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.
The Impact of a Community Like Builders’ Club
Learn why our Builders’ Club members give monthly to make a difference all year round
When like-minded givers come together to support affordable housing with their monthly donation, a community is born. The Builders’ Club community is a passionate and determined group of monthly givers on a mission to end the housing crisis in the San Gabriel Valley region.
Thank you to our Builders’ Club members who have committed to make a difference all year round. You’ve put your name alongside other members who believe affordable housing should be available for everyone.
You know with every monthly donation you are:
- Helping us build and repair more homes
- Altering the trajectory of families’ lives
- Improving the health and wellness of families
- Doubling the chances of family members attending college
- And more!
Meet some current Builders’ Club members and learn why they give monthly.
Donor Feature: Nick
“As a SoCal resident, I can’t imagine living through COVID in an overcrowded, overpriced, and unsafe apartment. Donating $10 every month seems like a small sacrifice if it allows a family to experience the safety and security of becoming homeowners. I am proud to be a member of Builders’ Club!” – Nick
Donor Feature: Kathyjo
“I am honored to be a member of the Builders’ Club. To work alongside and also be a member teaches my family the importance of giving back. As a family, we annually pick a cause to donate to knowing how fortunate we are to see the results locally in our community. During the current state of affairs we are currently experiencing, we feel helping others and giving back is the right thing to do.” – Kathyjo
Donor Feature: Anthony
“I am honored to partner with San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity. The work that this organization does in our community is instrumental. The Builders’ Club is a tangible way for me to show my ongoing support. I am grateful for all those working with this organization, for their dedication to the enduring mission of making affordable housing a reality for all of our brothers and sisters in the San Gabriel Valley.” – Anthony
Donor Feature: Tammy
“My monthly donation as a Builders’ Club member is the equivalent of skipping one monthly dinner delivery and it helps families to become homeowners. I’m happy to be a Builders’ Club member!” -Tammy
Donor Feature: Lucy
“Donating to families that have the opportunity to receive homes locally is such a blessing to me. I was taught as a small child to give to others and lend a helping hand is a gift from God. It was an easy choice for me to make a monthly commitment to become a Builders’ Club member. I hope by sharing this example, it will encourage other young members to do so as well.” – Lucy
Donor Feature: Scarlet and Bella
“As a family we collectively pick a nonprofit to donate to. I personally see people that do not have homes and families that do without. When I found out SGV Habitat provides homes for families locally, I knew that supporting our community was the right thing to do.” – Scarlet
“I donate to SGV Habitat because I like to help children and families. I was so excited to learn that Habitat provides homes for local families, it made my choice to give very easily.” – Bella
This month, we are looking to add more loyal supporters to the club during our 2022 Winter Membership Drive.
By joining the Builders’ Club during the month of February (depending on your monthly contribution), you can also receive exclusive SGV Habitat branded items, such as a reusable shopping bag, coffee cup or t-shirt! Become a Builders’ Club member with your monthly gift today.
We ❤️ Our Supporters
February is the month of hearts and this month our hearts are full. That’s because big dreams are coming true through the work happening at San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity and it’s all thanks to our supporters.
In 1990 a group of dedicated volunteers came together with a desire to eliminate substandard housing in our community and founded San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity. Since that day over 300 families have been served through our homeownership or home repair programs. This has all happened because of VOLUNTEERS and DONORS like you.
We L❤️ve our Volunteers
A Big THANK YOU goes out to our volunteers. Through construction, retail, home repair and more you have impacted families all over San Gabriel Valley.
With the help of volunteers we run our ReStores, assist low-income homeowners with critical repairs, help families fulfill their dreams of homeownership and so much more! It could not be done without YOU!
To Join our Team of Dedicated Volunteers Click Here
We L❤️ve our Donors
San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity has been blessed with generous financial supporters. East West Bank recently signed on as the Title Sponsor for our upcoming Women Build event and C.W. Driver provided not only matching funds for our Giving Tuesday campaign, but also a cornerstone sponsorship for our Women Build days. These are just two examples of the great community support we have seen. At San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity we keep our overhead costs low to ensure our dollars go far. (Ninety-six percent of all funds received are invested to help families build or repair a place to call home.) Thank you to ALL our Donors who make this all possible.
