making tough choices. The decision between making rent, paying for education, or having safe transportation can cause stress, depression, and hopelessness. With affordable housing, adults spend less time worrying about finances and more time invested in their children’s education as well as their own.  

In a 2016 report “Impacts of Habitat for Humanity Homeownership,” researchers from the Wilder Foundation determined that almost two-thirds of Habitat homeowners in Minnesota say they feel more confident about their ability to fund their kids’ college education. Having a stable place to call home provides the entire family with a secure environment to grow and excel in life. 

A Hardworking Family Gets the Space They Need to Thrive 

Azat and her children (Kristina pictured) once lived in an overcrowded apartment sleeping cramped on one couch. After moving into their Habitat home in Glendale, Kristina and Arthur now have the rest and personal space they need to focus on school. 

Everybody is happy, and I feel more secure. The kids feel free-er to focus and learn. Their grades have improved!”

Today, the family is thriving in their safe and stable home. Thanks to the extra space, they can stay in touch with their Armenian roots – hosting family members and sharing dishes with their community of friends. This is all thanks to San Gabriel Valley Habitat supporters and donors, just like you! 

How You Can Help 

  • Advocate for affordable housing with SGV Habitat and Habitat for Humanity International 
  • Support the #CostOfHome Campaign 
  • Strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws, including the Fair Housing Actand other state and local regulations prohibiting racial discrimination in housing markets 
  • Donate to show your support to fix the housing crisis in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond 
  • Sign up for SGV Habitat’s e-newsletters by scrolling to the bottom of
  • Share this article and educate others on the importance of affordable housing 

How Housing Affects Health

The quality of housing has the potential to help or harm families’ health in major ways. Families without decent housing are exposed to greater personal and environmental risks, are less nourished, and have diminished access to health care. Housing is becoming increasingly important to public health, according to the World Health Organization.  

Respiratory diseases, lead poisoning, cancers from toxic materials, neurological disorders, stress, psychological and behavioral dysfunction are only some examples of how unsafe physical surroundings can negatively affect health.  

Housing is directly linked to the health of the families who live in it. The physical condition of the home, neighborhoods surrounding the home, and housing affordability are all factors that shape the well-being of families. 

Housing Affordability Makes The Difference 

Housing is considered affordable when a family spends less than 30 percent of their income towards their monthly living expenses. The lack of affordable housing and high housing-related costs can affect families’ spending habits of food, electricity, and other basic needs. Affordability raises a family’s standard of living and relieves the psychological pressure of being forced to make tough trade-offs just to make it through month after month. 

The place you call home should never threaten your health. Decent and affordable housing help make that difference. It can also mean the difference between thriving and merely surviving. 

Our Kenwood Homes: Healthy Homes Mean Healthy Families  

Saundra getting the keys to her new Habitat home in Glendale.

Saundra  was a single mother who dreamed of a home for her children. Before Habitat, they lived in small rental apartment with peeling paint, mold, and in need of some extensive repairs . The poor living conditions Saundra and her children lived in were attributing to respiratory problems, a common affliction among children who grow up in these kinds of conditions. They lived and breathed in an unhealthy environment before qualifying for their new Habitat home.  

Saundra allowed herself to finally dream of homeownership when she saw an SGV Habitat table displaying the Kenwood Homes (pictured on top) construction site at the mall. After her family was selected to become homeowners, they worked hard to build their houseSaundra completed 525 sweat equity hours and got to know her future neighbors while working at the construction siteToday, Saundra and her three children have the space and community to thrive in. They now enjoy their family dinners more because they can finally fit around the kitchen table.  

“To have this home that we know we worked hard for, to know that we are able to sit down for a meal together in our home and enjoy being a family, nothing makes me happier.”

How You Can Help 

  • Advocate for affordable housing – for everyone 
  • Help sustain and expand the Healthy Homes initiatives at the federal, state and local levels, including public-private collaborative programs 
  • Strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws, including the Fair Housing Actand other state and local regulations prohibiting racial discrimination in housing markets 
  • Donate now to show your support to fix the housing crisis in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond 

Decent and affordable housing can be achieved for families in the San Gabriel Valley with your help. Improved housing conditions can save lives, reduce diseases, increase quality of life, and help families and neighborhoods thrive. 

The Housing Ecosystem, and Why It Matters

Why should you know about the Housing Ecosystem? Why is it important?

The housing ecosystem, or housing continuum as it is also known, is a range of the different types of housing available in your community.

