It’s our 25th Anniversary, and while there are hundreds of reasons to love this non-profit, here are 25 of my favorite reasons:
- We help people, who might otherwise never experience homeownership. Our typical payment is between $400 and $600 a month (includes taxes and insurance). A typical rent is double that!
- We only require $1,000 as a down payment. People seeking a conventional mortgage must save 20% and that often takes years!
- We work with folks regarding their credit scores. It is not unusual to see applicants come in with a 600 score and work their way upwards from there by closing.
- Most partner families must volunteer 250 hours of sweat equity if they are in the program. However, we waive it for our veterans. They have served their time, and we want to show them how much we appreciate all they have done for us and their country!
- We require no one to pray to enter our program. We believe that because we are a Christian-based organization, the very act of helping others meets our mission. We welcome all people!
- Approximately 1,400 volunteers helped us last year. We could not accomplish our mission and goals without those great folks!
- Our Board of Directors are amazing. Did you know that 1/3 represent the folks we serve? Yes! And the remaining men and women are true leaders in our community.
- The staff, by the same token, are also amazing. We have leaders who are extremely dedicated to their work, often leaving weeks of paid vacation on the table, to meet the mission.
- One of our employees, Dave Tirsell, has travelled the world building for Habitat. In September he will visit his 14th country – the Dominican Republic. That will be his 19th build! Lila, his wife, designed a t-shirt for him that listed all the builds. I think it’s time for another!
- We are not afraid of change. We have changed our locations; our offices; our approach. About two years ago we dissolved our Finance Department and contracted with RDM and Associates. They have many employees who work behind the scenes to serve us. While we miss our former dedicated and talented staff, this was a decision that cost us less money and garnered more staff.
- The children of Habitat homeowners do better in school than children whose parents so not own homes.
- 150 families are living in their own homes because of our Habitat affiliate. That means 150 families are paying taxes and bolstering their communities.
- We partner with Dakota High School and Clinton Township to build one home a year. This gives young construction-minded students great experience, and we have a home in as a result, that will be sold to a partner family.
- We could not be who we are today without the support of Macomb County, and the cities of Warren, Clinton Township and Sterling Heights. Their funding support has been amazing.
- We believe in “friend-raising” as much as we believe in “fund-raising.”
- We have two ReStores. Both are located on Van Dyke. One is at 9 and the other is at 20 ½. Mile Roads.
- ReStores save the environment because product that might have ended up in landfills is donated and recycled to other families for a small cost.
- Proceeds from the ReStores help with operational and building expenses.
- We pick up your sellable items for FREE.
- We arrange for delivery of your purchases for a small fee of $30.
- Did you know we have a program that provides exterior repair services to low-income families? I love this program because it helps with ramps, window replacement, door replacement and other exterior projects.
- One of our biggest donors is Thrivent Financial. They have helped us with 21 homes – donating $1.2 million dollars. Wowser!
- We strongly value diversity at our affiliate. Our staff, board, and families are very different. We hope to serve immigrant families as well as those who have been in the Macomb area for a lifetime.
- We work cooperatively with other Habitats, often sharing Best Practices.
- We love the mission of providing community, hope and homes to our families. Where else can you work or serve where people cry when they cut the ribbon to their new front doors? We are truly blessed and humble to be a part of this great and magnificent place.
My list could go on and on, but these are my top 25 reasons why I love our Habitat!
With every best wish,
President and CEO