To Join our group of dedicated supporters Click Here
The homes we’ve built, and those planned for the future, are a testament of love from our donors, volunteers, and supporters. This same love builds stronger families, stronger communities, and opens doors to the American Dream.
Join the efforts and support families all year long by joining our Builders’ Club this month during the Winter Membership Drive.
Your Impact in the First Year of the Expanding the American Dream Campaign
In 2021, you (our partners, donors, supporters, and volunteers) provided homeownership opportunities and critical home repairs to 27 families in the San Gabriel Valley and abroad. This directly impacts the Expanding the American Dream campaign’s goal of transforming the lives of 100 families by 2023.
- 6 homeownership opportunities provided to local families
- 11 critical home repairs for low-income homeowners
- 10 homes built internationally
This could not have been achieved without you. To fund this $28 million campaign, we rely on you (providers and preservers of the American Dream), ReStore purchases and donations, state grants, and mortgage proceeds. This campaign is 100% donor dependent. It is only possible through your generous support year after year. Thank You!
The Expanding the American Dream campaign is going into its second year in 2022. This campaign is calling attention to the need for affordable housing and raising funds to help families achieve their dreams of homeownership. Running through 2023, it highlights the importance of community and the significant role a safe home plays in helping families thrive.
“Our goal is to dramatically increase the number of affordable homeownership opportunities in the San Gabriel Valley” says Bryan Wong, Executive Director at SGV Habitat for Humanity. “The need for affordable housing in the area is overwhelming. We aim to make the world a place where all can afford to live—both first-time homebuyers and long-time residents.”
How You Can Help:
Families Gather at the Desiderio Community Stone Soup Dinner
The Second Annual Stone Soup Dinner Hosted by Desiderio Homeowners, Macha and Melissa
This Thanksgiving, Desiderio homeowners, Macha and Melissa, gathered all nine families to host the second annual Stone Soup Dinner on the front lawns of their San Gabriel Valley Habitat homes.
The event was inspired by the children’s book, Stone Soup, written by Marcia Brown. The story of Stone Soup is a popular European folktale where three hungry soldiers seek food and shelter from a small village. The people of the village are experiencing hard times and they were afraid to share anything from their cupboards.
Upon discovering that they weren’t going to be offered any food or shelter, the soldiers declared they will be making “stone soup.” The soldiers ask if anyone has a pot to cook it in and slowly the villagers muster up the courage to share a pot, water, and fire to heat it. The soldiers recruit everyone to add stones to the pot and little by little the stones were added. Eventually the people begin to run to their cupboards to add other ingredients they had such as salt, pepper, carrots, cabbage, beef, and more. What had started out as a merely stones had transformed into a “rich person’s soup.”
“When each member of our community contributes to the making of this soup, it becomes a tangible way to celebrate our differences and the struggles and joys that unify us…together at one table, from one pot, one spoonful at a time,” said Melissa.
This story inspired Macha and Melissa to create the Desiderio community’s Stone Soup Dinner. For the last couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, the families of the Desiderio community dropped off various ingredients on Macha and Melissa’s doorstep.
At the end of the week, it was all thrown together to make a unique and delicious pot of soup with stones included!
The soup included potatoes, pearl onions, carrots, celery, chicken, garlic, and miso – all unique ingredients the nine families contributed to making their very own “Stone Soup!”
“The soup is a tradition that has so many layers of meaning. It came about as a way to stay connected during the height of the pandemic. It’s a reminder that we are not alone, that we don’t need to fear scarcity, and that our uniquely diverse community can create something truly remarkable when we realize the potential in every small act,” said Macha.
The Desiderio homeowners take on Stone Soup illustrates how Habitat ties families together to create a community. You can help create more memories like Stone Soup Dinner for San Gabriel Valley families. Join our Expanding the American Dream campaign (Three Years. 100 families. Unlimited Dreams.)
