Founded in 1976, by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) is a non-profit, non-governmental, charitable, faith-based and non-denominational Christian organization whose mission is to "help provide all of God's children with affordable housing."
Nearly two decades ago Habitat for Humanity came to Delta County.
A group of individuals concerned about substandard housing and homelessness in Delta County established HFH of Delta County in 1994.
Since its establishment, HFH of Delta County has built:
• a subdivision of four homes on Riley Lane in Delta;
• moved a home that was donated to the site and remodeled it;
• renovated a home in Cedaredge on Birch Avenue (a bank repossession that was purchased and renovated); and
• renovated a home on Howard Street in Delta that was donated to help Drug Free Delta County (DFDC) provide transitional housing for its clients.
According to Pam Bliss, volunteer coordinator for DFDC, "Habitat for Humanity partnered with Drug Free Delta County in the creation of Hope House, the first transitional housing available in Delta and the first step in recovery for clients of DFDC. When Habitat for Humanity was offered a house in foreclosure by Wells Fargo Bank, they happily accepted the project. Habitat approached Drug Free Delta County with the possibility of a partnership; Habitat would pay for the materials to rehab the property and Drug Free Delta County would share in the labor. This collaboration proved very successful and today Hope House is giving clients in recovery a safe refuge from the world of drugs."
The Delta affiliate has also helped renovate a home in Lazear and helped to put a roof over a mobile home in Eckert. And, with recently added programs, the affiliate is now in a position to do smaller jobs (handicap access, new roofing, etc.) via their Good Neighbor and A Brush With Kindness programs. They are also working with other housing assistance programs on renovations and remodeling in Paonia and other areas in the county.
The original board of directors of Habitat for Humanity of Delta County included Jerry Kenner, Kathleen Yates, Bruce Croft, Barbara Sanford, Rhoda Ziegler, Tom Cooper, Jean McHugh, Rev. Steve Reinhard, Jayme Gergely, Brenda Toole, Perry Hotz, Terry Hotz, Bob Borchardt, Fr. Nathaniel Foshage, OSB, Ron Scott and Mark Koroshetz.
Perry Hotz, president of HFH of Delta County, said the current board members, (Tana Carrillo, Debbie Laity, Glen Austin, Ken Christenson, Norm Prettyman, Roger Fulks, Tate Locke, Tom Harding, and Fred Davenport), have chosen to keep the local affiliate a grassroots organization, with no government funding, using only monies raised from fundraisers, non-governmental grants, donations from individuals and other organizations, and utilizing volunteer labor to the extent possible and an all-volunteer board.
In addition to buying the land, building and/or renovating affordable homes in Delta County, HFH of Delta County also tithes to HFHI. "Our tithes have been used to help eight families obtain Habitat homes in other countries," said Hotz.
Alma Morales, a member of a partner family, offered praise for HFH of Delta County. "My family received a house in 2007 on a Thanksgiving weekend. It was most special. The way I see it I got blessed with a house," said Morales. "People always ask me if it is a free house and I tell them, no, I have to pay 25 percent of my income.
"I am very grateful. Without Habitat I wouldn't have the income to purchase a house through the banks. It was a blessing to make it possible. Our lives have changed completely. We are a very thankful family."
Perry said HFH of Delta County welcomes new board members and volunteers to work on the homes, and people willing to work on fundraisers. And of course all donations are always welcome. And now, because land is one of the most expensive parts of the project, Perry said they are always in search of donated or low-cost real estate.
HFH of Delta County has received two homes which were donated and renovated, and one vacant lot that can be used in the future.
"And remember," noted Perry, "all donations are tax deductible, just ask for a donation receipt."
Credit for its success goes to the affiliate's board of directors (both past and present), for their dedication, time and effort and to the many volunteers, business and individual donors, the local community and others for their support.
Other important things to remember — HFH of Delta County is not an arm of the government. It is an independent, non-profit organization that accepts funds from local and other resources to help provide houses for those in need; HFHI does not dictate or establish eligibility criteria for local affiliates. Affiliates operate within the framework of the Habitat Affiliate Covenant in a specific service area, but remain independently run, non-profit organizations; Each affiliate coordinates all aspects of Habitat home building in its service area, including fundraising, building site selection, partner family selection and support, house construction and mortgage servicing.
The Habitat program is about home ownership and providing a long-term solution designed to break the poverty cycle. It is a "helping hand" and not a "handout."
Once accepted into the program, "partner families" are required to put in hundreds of hours of "sweat equity" on their future home and/or other Habitat-sponsored service projects before being allowed to purchase their new home.
"Sweat equity" is the number of hours the partner families spend helping to build their future home. Sweat equity also reduces the cost of building or renovating a home, by reducing paid labor costs.
Once the home is built or renovated, HFH provides a non-profit (Habitat's cost), interest-free mortgage via innovative financing methods for those qualifying families who would otherwise not be able to purchase a home.
Additionally, according to the HFH website, "time spent building their own homes instills a sense of pride and ownership, teaching the basic building and house-maintenance skills that are necessary for home ownership."
In 1984, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn gave HFH the proverbial shot-in-the-arm when they took their first Habitat work trip to New York City. Their personal involvement brought the organization national visibility, sparking interest in Habitat's work across the nation.
Since then, HFHI has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of new affiliates around the country, expanding to more than 1,500 towns and cities in the U.S., Canada and 57 other countries, building and or renovating more than 600,000 houses worldwide.
Donations can be made through the website, or by mail to HFH of Delta County, P.O. Box 62, Cedaredge, CO 81413.blog comments powered by Disqus