Habitat for Humanity is well-known for one thing: building houses. But that’s not all we do. Did you know that Habitat does not give houses away? Every home built by Habitat volunteers is sold to a recipient at a price they can afford.
At Habitat we believe that every person regardless of race, religion or background deserves safe, affordable housing. In Kentucky, our need is at record numbers for people living in conditions unfit for humans.
Imagine if you could see the outside between the wall and window of your home? When the weather is cold, it’s nearly uninhabitable. People deserve to live without wildlife coming into their home, without energy bills that consume more than half of their paycheck. Our veterans are suffering. Whether they fought in Vietnam, Desert Storm or any of the recent conflicts, they deserve to come home to a…home. Their family deserves a safe place to live with a functioning roof and an energy-efficient HVAC system. Don’t all people deserve this?
Habitat for Humanity fights hard for these rights - not just with a hammer, but with action on Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, Habitat representatives from across the country joined for “Habitat on the Hill.” We met with legislators to discuss the need for affordable housing and to describe the squalor and substandard housing to which our elderly, people with special needs and veterans are subjected. We were proud to be their voice.
Throughout our meetings, we explained that there’s a real difference between a younger vet and those who served years ago. Though some were able to come back and settle into their life, some have deteriorated health, they have homes that cannot function for them anymore. Some cannot get in or out of their own home, they can’t take a normal shower because they can’t get in and out of their traditional tub. Many live in older homes or trailers with no space for a wheelchair, no ramps for entry. THIS IS WHAT HABITAT CAN PROVIDE.
This series of meetings resulted in the saving of the federal budget line items affiliated with affordable housing. Protecting this federal money serves the purpose - not just for Habitat recipients but for all affordable housing organizations throughout Kentucky and the United States.
There is not an elected official who isn’t familiar with Habitat and the power we have to change a person’s life in a community in which we live. But being on the Hill convinced these legislators that the funding needs to grow because the need has not gotten any less. The truth is, we may never be out of the woods. Habitat International CEO Jonathan Reckford says those who work for Habitat will always have jobs because we’ll never eliminate substandard housing. But, if we could get everyone someplace to live, that’s pretty radical.