What does a safe, decent home mean in 2020? A place to sleep, educate your children, work, or shelter from a pandemic and air made unhealthy from fires? A safe, decent home in 2020 means everything.
This year has brought unprecedented hardships on our community, as COVID-19 has forced countless families, seniors and veterans to shelter in place in housing that is overcrowded, unsafe, and unhealthy. Facing unparalleled severity and challenges, Habitat has doubled-down with steadfast and fierce commitment to do what we do best: bring people together and build forward.
Following the March shelter-in-place ordinances, we furloughed 90% of the Habitat staff. We built back – and by December 31st, we will have impacted over 3,500 individuals this year through ongoing build, repair, and community projects. We helped 95-year-old WWII Veteran Willard Ingraham and his 94-year-old wife Juanita with critical home repairs so they could stay in their home and age in place with dignity. We gave the Omars, a family of 7, the opportunity to move from an overcrowded two bedroom apartment into an affordable, healthy home where their children can study and thrive. Front line medical worker and single mom Sandra Granados and her three daughters are also among the many families and dozens of children who now have a warm, safe home to spend the holidays.
A hand-up, not handout — every life changing Habitat home is built with 500 hours of sweat equity from our partner families and is purchased by the family for a 30-year, 0% interest equivalent mortgage. But it takes more than sweat equity and hope to raise walls, it takes a community.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a low-income family must clock more than 103 hours per week at minimum wage — more than 2.5 full-time jobs — to afford a one-bedroom apartment. For a two-bedroom apartment, it takes 127 hours per week or more than three full-time jobs. At the close of Habitat’s 35th year, even as we celebrate the recent completion of our 100th home repair over the five years of our repair program; as we celebrate keeping our doors open amid a global pandemic, one thing is exceedingly clear – we need to keep building — for families like the Omar family and Granados family, while they fight for better futures for their children; for Veterans like Willard so they are not forgotten in their old age. We need to keep building for all of us.
We hope you will consider donating to Habitat this holiday season to help us keep building homes and hope during a time when our community needs us – and you – most.
To make a contribution, please visit Give.Classy.org/SacHabitat.
Thank you for being a part of our Habitat family! Happy Holidays!
Leah Miller, President and CEO
To get involved as an organization or learn more about partnership opportunities for home sponsorship or events, contact Laine Himmelmann at LHimmelmann@HabitatGreaterSac.org or (916) 440-1215 ext. 1108!