Habitat for Humanity affiliates can often carry a negative connotation as the free housing provider. Or working with only “those” people. The goal of this blog is to do two things. One is to educate the reader about who we serve and the impact it has. The second thing is to highlight our upcoming luncheon titled, “Building Prosperity.” You will get a better picture of why we chose the title toward the end.
First, our partner families MUST have income. In order to qualify for our services, a person(s) has to have proof of stable income. The reason for this is primarily because none of our programs are free. Each program has a mandatory down payment and no interest payments thereafter. It’s very similar to a microloan system. We are the upfront cash and the partner family pays back according to their ability all while be charged no interest. This fact leads directly to the impact of our services. Habitat for Humanity is a wealth-building organization. Yes, you read that right. We are in the business of wealth building. Allowing an individual who already has a tight budget to purchase a home with no interest or repair their current home with no interest, we have created the scary word, affordability. People don’t like hearing the term affordable, it sends off too many alert signals but it’s a reality. Our goal is to create a financial margin in the lives of those we serve. What does the margin do? It allows them to save more, spend more (locally), pay down debts, etc. Margin is safety, plain and simple. And that’s what we aim to do for our partner families.
There is more than one way to find a margin for people. Too many of us are spending more than the recommended 30% on housing. In fact, roughly a quarter of the population spends more than 50% of their income on housing. If that’s the case then how do you save? How do you spend money downtown? How do you feel secure? The answer, you don’t. This outlines the housing crisis that we face in our country, state, and county. It exists here, people. We at Jackson County Habitat cannot solve the problem. We can be but a small part of the real development of physical structures. What we can do is bring people together. We can facilitate the conversation. We can advocate for quality, balanced housing that supports our community. Our event in October, Building Prosperity, aims to do just that, start a conversation. The goal is not to attack any person or group of people. It is not to simply promote Habitat building more Habitat homes. The goal is to get as many people as we can in ONE room and start a dialogue. We can build a prosperous community but it will be just that, built. It will not happen by accident.
Let’s figure this thing called housing out and support the folks that live, work, and play in Jackson County. Join us.