Home for the Holidays
The holiday season often leads us to reflect on what is truly important. For me, this time of year is particularly special. I am always moved by the charitable acts from kind people like you who respond to our urgent request to help our community’s families in need.
For many low-income families in Northeast Los Angeles, Pasadena, Glendale, and the San Gabriel Valley, the holidays can be a hard and stressful time…a stark reminder of what it means not to have an affordable and permanent place to live.
This year more than ever, our community’s low-income families need your help. The pandemic has been unforgiving as these families have endured significant financial hardships and uncertainty. The cost of housing is weighing even heavier on those who were already struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
With your holiday gift, you can help a family receive the best gift of all…the opportunity to become homeowners with their very own decent and affordable place to call home.
Imagine how meaningful this holiday season could be for a family who receives the good news that they have qualified for our program and will become homeowners or receive help repairing their home! You can bring this joyful news to a family by making a donation right now.
You have helped more than 230 families spend their holidays in a home that is safe, decent and affordable, including the local families pictured above.
Harold, Idalia, and their family moved into their home last year. We are happy to tell you that they are thriving in their new Habitat home in Pasadena! Keep reading to see what life was like before homeownership and how their lives are now.
Before, their rental house was so small, they converted the porch into a bedroom.
Now, their home is large enough to comfortably house their family of six.
Before, the doorways were so narrow that Harold and Idalia had to carry Paula, their wheelchair-bound daughter, from room to room.
Now, Paula finally has a home that works for her! It has a ramp, wide doorways, and an accessible bathroom.
Before, the ever-present stress in their lives was worrying about constant moves due to increasing rent.
Now, “My parents no longer worry about having to move us again.”, said their daughter Katherine.
“Everything has changed for the better,” Idalia told us. “Our children are happier and feel more secure.”
Harold and Idalia know that owning their own home is making it possible for their children to have a better future.
Supporters like you have made this dream a reality for Harold and Idalia! Your continued contributions will make it possible for even more families to achieve the same dream that Harold and Idalia have. You make it possible for families to become homeowners.
Celebrate this holiday season by giving hope to another family in need by making a gift to San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity today.
Mark Van Lue
P.S. Give more families like Harold and Idalia’s a hand up – not a hand out – to help them build and buy their own decent and affordable homes. Please send your most generous holiday gift today!
Vroman’s Bookstore – Partners for Over 14 Years
Since March of this year, humanity has come together during the COVID-19 crisis to help one another. Organizations worldwide have stepped up to give back to their communities at a moment when so many families have become more vulnerable than ever. Locally, small businesses are struggling, and yet some continue to give back. Vroman’s Bookstore is one of these businesses.
Even during an unforgiving pandemic that has affected millions of people, Vroman’s has continued to help organizations like ours provide important services to the community. In fact, they have been a generous and unwavering partner for over 14 years – with donations of over $44,000 – and counting! Vroman’s Bookstore CEO Julia Cowlishaw is delighted to see the impact they have had on Habitat families throughout San Gabriel Valley through their “Vroman’s Gives Back” program:.
“The success of the Vroman’s Gives Back and San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity partnership reflects the commitment to decent and affordable housing of our shared community members. Vroman’s is grateful we are able to help SGV Habitat achieve their vision of everyone having a decent place to live.”
Every time you make a purchase at Vroman’s, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the organization of your choice, and this includes SGV Habitat! You can join the Give Back program here.
Partnerships Build Communities
No matter what your organization does, you can help families in your community thrive. The importance of a safe and stable home is more prominent than ever. A partnership with us means an impact on families that will last for generations.
Whether it be through virtual or in-person team build days, corporate sponsorships, grants or donations, your support today creates bright futures for families tomorrow.
Learn more about how your organization can make a difference today!
Visit Vroman’s Bookstore Today!
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.
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 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 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 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).
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.
