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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. 

The breakdown: 

  • 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:

  • Donate to the campaign 
  • Shop at SGV ReStores 
  • Advocate for affordable housing for everyone 
  • Educate yourself on the benefits of affordable housing 
  • Share your support by using the #ExpandingtheAmericanDream hashtag on social media 

Celebrating Habitat History of Hand-Up Model in Honor of MLK Day of Service

Koinonia Farm Koinonia is the Greek word usually translated as “community” or “fellowship.” The farm community emphasizes equality, shared resources, and wise stewardship of land and natural resources.

The story of Habitat for Humanity began at Koinonia Farm, an interracial community farm outside Americus, Georgia, founded in 1942 by farmer and biblical scholar, Clarence Jordan. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Clarence and his fellow Koinonia residents were fiercely committed to the equality of all people and utterly devoted to creating opportunity for all. 

A Rich History 

Built on the idea of partnership housing and born from that vision, we have grown into a global organization driven by a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. As part of this effort, in 1990, a small group of dedicated volunteers with a desire to eliminate substandard housing in our community founded San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity (SGV Habitat). The overwhelming need for housing in our communities has provided SGV Habitat for Humanity with a unique opportunity to change lives in our neighborhoods. In 2021, we made the commitment to serving the housing needs of 100 families over the next three years through the Expanding the American Dream campaign.  

Known for our “hand-up, not a handout” model, Habitat for Humanity homeowners work side-by-side with volunteers and skilled staff to build safe, decent and affordable housing. In addition to new homeownership programs, the organization offers critical home repair services to address safety, accessibility, and deferred maintenance issues to assist low-income homeowners to ensure they can continue to live in a safe and decent home for years to come. 

Homeowner Continues to Impact Her Community 

Billie Shaw, Home Repair recipient

Duarte homeowner, Billie Shaw, was a recent recipient of this program. For 5 years Shaw has been distributing food from a local food bank to homeless encampments in the San Gabriel Valley. While seeking resources to assist the individuals she was feeding she came across Habitat for Humanity, not knowing the blessing we would provide would be for her.   

A few years ago, Shaw’s roof was blown off during a strong windstorm. Without the funds to replace it she suffered from years of water damage, eventually causing portions of the plaster ceilings to collapse. She applied to the critical home repair program and not only was Habitat able to help her put on a new roof, we also painted the house. As part of the repair program Shaw provided a payment she could afford and completed several hours of “sweat-equity” giving back to the organization in the form of volunteer hours. Even though she’s completed her sweat equity she continues to serve the SGV Habitat by spreading the word about our programs and nearby resale store, the ReStore.  

“I just can’t believe this blessing I have received,” said Shaw. “They finished my roof and the next day a huge rainstorm came in. I finally saw the rain outside, but not inside my house. Now I plan to pass it on by telling everyone I can about Habitat for Humanity.” 

Shaw, who served as a nurse at Santa Teresita until the hospital closed and then pursued a career in law enforcement, eventually retiring from the Baldwin Park force, has always been called to serve others. It’s partners like her who embody the essence of Habitat for Humanity’s mission.

How You Can Help 

This coming Monday the US will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which under the King Holiday and Service Act, was transformed into a day dedicated to volunteer service in honor of Dr. King’s legacy. It is the only federal holiday observed as a National Day of Service – a “day on, not a day off.” It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. Problems like affordable housing. On this day we celebrate people like Billie Shaw who gives unto others, even when she needs assistance. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. 

  • Advocate for affordable housing for everyone and read how we continue to build a “Beloved Community” 
  • Educate yourself on the benefits of affordable housing  
  • 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 Act and 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 

 

Photo credits: Stephen F. Somerstein—Getty Images

The Maxson Street Story

Due to circumstances beyond our control we have postponed the planned dedication for February 12.

We are planning a key ceremony for March – details to be announced soon.

Families Gather at the Desiderio Community Stone Soup Dinner

The Second Annual Stone Soup Dinner Hosted by Desiderio Homeowners, Macha and Melissa

 

Macha and Melissa’s Family

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.  

Families at the Stone Soup Dinner table

Custom-made Desiderio Stone Soup 2021 stones

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.)

Donations made by the end of the year (2021) will be matched up to $25,000

Be Like Elizabeth: The 8-year old girl who donated her savings to help families like hers have a safe and affordable home

 

(left to right) Executive Director, Bryan Wong, Elizabeth, Board President, Christine Silverstein, and Alejandro

Elizabeth, the daughter of San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity homeowners, Alejandra and Gilberto, donated $117 to help families in need of safe, decent, and affordable homes.  

Alejandra, Gilberto, and their four kids, suffered from constant health issues due to the poor conditions of their previous rented home.  

“It was always too cold or too hot. Since we moved to our Habitat home in Pasadena, we have not had to go to any doctor’s visits, other than yearly physicals. None of us got sick and we are so grateful,” said Alejandra. 

Moving into the Desiderio community in August of 2018 changed the family’s lifestyle. According to her family, Elizabeth has always been a giver. From donating her clothes and toys to family and friends in Mexico, to delivering food to the homeless along her commute to school she is always thinking of others.  

After meeting a Habitat supporter, Elizabeth made plans for her and her younger brother, Jonathan, age 6, to save $100 to donate. When the time came, she told her brother, “Don’t worry, I got it!” 

Elizabeth presented a custom hand-painted check of $117 to Executive Director, Bryan Wong, at a donor event located at our Desiderio Homes in Pasadena. The $117 came from her savings, which she saved from birthdays, tooth fairy visits, allowances, and more.  

