Building Homes Building Community
|A family receives a new home. Photo credit: Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven does more than renovate and build affordable homes for low-income families. It also builds community.
A team of volunteers works side by side with the homeowners-to-be during all phases of each construction project. And when a home is finished and the new owners move in, the neighborhood gains both an improved property and a stable family.
“We try to put our homes in places where there is one bad house or vacant lot, or we will take a bad block and try to buy and rehab as many houses as we can,” says executive director William Casey. “That way it’s a stabilizing influence on the neighborhood. And when our homeowners are close to each other they can support each other.”
More than three-decades old, Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven started at a time when the population was declining in the city and neighborhoods were deteriorating. Now, the trends are reversed. With more people moving back to the urban core, however, affordable housing is a problem for many families.
To qualify for a Habitat home, a family of four can have an annual income of no more than $45,000. The family must also have good credit, commit to 400 hours of sweat equity, and complete a formal application and interview process.
|Volunteers on the job site. Photo credit: Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven.
Once selected, the family signs a 25-year mortgage that is held by Habitat and offered at a zero interest rate.
“We have a very close relationship with all of our families, says Casey.
Habitat is supported by a combination of corporate and foundation grants, earned revenue, state and individual contributions. The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven supplied the organization’s first grant, which was used to hire a professional carpenter to direct the volunteer workers and to work alone when there were no volunteers available.
Since its founding Habitat has built or rehabilitated more than 100 homes, work that Casey says would not have been possible without the help of volunteers.
“We’re always looking for people to contribute either as a volunteer or with donated supplies,” Casey says.
|Ready for occupancy. Photo credit: Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven.
To learn more Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven, visit its profile on giveGreater.org.
Did you know?
In addition to helping others, you can learn construction skills from a trained professional when you volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.