Letter from Mark – Summer 2020
Dear Habitat Family,
Carlos and Diana love being parents. Their two children—Isabella and Nicholas—have grown up faster than they ever imagined! Several years ago, Carlos and Diana gave up their small apartment’s only bedroom and moved their bed into the living room. This allowed their children to have more privacy but made it increasingly difficult for Carlos, who slept during daytime hours, to accommodate a graveyard work shift.
Fatigue, sleeplessness, and overcrowding are things Carlos knew too well until 2019 when Carlos and Diana became Habitat homeowners.
This summer and every summer to come, Carlos, Diana, and their children will enjoy their three-bedroom home! Gone are the days of fatigue, sleeplessness, and overcrowding for Carlos and his family. Not only do Carlos, Diana, Isabella, and Nicholas all have the room they need to thrive, but owning their own home gives them the safety and security needed to have peace of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we navigate through this evolving health crisis, our resources have been strained, creating even more barriers for families, like Carlos and Diana’s, in our community who are in desperate need of affordable housing. This is a time for the community to come together and for neighbors to help neighbors. Building better homes and brighter futures starts with you!
We’ve got until June 30 to raise $77,000 so we can continue to help families all summer long! Your generosity today can help us continue to address the housing crisis during and after COVID-19. With your support, we can give families like Carlos and Diana’s the opportunity to build and buy their very own homes. Access to decent and affordable housing helps families achieve the independence they need to build brighter futures for themselves and their children. By giving them a hand up – not a handout – families can overcome the obstacles that stand between them and healthier, more financially stable lives.
With your continued support today, we will be able to continue our ambitious plan and help even more families access safe, healthy, and affordable homes. Here’s how:
• Actively process 200+ homeownership and home repair applications to help families access the housing they need.
• Create 30 new homeownership opportunities in the next 18 months in Alhambra, Altadena, Azusa, Baldwin Park, El Monte, Monterey Park, and Pasadena.
• Continue and expand our critical home repair program to ensure that low-income homeowners, including many seniors and Veterans, have a safe and healthy home.
• We’ve opened a new ReStore in Duarte. The store sells new and used quality furniture, appliances, home décor, and building supplies. 100% of the store’s revenue will help build and repair homes right here in the San Gabriel Valley region.
Building better homes and brighter futures starts with you!
Because of your past financial support and the tireless efforts of our dedicated volunteers, more than 200 families in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond have found strength, stability and independence by partnering with San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity. With a generous gift today, you can help us continue to build more homes and change more lives!
Your support will give more local families—like Carlos and Diana’s—a safe roof over their head and a solid foundation under their feet…something every family needs to succeed. Please give what you can this summer towards building better homes and brighter futures right here in Northeast Los Angeles, Glendale, Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley – every dollar makes a difference!
Mark Van Lue, Executive Director
Homes, Communities, Hope, + You
Habitat homeowner Christina tells supporters what having a safe and stable home means for her family.
When more people get involved – change happens.
As a result of COVID-19, more than 300 million people in 42 states have been asked to “stay at home” — and now more than ever, home is everything.
From May 11-31, San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity has launched the Homes, Communities, Hope + You campaign to ensure that we are able to continue— and accelerate —our work in San Gabriel Valley to ensure that everyone has a decent place to call home. As the economic shocks from this crisis ripple out, the need for affordable, safe, and healthy housing is more apparent than ever.
— We cannot do our work without your help. Habitat is needed now more than ever. And now more than ever, we need you. Here’s how you can help!
- Get involved on social media
- Take a selfie like the one on the right with the message “SGV Habitat + ME” on the sign. Use one of the post suggestions below or create your own – and challenge your friends!
- I’m excited to join #SGVHabitat’s Homes, Communities, Hope + You campaign! I challenge [tag 2-3 friends] to join me in spreading this awesome community. Share your selfie!
- I’m standing with #SGVHabitat and sharing my selfie to support the idea of Homes, Communities, Hope + You! Let’s flood the internet with positivity and connection during this time!
