Featured Grant Story: Habitat for Humanity
What is Habitat for Humanity?
Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to the idea that all people deserve a safe and decent house to live in. Working with funding and supplies collected from individual donations, churches or organizations, Habitat’s strength comes from volunteers and Habitat families who do almost all the building. From pouring foundation to putting on roofs, Habitat volunteers work in unity from start to finish creating a sold home for Habitat families. Habitat depends on the skills, dedication, time, and energy of volunteers to build homes.
They do not offer a hand out to families in need, but rather, a hand up. It is their goal to provide families with a safe and comfortable place to live, as well as a place to call home. Habitat families are chosen based on need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner. They are also required to put in 500 hours of volunteer time either on their home or another Habitat home in the area. Families purchase these homes at a 20 year, no interest mortgage with affordable monthly payments to Habitat for Humanity. These payments are then recycled to help build more homes in Lubbock.
Habitat for Humanity works to address problems surrounding affordable home ownership for low to moderate income individuals and families. Low to moderate income is defined as between 30% and 60% of the median income for Lubbock. Habitat’s goal is to provide these families with simple, decent, affordable homes.
Prior to selling a house Habitat requires all prospective homeowners to attend classes designed to provide individuals and families with the knowledge to be a successful homeowner. Prospective homeowners also need to do “sweat equity” by building either their home or another Habitat home.
Habitat for Humanity in Action
Jackie and her two children, Michael (age 6) and Jayla (age 3), lived in a bedroom at Jackie’s grandmother’s house. Everyday Jackie had to pack and unpack her valuables; in the morning she would place them in the trunk of her car and in the evening, she would place them back in the bedroom. Even though Jackie’s bedroom door had a lock on it items still came up missing.
Jackie had heard about Habitat for Humanity but was unsure if she would qualify. The team at Habitat for Humanity considered Jackie’s needs of three people living in one bedroom in a relative’s house that had security issues. Building her own home helped Jackie to realize how capable she really is.
“I had no idea that I was capable of doing a lot of the things I am doing. I love it. For approximately a year, I have worked doing my sweat equity. I have done my sweat equity while working full time, going to school, and training to become a successful Lubbock police office candidate,” Jackie stated.
“Doing my sweat equity on the construction site taught me how to build a fence, put up walls, etc. While doing my construction hours, I got to know other prospective Habitat homeowners. I attend Homeowner Education classes which provide me with a variety of knowledge that is preparing me to be a successful homeowner,” she told the team at Habitat for Humanity.
“The best thing about my upcoming homeownership is an overall general sense of security. Just knowing that it’s ours, and we make all the decisions – it’s really comforting for my family to know it will be our home.”