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Blog - Habitat for Humanity of Wake County

Housing Gap

Lisa Rowe, executive director of local non-profit Families Together recently wrote an excellent op-ed piece published in the News & Observer.  A former colleague of mine from Habitat for Humanity International, Lisa knows first hand-through her work at Families Together the struggle of families facing homeless in our local community.

http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article172287507.html

Land Use Restrictions are Costly

The cost of housing is skyrocketing in many metropolitan area across the country and, as Wake County grows, we’re experiencing those effects here as well. In an opinion piece published by the New York Times, two economics professors describe how land use restrictions contribute to increasing housing costs.

According to the article, “growing regulatory costs, delays, and opposition from neighboring homeowners… has significantly reduced the development of new housing stock, especially in cities where the economy is strongest.”

The authors argue that these challenges have stunted wage and gross domestic product growth in American cities by 50% in 50 years!

Affordable housing is critical to the success of communities, but also to the nation as a whole. Developing smart growth policies would encourage more affordable housing to be built, which would largely benefit America’s middle-class workers.

Check out the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/opinion/housing-regulations-us-economy.html?ref=opinion

Together, let’s help Harvey Residents rebuild

Our hearts go out to the Houston residents starting their recovery from Hurricane Harvey. We’ve been in touch with Houston Habitat about helping them, and learned that they have more than 100 homeowners with acute needs. To help Houston Habitat homeowners rebuild, please donate at http://houstonhabitat.org/donate/

Habitat International President Jonathan Reckford also offered special prayers to all victims of the devastating storm and floods.

Lord of all compassion
We pray for all of those caught up in the midst of tragedy or disaster.
For those who have lost life and those working to save life
For those who are worried for people they love
For those who will see their loved ones no longer
Lord Have Mercy.

For those in need of the peace that passes all understanding
For all who turn to you in the midst of turmoil
For those who cry out to you in fear and in love
Lord Have Mercy.

For those in confusion and those in despair
For those whose tears are yet to dry
For those in need of your unending love
Lord Have Mercy.

Amen.

Blessings,

Racial Wealth Disparity

The wealth gap in the United States when analyzed by race is staggering.  The Economic Policy Institute concludes in their publication, The State of Working America, that two-thirds of a typical household’s wealth comes from housing equity.  Homeownership not only provides a family with a safe, stable, and secure place to live, but it is also the chief driver of wealth-building in our country.  Access to wealth and capital is the primary way to break the cycle of poverty.  Check out this graphic from the Economic Policy Institute.

Many thanks to Samuel Gunter at the North Carolina Housing Coalition for gathering this information.

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Bringing People Together

I used to live close to Charlottesville and had a hand in starting the Habitat affiliate there in the early ’90’s, so the events over the past weekend feel very personal on many levels. Habitat International President and CEO Jonathan Reckford’s words are are a good message in response, as are Habitat Charlottesville’s CEO Dan Rosensweig’s words, as both tie the hatred and violence on display in Charlottesville back to similar activities surrounding Habitat founding organization, Koinonia Farm back in the 1950’s and ’60’s. Racial justice and bringing people together has always been at the center of Habitat for Humanity’s work. I pray that we can continue to be a light to the world as we faithfully respond to God’s call in our work.
Statement by Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford on the
Violence in Charlottesville, Virginia

August 17, 2017

Last Saturday morning, as white nationalists gathered for their march of hate in Charlottesville, a very different group of people were gathering less than a mile away. On that city’s Charlton Avenue, members of seven local churches had joined together to lay the floor trusses on the foundation of the community’s newest Habitat home.

Those Habitat volunteers—and thousands more working that same morning across the country and world—had come together to share a vision starkly different than those who seek to divide us. Our vision is one that is welcoming to all. Our vision embraces diverse views. Our vision knows that no matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to have a decent life. Our vision says that every one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future.

As the forces of hate converged on Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park to tear us apart, Habitat’s spirit of inclusivity and understanding were working to bring us together.

The racism, bigotry and violence on display sickened and saddened me. I know I join the Habitat community in rejecting that hate, because those actions and voices run counter to everything we believe. As a Christian organization that welcomes people of all faiths and no faith, inclusivity is who we are. It’s what makes us a strong community, and it’s those same values that make us a strong nation.

As a lifelong Christian, I want to be clear: the white nationalists, neo-Nazis, KKK and their supporters who descended on Charlottesville have rejected the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Habitat for Humanity stands firmly against their words, actions and any suggestion that theirs is a legitimate grievance. We applaud and honor those who put their own well-being at risk to reject this hatred. We share in the nation’s grief in the tragic loss of Heather Heyer, whose life was taken while she was standing to protect others. We mourn for Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen III and Trooper-Pilot Berke M. M. Bates, who lost their lives while protecting and serving their community.

The hate-motivated acts we saw this weekend do not define us as Americans, or as citizens of the world. And they don’t define Charlottesville either.

Because even while that city grieves, there are forces of love hard at work. Later today, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville will break ground on a community of affordable housing that will give 14 families the opportunity for a better future. Dan Rosensweig, the CEO of this affiliate, shares these words:

We don’t have answers as to why the kinds of evil and hatred experienced in Charlottesville this week exist in the world, but we do know these three things: People who are swinging a hammer are not swinging a stick or a flag pole. When we are given the opportunity to work side by side with someone from a different background, we inevitably replace fear with a shared sense of purpose and humanity. And when we commit to listening without judgment, we all inspire people to be guided by their better angels. [Click here for Dan’s full letter.] 

Dan is right. Every nail hammered, every wall raised, is a rejection of hate and a step toward the future where everyone—irrespective of class, color or creed—has a decent life.

Blessings,

Jonathan T. M. Reckford
Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity International

11 AUGUST 2017 | YAY, TOWN OF CARY

At last night’s meeting, the Town of Cary Town Council approved an additional $137,500 in funding for our Trimble Avenue project to bring seven new affordable homeownership units to the Town.  This brings the Town’s total funding commitment to $420,000 for this important project.  Thanks to the Council members for their belief that affordable housing is important in the overall fabric of Cary life.

We are excited for the seven families who will eventually become homeowners and contribute in many ways to the Cary community!

15 JUNE 2017 | WAGES & HOUSING

Wages for low income workers have been stagnant for the last many years while housing costs continue to rise rapidly.  Check out this editorial from this morning’s editorial in the Raleigh News & Observer:

http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article156214079.html

At our recent Habitat for Humanity of Wake County Board of Directors meeting, Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes described housing affordability as a crisis in our community as we discussed the ongoing Forest Hills Apartments situation where 126 families were being evicted from their affordable rental units and told that their housing subsidy vouchers would no longer be accepted once the property was upgraded.

With stagnant wage growth and rapidly rising housing costs due to a lack of affordable supply, Commissioner Holmes uses the right term when she calls the situation a critical one.  Help Habitat Wake grow to meet the need!