What is Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program?
Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization serves more families by responding to community aspirations with an expanded array of products, services, and partnerships, thereby empowering residents to revive their neighborhoods and enhance their quality of life. Neighborhood revitalization is not a change in Habitat’s mission because community building has always been a part of what we do. When Clarence Jordan was creating Partnership Housing (the precursor to Habitat for Humanity) he talked about building a neighborhood rather than just houses. Prior to the launch of Neighborhood Revitalization, Habitat affiliates across the country were already participating in neighborhood-based partnerships as the most effective and efficient way to serve as many families as possible. Habitat’s vision is to revitalize neighborhoods into vibrant, safe and inviting places to live for current and future residents. Revitalization happens through the hard work of engaged citizens, partnerships with civic and business groups and a renewed community spirit.
What is Habitat’s Home Preservation Program?
Our Home Preservation program provides painting, landscaping, and minor repair services for homeowners in need. It helps low-income homeowners reclaim their homes. Most important, the Home Preservation program is part of Habitat’s broader neighborhood revitalization strategy, a holistic approach that assists and stabilizes communities as well as families. It revitalizes the appearance of the neighborhood and strengthens connections within the community. Our Home Preservation program is about restoring neighborhoods one home at a time through simple acts of kindness. We have partnered our Home Preservation program with an Aging in Place initiative where we work with senior homeowners to ensure that their homes can support them as they age. A special assessment is done for the homes of seniors to determine what can be done to assist them in living comfortably in their homes, including the installation of grab bars, low-level carbon monoxide detectors, evaluation of trip hazards, and furnace servicing.
Does Habitat rehabilitate existing homes?
Yes! In 2015 HFHSLOCO began a Home Rehabilitation Program. Habitat’s Home Rehabilitation program and other housing products offer Habitat affiliates an opportunity to achieve several goals:
- Serve more families.
- Initiate partnerships with government and municipal entities.
- Partner with the community to curb the degradation of neighborhoods.
- Collaborate with other community organizations.
Government programs, scarcity of affordable building land, and the need to serve more families while conserving assets and revitalizing our cities’ aging neighborhoods have all sparked a newfound interest in rehabilitating existing homes. Home Rehabilitation is designed to support Habitat’s mission. By participating in home rehabs, HFHSLOCO has become a part of a new movement to expand Habitat’s capacity to help those in need of a safe and decent place to live. Our light is shining brighter as our work serving those in need is restoring hope and dignity to their lives. Homeowners wishing to apply to our Home Rehabilitation Program must have incomes between 30% and 80% of the county median income, and are selected based on their need for the home rehabilitation, the ability to pay a Habitat deed restricted loan, and a willingness to complete the required hours of sweat equity labor toward rehabilitation of their homes. The deed restricted loans are for a 20-40 year fixed period and are structured to ensure that homeowners pay no more than 30% of their gross monthly income for housing. Loans for a home rehabilitation will be approximately $45,000.
Does Habitat give away homes to poor people?
Habitat homes are sold to partner families. HFHSLOCO believes low-income families need a hand-up, not a hand out. Habitat works with very-low to low income families to build simple, decent, affordable houses. Families contribute 500 hours of sweat equity self-help labor on their homes during construction. Once the house is complete, it is sold to the family at or below cost with a no interest loan.
Why does Habitat advocate for homeownership?
Research studies show that homeowner benefits include wealth accumulation, improved safety and security for homeowner families and their neighborhoods, and improved health for homeowners and their children. Children who live in their own home are more likely to finish high school, go to college, and have reduced behavioral problems. In addition, owning a home has a beneficial effect on the surrounding communities because homeowners are more likely to become involved in civic and community activities. Homeownership provides independence from subsidized support for future generations.
Where does the money come from to build a Habitat house?
Habitat homes are built with donations of money and materials and are built or repaired using volunteer labor. Although we receive some grants from government sources, we are not a government agency. We do not receive funds from Habitat for Humanity International. HFHSLOCO depends on the generosity of the community to raise the money needed to build. Houses can be sponsored by corporations, businesses, groups, individuals, or faith communities.
Is HFHSLOCO part of a church?
No. While HFHSLOCO is an ecumenical, Christian housing ministry, people of all faiths, and those with no religious affiliation, are invited to help build, volunteer, or participate in our activities and programs.
What has Habitat accomplished in San Luis Obispo County?
In 2013 Habitat launched its Neighborhood Revitalization effort in Sierra Bonita Village, a senior community in Paso Robles. Partnering with residents, community organizations, the Paso Police Department, the Paso Senior Center and others, Habitat has created a coalition that is working on revitalizing and sustaining the neighborhood. These efforts include repairs on the community infrastructure, addressing fraud and identity theft issues, and maintaining homes through Habitat’s home preservation program. Habitat’s Home Preservation program was launched in 2013. It provides minor repair and maintenance assistance to homes owned by low-income families. To date Habitat has worked on 14 home preservation projects. Since 2003, we have built 17 homes in the County: 1 in Cambria, 3 in Paso Robles, 4 in Atascadero, 4 in Grover Beach, and 5 in San Luis Obispo. Habitat currently owns property in Arroyo Grande on which we hope to build 7-8 more houses.
How can I help?
There are many ways you can contribute to eradicating generational poverty and poverty housing. We need volunteers to help with our construction programs, to work in our ReStores, or to be part of our neighborhood revitalization work. Donations of items for resale at our ReStores and cash donations are also essential to our success. Sign up online to volunteer.