When asked why she chose to give her savings to Habitat, Elizabeth said that “it will help Habitat families have a better life.” 

Elizabeth’s dream is to be a schoolteacher, specifically, a “compassionate and loving teacher,” or  speech therapist. She credits her elementary school teachers who taught her the valuable lessons of kindness, teamwork, and sharing. 

Elizabeth in her soccer uniform

Jonathan (left) and Elizabeth (right)

Elizabeth is also involved in various extracurricular activities in school. She enjoys playing sports including soccer, basketball, baseball, and swimming. She is planning to join the swim team next year. 

“Elizabeth is a very generous girl with a great heart. She is always thinking of others and how she can contribute to making people smile. This is not the first time she has shown her generosity. I’m so proud to be her mother,” said Alejandra.  

Elizabeth has no intention of stopping her fundraising efforts either and will continue to contribute back to the community! 

Those interested in following her lead and donating, donate $117 like Elizabeth! If your savings are anywhere from $17 to $1117, be like Elizabeth and join our Expanding the American Dream campaign by donating to help families achieve their dream of living in a safe and affordable home. 

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. 

Help More Families Before 2020 Ends

Your End Of Year Donations Provide Essential, Life-Changing Homeownership and Home Repair Opportunities for Families – and a Tax Break For You!

$300-$600 tax deduction

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act allows you to take a deduction of up to $300 (0r $600 per couple) in charitable gifts made in cash.

This is an additional “above-the-line” deduction that reduces your taxable income by deducting up to $300 per individual or $600 per couple from your adjusted gross income for the 2020 calendar year. This is available to everyone who takes the standardized deductions (taxpayers who do not itemize deductions).

Expanded deductibility on gifts for those who itemize

For the 2020 calendar year only, the CARES act has increased the charitable deduction maximum from 60% of your adjusted gross income to 100% for taxpayers who do itemize. What does this mean? Your cash donations to SGV Habitat can be deducted up to 100% of your adjusted gross income for your 2020 taxes. What does this also mean? Your deductions are greater – and so is your impact on families!

This is your last chance before 2020 ends to help families find the stability they long for through homeownership. Your support today affects lives for generations. The best part is, there are many ways you can help!

Donate Now Online

Cash donations are quick and easy way to show your commitment to helping families and ending the housing crisis. Interested in making a donation on behalf of a friend or loved one? You can! Use the comment box in the donation form to let us know. Ready to make a cash donation online? Click the button below!

Donor-Advised Fund Gifts

A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a savings account for money that you plan to donate to charity. A DAF offers certain tax benefits for the donor, and donations made from a donor’s DAF to SGV Habitat benefit families as they build or repair their own home. If you have a DAF, please consider helping a family by recommending a donation to SGV Habitat. If you have questions about DAF, please contact Paul Van Ast at (626) 340-2280 or email.

Stock and Mutual Fund Gifts

Donating stocks or mutual funds may give you certain tax benefits when you make your gift, like receiving an income tax charitable deduction for the full market value of the donated stock at the time of the gift. Start the process now to get your tax letter on time! To donate stocks or bonds, please inform your broker that our investment account is with:

D|A|Davidson
David Bland or Karen Moreno
(213) 620-1850

Workplace Match Gifts

Many employers will match tax-deductible charitable contributions made by their employees, retirees and employees’ spouses. Some provide matching funds to support employee volunteer hours. The gift you give today could be DOUBLED OR EVEN TRIPLED. Click here to learn more about workplace contributions.

Cars for Homes

When you donate your vehicle, proceeds go right back to helping families in Northeast Los Angeles, Glendale, Pasadena, and the San Gabriel Valley build or repair their own home. Running or not, every vehicle donation makes an impact and helps families gain independence. It’s fast and easy through our donation website and better yet – you may qualify for a tax deduction.

No matter how you choose to give, every donation creates endless opportunities and impact that lasts for generations!

Macha and his family say “thank you!”

 

Hello Friends,

2020 has been a year of uncertainty and hardships. Every single one of us has felt the impacts of COVID-19 and is trying to adapt to a new normal as the pandemic continues to threaten our communities.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I ask that you pause to take a moment to reflect on what you have to be thankful for this year. Perhaps what comes to mind is that you are grateful to have a comfortable and secure place to live where you are able to stay “safer at home” and “shelter in place” when such an unprecedented event like COVID-19 occurs.

For families like Macha’s, who have already partnered with us to build and buy their own homes, owning a Habitat home has offered great peace of mind in such an uncertain time…

On this Thanksgiving, Macha’s daughter Maika and son Ren will have the room they need to play and limit their exposure to others.

“Owning a home in these uncertain times has provided stability for our children. Within the walls of our home, our children experience safety. This is a gift beyond measure.”

“We are thankful to have the space for our kids to play in, especially in the yard. I can’t imagine what it might be like for families living in overcrowded apartments with no outdoor space during the lockdown.”

Because of your support, our Habitat partner families have something to be grateful for this year…a permanent place to call home during these challenging times, and always.

Sadly, there are still thousands of local low-income families in the San Gabriel Valley region without a decent place to live. As jobs are lost, hours are cut and the economy slows, low-income families are hit the hardest. They always are. These families are going to need our hand up now more than ever. And now more than ever, we need your support.

This Thanksgiving season, please consider making a generous gift to SGV Habitat to help empower more families through affordable homeownership. Every gift – any amount – makes a difference!

Gratefully,

Mark Van Lue
Executive Director

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Donate now to help more families like Macha’s this Thanksgiving season!

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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.

Gratefully,

Mark Van Lue
Executive Director

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!