This range starts with situations where housing is not available, moves to emergency housing, and goes all the way to market-rate homeownership and represents the level of financial independence residents have within each available housing type. Each part of the housing ecosystem is meant to accommodate the current needs of its community’s residents.

When one part of the ecosystem doesn’t work – it hurts the rest. Let’s take a look at where you might fall in the housing ecosystem – and where Habitat stands in the big picture.

Homelessness a.k.a “The Street”
Four walls do not define this type of living situation, but it is most certainly a reality for many. Whether chronic or not, homelessness has become one of the greatest challenges our society faces today. For obvious reasons, homeless individuals and families face significant health and safety challenges day in and day out. Many cases of homelessness are caused by traumatic and sudden events that push someone outside of their home – including rent hikes and a loss of income. Many are just one crisis away from homelessness. Homelessness can come as a result of not having sufficient housing. In California – there is a shortage of over 3 million homes.

Emergency Shelter
Many people use emergency shelters as a last resort, because they do not have a safe and stable roof over their heads. In some cases, individuals have been evicted, are dealing with a family dispute, or are seeking refuge from situations of domestic violence. Other times, individuals are transitioning after aging out of foster care, seeking short or long-term hospital care, and even incarceration. These shelters are limited short-term shelters meant to be used until individuals can find permanent housing. Those experiencing chronic homelessness often turn to emergency shelters as a long-term temporary solution.

Transitional Housing
Transitional housing is temporary lodging set up to transition residents into permanent, affordable housing that can also provide social support services. Forms of services can include security offerings for victims of domestic violence, transitional support from incarceration back into the community, and support for those attempting to overcome addictions.

Social Housing
Social housing consists of single room occupancies, public housing and nonprofit housing as well as units in which residents have rent subsidies like Section 8. Most social housing is on the older end and has not expanded significantly for quite some time. Section 8 rents provide landlords a portion of total tenant rent, but unfortunately, renters’ housing needs have significantly outpaced section 8 funding—further increasing our affordable housing shortage and long Section 8 waiting lists.

Affordable Rental
Affordable rentals can be public or privately owned or owned by a nonprofit. These units can be permanent supportive housing, full-size apartments, and in more recent cases, tiny homes and ADUs (accessory dwelling units).

Affordable Homeownership
This is where Habitat for Humanity lands along the spectrum. The reason why affordable homeownership is so successful is that it creates a lasting positive impact on the health, income, and overall well-being of individuals and families. This impact extends into other generations through wealth accumulation. According to the US Census Bureau, the average homeowner has a net-worth that is one hundred times greater than that of a renter: $200,000 for homeowners compared with $2,000 for renters. Affordable homeownership closes the gap between those without wealth and those with wealth. Down-payment programs in California like CalHome and WISH also help make affordable homeownership possible.

Market Rate Rental
Individuals or families with higher incomes not wishing to get into a permanent housing situation have the option of renting in market-rate housing. In these cases, landlords or property owners set the monthly rent. In many cases, however, rent exceeds the 30% income limit – often 50% or higher. In fact, the average rent in Los Angeles as of 2019 for a 2-bedroom apartment was $2,257. For an individual making $60,000 a year, that’s roughly 45% of their income. This leaves families vulnerable in a crisis situation where a sudden loss of income or emergency situation means choosing between paying for household essentials like food, and rent.

Market Rate Homeownership
The last group of the housing ecosystem is market-rate homeownership. This type of housing is purchased through a conventional loan, with no subsidies or assistance. The price of housing is often determined by different factors, like location, available local amenities, local schools, and overall area desirability. Some Habitat homeowners have transitioned into this type of housing thanks to the program’s ability to create generational wealth and increase individual purchasing power, leaving the vacant Habitat homes for other families in need.

A Harsh Reality of the Housing Ecosystem
There are many different kinds of housing within the housing ecosystem, and each meets needs a little differently. Some people move frequently between different kinds of housing, and others barely move at all. Inequities in housing have existed for decades. The black community has been forced to cope with these inequities, which is why for the most part, many are forced to remain in the lower end of the ecosystem. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Black homeownership rate is 40.6% as of July 2019, the lowest it’s been since 1950. Also reflective of these challenges – an Urban Institute study of 100 cities shows not even one has a black homeownership rate close to the white homeownership rate. This challenge is surmountable – but only when everyone is involved.

When housing is affordable, it creates opportunity and generational wealth – opening doors that seemed to be closed forever for working families and others living in poverty throughout the United States. Bright futures are possible, but it starts with a safe and stable home.

*The preceding information is based on the latest in housing information. This article will be updated periodically.