- I support Habitat’s mission because I believe that home should be a place of comfort & safety during a time of uncertainty. I challenge you to share your selfie & declare support for Habitat’s Homes, Communities, Hope + You campaign!
- We can build community during this time, even when we are physically distant. A community centered around hope and connection. Join me in rallying around Homes, Communities, Hope + You!
- Take a selfie like the one on the right with the message “SGV Habitat + ME” on the sign. Use one of the post suggestions below or create your own – and challenge your friends!
- Donate Now
- Not on social media, but want to make an impact? You can! Click here to donate and help build homes, communities, and hope.
Spreading the word about the need for decent and affordable housing and what Habitat does to fulfill this need is more than important than ever. We can make a difference together – and it starts with YOU!
What happens when ‘stay at home’ means staying in an unhealthy place?
Home is the place to stay safe from a global pandemic. And for many of us, our home also has suddenly become our school, our barbershop, our restaurant, our office, our movie theater. For many, “stay at home” has meant the inconvenience of a changed routine. But for more than 19 million U.S. families sheltering in place, the substandard, overcrowded, or unaffordable housing situations they live with have only increased their feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability.
All of us at Habitat for Humanity know firsthand that better, affordable living conditions lead to improved health and stronger childhood development. We know that they give families the ability — and financial flexibility — to make forward-looking choices. Proper shelter creates jobs, revitalizes neighborhoods, attracts employers, increases consumer spending and government revenues, and lowers the risk of foreclosure, all while bringing transformative benefits to families and developing resiliency in communities.
We are an organization with Christian roots that operates in more than 70 countries around the world and in every state of the U.S. Our vision has always been the same: a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Here at San Gabriel Valley Habitat, with support like yours, we have partnered with more than 200 families who now have a safe, decent, and affordable place to call “home.”
Before this pandemic, the world was already experiencing a housing crisis. COVID-19 has revealed its extent and added to its urgency. Habitat is needed now more than ever. And — now more than ever — we need you.
‘Home has rarely been more of a life-or-death situation.’
— Leilani Farha, U.N. special rapporteur on the right of adequate housing
The scope and impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented. It has led to a near halt of the U.S. economy, with over 20 million people losing their jobs, and the impact will be felt throughout the economy for months and years to come.
While not immediately obvious to some, the pandemic’s effect on housing will be significant and lasting. Based on history, it’s likely that the negative effects will be disproportionately borne by vulnerable communities and low-income individuals. As the economic shocks from this crisis ripple out, these families will be hit hardest. They always are.
Low-income households are particularly at risk because of their economic instability and their concentration in the service industry and other hourly jobs that have some of the highest risks of COVID-19 disruptions. Given that 100% of our homeowners have low incomes, nearly all are first-time homeowners. We have always worked to provide flexibility to homebuyers to ensure long- term success, but as COVID-19 increases the economic need for these families, it also causes us to lose funds that support our operations, including [home builds, home repairs and Habitat ReStore operations].
Many of the families in our current pipeline represent the front-line workers who are fulfilling essential duties during this crisis. These are the individuals bagging groceries, delivering packages, preparing food, and working in hospitals. The uncertainty that so many of us feel today, these families have felt for a lifetime — if not generations.
The need doesn’t go away just because the economy has stalled. In fact – the need is growing.
• Over 500,000 Americans are homeless.
• Forty percent of renters are considered cost-burdened.
• Nearly 6 million Americans live in substandard housing.
• In an estimated 12 million of these households, at least one contributing member works in an at-risk industry.
We, just like the millions who are under stay-at-home orders, are adjusting to this ever-changing situation. Build sites are suspended, Habitat ReStores are closed, and finances are impacted, but our operations continue. Every day, front-line Habitat for Humanity staff members continue to make affordable homeownership a reality for families. They are working virtually to service mortgages and coach homeowners to ensure that they can stay in their homes. They are pivoting homeowner services, education, and financial planning to virtual environments and making payroll to ensure that when our economy reopens, we are prepared not just to continue building, but also to accelerate to meet the increased need for affordable housing.