For 30 years, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has partnered with businesses, non-profit organizations, funders, tradespeople, thousands of volunteers, and qualified Habitat home buyers to help nearly 400 families achieve the dream of owning a home. With that home comes tangible stability – no more moving every few months from rental to rental or relative to relative.
“Children don’t have to keep starting over in a new location, so they begin to build friendships and relationships with mentors and teachers,” said Bri McKee, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. “They do better in school. We see them graduate and go on to college. Families feel safe in their homes. Their health is better because they are in a clean environment. Parents are more successful at work.”
As full partners in the venture, all Habitat homeowners help with construction and take classes on caring for their home and managing their finances. Ninety-five percent of Habitat homeowners maintain their mortgage.
With the success of its community-wide Building Blocks Campaign, Habitat has taken its goal to provide affordable housing one giant step further. It has partnered community-based organizations, neighbourhood associations, residents, businesses and schools to revitalize whole neighborhoods.
“We align our strategies with groups that are already having a positive impact in the lives of the residents in those neighborhoods,” said McKee. “Because we’re stronger together.”
With its network of suppliers and its indispensable, ever-present volunteers, Habitat is working in focus neighborhoods to build new houses and to rehab and repair existing homes. And the feeling of community is growing from within because of the homeowners that are invested in their neighborhoods. Jobs are being created. Crime is going down. Surrounding property values are going up. Roots are being established because Habitat homeowners are revitalizing their neighborhoods.
Bri will tell you there’s a simple truth at work here: revitalized neighborhoods open doors to new lives.