Habitat for Humanity (Habitat) is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities through their local Habitat affiliates across the United States, and in approximately 70 countries. Since its founding in 1991 Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County (Habitat Mesa) builds because its vision is a community, a world, where everyone, everywhere has a decent place to live through shelter. The mission of Habitat and its affiliates is to build safe, decent, affordable housing for God's people in need.
Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County (Habitat Mesa) was incorporated in March 1990 by a VISTA volunteer who had been working for the Colorado Coalition for the homeless. This volunteer saw the need for a community-based affordable housing program for hardworking, low to middle income families in Mesa County, and reached out to Habitat for Humanity International (Habitat). By the end of 1990, the Habitat Mesa affiliate was able to purchase 3 lots. The first house was completed and dedicated to the new Habitat Homeowner in October of 1991. As of 2019, Habitat has built 79 homes for deserving, hard-working families in Mesa County, and partners with up to 4 families in the Homeownership Program each year. In 2020, Habitat Mesa broke ground on its Phase III of the John Hoffman subdivision with another 24 homes to be built.
How Habitat builds is just as important as what it builds. Habitat's Homeownership Program is based on three simple criteria: need, willingness to partner with Habitat to build your own home, and the ability to repay a zero percent interest mortgage.
Habitat homes that are built are sold at no profit to each new homeowner and financed with afford 15-30 year, interest-free mortgages - making homeownership attainable for individuals who otherwise would not qualify for traditional financing. Habitat houses are also built with a contribution of at least five hundred volunteer hours of "sweat equity" on the part of the soon to be Habitat Homeowner(s). By investing themselves, they are building a foundation of stability, self-reliance and financial security.
Habitat Mesa also brings together people with varied skills and economic backgrounds. Working side-by-side with future homeowners, volunteers invest time, money, materials, and their expertise into building Habitat homes. This partnership between homeowners and volunteers extends beyond the immediate impact of building a house together; it establishes new relationships and an appreciation of giving back to community. Most importantly, Habitat is able to accomplish their mission through generous donations of volunteering, financial support, in-kind services, and donated materials.
Habitat Mesa has since evolved from a volunteer, non-profit organization to a staff of 11 full-time, 7 part-time and 1 contract employee and the Habitat ReStore. Opened in 2003, Habitat ReStore (a non-profit retail outlet) has been Habitat Mesa's retail home improvement store that provides financial support to cover the majority of the administrative and operating expenses.
Habitat and its affiliates have an open-door policy: All who believe that everyone needs a decent, affordable place to live are welcome to help with the work, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views or any of the other distinctions that too often divide people. In short, Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and also serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion.
As a matter of policy, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliated organizations do not proselytize. This means that Habitat will not offer assistance on the expressed or implied condition that people must either adhere to or convert to a particular faith, or listen and respond to messaging designed to induce conversion to a particular faith.
FOR MY CHILDREN… A PLACE TO CALL HOME
Between her job as a Licensed Practical Nurse, and raising her two children, daughter Khloe and son Ryder, Veronica never stops moving. It is her loving dedication to her children that motivates her as she works toward becoming a first-time homeowner. She relates, "I worked hard at nursing school that lead to a career as an LPN and I am now looking forward to having the title of homeowner through Habitat."
Working hard comes naturally to Veronica, and her work ethic will drive her throughout this new journey to achieve homeownership with Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County. A family member told Veronica about the Habitat Homeowership Program. She applied after completing nursing school so she could be in a better position financially, and succeed in Habitat's Homeownership program. Her current living situation is a small two bedroom apartment without any play area for her kids. With the lack of appropriately sized and affordably priced housing, families like Veronica's find it hard to find safe, decent housing with play area for kids in Mesa County. For Veronica, a Habitat home was the answer.
Although Veronica is nervous about the responsibility of homeownership, she is excited about her partnership with Habitat for many reasons. She is eager to put her money into her own house instead of paying rent that does not build any equity for her. She enjoys being on the build site and at the Habitat ReStore and meeting new people along the way who believe in her dreams. And, she appreciates having the opportunity to provide a safe haven for her children so they can grow into mature adults and create fond memories. Veronica expresses, "It will be an absolute Dream to give my son and daughter their very own space by way of having their own room and stuff and a place they can always come home to! And, now I'll get to make their dreams come true".
To Veronica, owning her own home means a sense of safety and security, investment in her family's future, feeling of community in their soon to be new neighborhood and a great personal achievement. Veronica tells, "Partnering with Habitat has meant so much to me, especially when I see the volunteers and our community come together to help me and my kids build our future Habitat home, which is truly amazing."