No one should have to choose between decent shelter and food, or staying warm through the winter months, having adequate roofing, or taking a sick child to the doctor. Everyday families in our community are forced to make these choices.
Because low-income working families spend the largest portion of their income on housing, providing affordable homes is the single greatest service that makes a dramatic and lasting impact. Experts say when recipients of emergency food are asked what their primary issue is, most often the answer is the lack of affordable housing. This is especially true for places where rental housing is expensive or in poor condition, like rentals in Jackson County.
The social effects can be just as dangerous as the health threats to families living in unsafe and unstable housing units. The adults of low income families often shoulder the weight of multiple jobs, thus isolating family members from one another. Low income wage earners living in poverty housing often move frequently, always trying to find better and less expensive housing arrangements. When families move from place to place, daily life is continually unsettled, and emotional support is stressed. Children who continually change schools are less likely to develop solid emotional relationships, they under-perform in their studies and less likely to complete their education. Children of poverty housing situations are less likely to participate in extracurricular activities, don’t have social bonding with friends and are targets for gang recruitment. As a result, they often miss out on continued education or future job opportunities and the cycle of poverty continues.
Habitat Partner Families work and pay for their homes. They invest a minimum of 500 hours of sweat equity including homeowner education as they help to construct their home and learn to become responsible homeowners. Habitat families pay back the cost of construction with a 30 year, no interest mortgage. Habitat homeowners become responsible community members paying property taxes, and home maintenance costs. The Habitat program is truly a hand up opportunity.
At the Rogue Valley affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, it’s more than just building homes, it’s also about building hope for families and hope for the future of our community. Habitat and community volunteers work alongside our partner families. All learn valuable skills and build new relationships. When people of all incomes and backgrounds come together for house construction or work at our ReStore, they begin building a stronger community for the future.
Watch this Habitat for Humanity Why We Build video