For over a year Ms. Butts has been working diligently in our New Homeowner Program to prepare for this moment. The moment when the construction of her home begins. She is a single mother of three awesome kids and is ready to start this new chapter in her life.
As an organization, we are thrilled to have Ms. Butts as a future homeowner. She exemplifies hard work and dedication to this process. As you know, being a Habitat Homeowner is not easy. In fact, it is much more time consuming than regular homeownership. Find more info in our last post HERE.
When talking with the group of donors and sponsors at the groundbreaking ceremony Ms. Butts shyly said, “Thank you, just thank you for this opportunity.” While she is quiet her grin was screaming excitement. This is a life-changing opportunity for Ms. Butts and her children and she knows it. She and her family have been in the Jackson County community their entire lives. Since Ms. Butts has been taking care of her three kids she has not been able to maintain consistent living arrangements. The rent costs are incredibly high for a family of four. Even with her working full time the amount going to housing each month was well over the recommended average for sustainable living, 30%. Rental properties are hard to find, especially those that are safe for three young children. In many cases, a savings account was foregone for rent and other living expenses, namely caring for her children.
74% of Habitat Homeowners are better able to save money after moving into their home.
Now, in a partnership with Jackson County Habitat for Humanity, Ms. Butts is getting the opportunity to build and buy her own home. A home that will remain affordable, not exceeding 1/3 of her income. This home is a launching pad for her as well as her children as they make their way through school and on to the next phases of their lives. Lives are being changed in this program and right now its time for the Butts family.
98% of Habitat Homeowners feel their quality of life is as good or better than before buying a home.
Before this build gets into full swing we need to thank the sponsors responsible for making it happen.
– 12Stone Church
– Jackson EMC Foundation
– Publix Super Markets Charities
– TranSouth Logistics
– First Commerce Bank
Let’s build a house!!
P.S. – If you or your business is interested in getting involved in our building efforts please contact Kelly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-387-0242.
The homeownership program with Habitat for Humanity is unique. For starters, there are many misconceptions and misnomers when it comes to the partnership that we have with our homeowners. They are just that, homeowners. The process looks remarkably like a traditional home buying scenario. The same regulations that your typical mortgage lender follow are the same ones that we follow throughout the process. We are certified, loan originators, within the confines of the organization. All of the notices and red tape still exists and our homeowner partners sign a promissory note and security deed at the completion of the build, just like every other homeowner.
While the differences between our program and traditional home buying are minimal, they tend to make the process more difficult, not easier. Things our homeowners must do:
-Apply, qualify, submit to a site visit, complete an in-person interview, be selected, sign homeowner agreement
-Complete 300 sweat equity hours, attend six financial classes, one on one coaching with our Family Services Manager, help build their house
The End (or more realistically, the start):
-Enter a 6 month lease period to ensure a smooth transition, close on the home and begin paying an affordable mortgage
This message is important, our families are HOMEOWNERS. Our program is truly a partnership. It cannot be one-sided. As an organization, we require a strong level of buy-in because that is where change happens. When our goal is to end generational poverty the program cannot be lax. Accountability matters and our homeowners rise to that challenge.
*GET READY FOR HOUSE 17 COMING SOON IN COMMERCE, GEORGIA*
How does the Habitat ReStore store play into the mission of our organization?
Our ReStore is first and foremost a fundraising tool. The purpose of opening and maintaining a store of that size is to generate revenue. Those revenues go directly into our annual budget. Currently, we use those funds to cover as much overhead and general operations as possible and we are able to cover 90% of all general operating with ReStore proceeds. We consider this a tremendous blessing to the overall mission of JC Habitat for Humanity. The Store allows us to fundraise directly for programs and services, including our new construction, home maintenance, large repairs, and homeowner education.
Our Store has one full-time manager and four part-time team members. These individuals are the glue that holds the store together. We love and encourage volunteerism at the Store as well as offer a safe space for people to complete community service hours. With the store occupying more than 15,000 square feet and being open six days a week its operations are no accident. It requires considerable intentionality to make that thing tick. The ReStore carries everything from basic household accessories and clothes, to large furniture and building supplies. It truly is a place to find everything.
Why should you donate to our Store?
Because we value your gift. It means so much to us that you would choose our mission to support with your donations. In addition, you’ll get a donation receipt AND we do free pickups!
Why should you buy from our Store?
First, the money you spend in our store has many different paths. You could be supporting the staff serving you. You could be purchasing building materials for a much-needed project. You could even be supporting vulnerable mothers and children in developing countries. That’s right, because we are Christian housing ministry and believe in the power of tithing, we give a portion of our revenues every year to orphans and vulnerable groups in other countries. These funds are used to provide food, water, and shelter for those in desperate need worldwide. We want to be as transparent as possible with the use of our funds and our board and staff collectively do a wonderful job of stewarding the dollars that are raised at the ReStore.
Why we don’t negotiate prices-
We are serious when we say that we are fundraising for a mission and purpose. Our Store is not a junk store nor is it a place for you to get your bargaining fix. We take our product seriously and let’s be honest the prices are already ridiculously low, often 75% or more off market value. We will not devalue our mission to provide safe, decent housing on the basis of price negotiation. The prices will drop in accordance with the length of time on the sales floor. While this may come across as stern please understand that our top priority is to carry out the mission of Habitat for Humanity in Jackson County.
Hopefully, you made it this far. Can you tell we are passionate about our ReStore and its purpose in our organization? We hope that through this post you have learned about and gained an appreciation for our ReStore. Come see us!
Meet the Cofer family. They have been married for almost thirty-nine years and seventeen years ago they became Jackson County Residents. We received their application as a referral from Jackson EMC as they were in need of a handicap ramp. This particular project was tough to complete due to nasty weather conditions. It seemed like every week brought rain or frigid temperatures, things our volunteers and staff are awesome for enduring. This family was phenomenal to partner with.
As a reminder, each family signs a partnership agreement prior to the work being done to ensure they understand the scope of the project and the costs associated. No project is free. Our partner families contribute a down payment of $50 and then agree to make affordable, interest-free, payments on materials costs. The payback is determined by their income and often times families only pay a portion of the costs back to JCHFH. It requires faithful donors to help with the upfront costs to make these projects sustainable.
Back to the Cofer’s, while they were not able to assist, physically in the building of their ramp they did take their sweat equity seriously. On several occasions, they have provided coffee, lunch, and brownies to our worker bees as an additional thank you/payment. It is not every day that we see this level of generosity from our partner families. The Cofer’s were just SO thankful for each person that came to give time to make their home more accessible. Unfortunately, Mr. Cofer has had to make a few hospital visits lately but it goes to show the effectiveness and need of our program. They truly needed this ramp and again, our donors made it possible for us to act quickly.
These stories are not fiction. Mrs. Cofer is beyond sweet and forever grateful as is her husband and they really needed our help. Jackson County Habitat for Humanity exists for this very reason. And our leadership is working diligently to grow this organization in a way that ensures more families like the Cofer’s can get the help they so desperately need.
If you have not given to support this cause now is the time. We would love for you to join us in this effort. Jump over to our Hope Builders Club page to find out how.