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Abri Hochstetler

Celebrating 30 Years with Family

By | Events, From the CEO | No Comments

From the Desk of Jim Morris, President & CEO

How do you recognize 30 years of fulfilling our mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope? Our board, staff and Tiger Team (the men and women in orange that volunteer weekly) understand that our role in the mission is to “bring people together.” The families we are privileged to walk with in their journey to a better, healthier and more financially stable life in Greater Indianapolis are the reason we exist.

The families’ success is ultimately what matters most to us. While we have achieved a lot with them, we wanted to make our 30th anniversary about them, so what better way than to amp up our annual homeowner gathering aptly named “HabiFest.” Since we were founded in 1987, we decided to return to the 80’s with a throw-back party at Skateland. Watch the video below for a recap or view photos from the event!

More than 200 family members joined us as the older adults channeled their inner 12 year-old and the kids outshone us on the skating rink. There was some fantastic 80’s attire and our families said it was the best HabiFest we have hosted.

While the event was a huge success with our largest turnout, we also paused to reflect on the 85 families that have now fully paid off their 0% mortgage. Our generous sponsors, donors and volunteers have made a difference in nearly 600 total families and now 85 of those families fully own their home – a feat many Americans don’t realize.

In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  I don’t know if Jesus had Skateland in mind as a venue to do this, but it definitely served as a great setting to highlight 30 years of seeing the results of this commandment realized in the success of our families.

Record Housing Solutions Love for Community

By | News | No Comments

We returned to the foundation of our mission – building homes, communities and hope – to recap the stories and impact we accomplished in 2016. This annual community report highlights each focus of our mission in order to shed light on the many people and programs that allow Greater Indy Habitat to work toward everyone having a decent place to live.

With the support of our community, 85 households achieved the dignity of homeownership or home preservation in 2016. This is the most housing solutions we’ve ever provided in a single year in our 29-year history.

Whether you read through the report cover to cover or simply dive into the quotes, stats and photos most intriguing to you, we hope that you hear the voices of the many people who make our mission possible in Greater Indy. To request a printed copy, please contact us.

As Millard Fuller, the co-founder of Habitat for Humanity, aptly described: “For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people’s love and concern for each other.

A Look Back: Communities

By | Interfaith, Volunteer | No Comments

Jonathan is a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) spending his service year with Greater Indy Habitat through the Presbyterian Church (USA). Learn more about the YAV program!

Mission Part 2: Communities

Community lies at the very foundation of what Habitat is. To be more specific, the foundation of Habitat actually took place at “Community.”

Habitat for Humanity was founded at a place called Koinonia Farm. Koinonia is the Greek word for authentic Christian fellowship or communion. So when I say, “community lies at the very foundation of what Habitat is,” I mean it literally as much as figuratively. Habitat was founded at Community, in Community, and for Community. It is an integral aspect of who we are, where we’re from, and where we hope to go, and for that reason, community is an incredibly crucial part of our mission.

From the very first steps we take with our homeowners, to the home dedications and beyond, the process we facilitate is oriented so that it builds communities. We strive to make sure our homeowners are supported throughout their journeys, and we work to affirm that each homeowner knows they won’t be doing this alone. The staff, mentors, fellow homeowners, volunteers, board of directors, and sponsors all come together to make our mission possible. Every group and every individual is appreciated, and every group and every individual is vital to the journey of homeownership.

When the poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island,” he was referencing the preponderancy of communities. When we succeed, we succeed because of the support of those who worked alongside us. Our lives and our actions are intrinsically woven with the lives of everyone we meet, as well as those of others we will never know. Communities enable us to experience joy, triumph, compassion, and love, in ways unimaginable in solitude. In order to do everything we can to ensure the meaningful success of our homeowners, we build communities.

But the communities we build don’t just benefit the homeowners. Ask anybody who has ever had the privilege of working alongside one of our homebuyers on their future home. To witness firsthand the motivation, resilience, endeavor, and joy of someone building their own home, and especially to step alongside them in that missional cocktail, can be an eye-opening and life-altering experience. Not only is it true that together we are greater than the sum of our parts, but I believe that each of our parts becomes incontrovertibly and interminably greater as a result of recognizing our combined greatness.

This significance gets particularly emphasized in builds such as our Interfaith Build, wherein people from an abundance of backgrounds, and with a plethora of perspectives, come together in a combined act of service. It proves that these builds aren’t just about houses, or about helping one person, though that alone would be spectacular enough. In perhaps the most commendable display of “E Pluribus Unum” I’ve had the honor to experience in my life, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and more, all came together to build one magnificent, impactful, loving community.

The good life is a product of good communities, and communities are the product of lives well-lived.  Nothing good is attainable alone, and the best things in life become better when shared. Habitat builds homes that change lives, but it is the communities that make all of that possible. The foundation of every home we build is laid in the communities that built it, and that is why Habitat builds communities.

Read Jonathan’s first post on Homes and check back next month for Jonathan’s final post reflecting on hope.

15 Future Homeowners Graduate

By | Homeowner | No Comments

Congratulations to the most recent graduates of our homeownership education class! These 15 future homeowners completed a semester of classes to prepare them for the challenges and joys of Habitat homeownership.

Each participant completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to better prepare them for the financial planning involved with owning a home. Budgeting skills were refined and healthy spending habits were shared. Future homeowners also learned about homeowners insurance, taxes, appraisals, and legal issues related to owning a home.

The class completed maintenance courses to prepare them for building or rehabbing their Habitat house and taking care of it after they purchase it with a 0% interest mortgage. Habitat construction staff and community partners offered wisdom on potential challenges with plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and other areas. Homeowners were hands-on for demonstrations of painting, drywall, and hammering.

Next up: building/rehabbing their home alongside volunteers and partners, then purchasing their FIRST home! 

We are seeking qualified applicants to our homeownership program and spots are still open for class this fall. Join us the first Thursday of every month for an info session to learn more or call Martha at 317.777.6086!

Remembering Al Clark

By | From the CEO, Tiger Team | No Comments

From the Desk of Jim Morris, President & CEO

Habitat has provided me more in the last 23 years than I provided as a Tiger volunteer.” Al Clark, long-time Tiger Team volunteer. Pictured below with his first volunteer T-shirt, which is also the first Tiger Team T-shirt from 1995.

Al Clark volunteered with Habitat for 23+ years and in late April at the age of 85, he passed away. Many people cross your path in your professional and personal life. Tall and lean with a white beard and handlebar mustache, Al was one of those individuals that no matter how busy my day may be, I simply loved to stop and listen to his stories of his involvement with our mission.

He was more reflective than usual on the day he shared his statement with me about his time volunteering after retirement. He said his weekly Habitat volunteering gave him purpose and created in him a quality of life that he saw disappear in many of his peers who did not have that after retirement. It was a simple, seemingly paradoxical but profound statement. Al had personally affected hundreds of families during his volunteer time. He was a pillar in our work for 23 of the 30 years in existence. Yet, he felt that Habitat gave more to him than he did to it.

I often comment that when you strip away the complexity of our work, our role of facilitating neighbor helping neighbor is a simple privilege to witness. Every week, I see firsthand the display of Jesus’s second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself in the work of thousands of individuals. Our Tiger Team of 60+ mostly retired men and women that Al was a part of volunteering weekly routinely inspire me, but Al’s words had a particular impact on me during that lunch.

Jesus also said in Mathew 10:39 (MSG translation) that “if your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.” This is what struck me the most. I won’t judge those that pursue a life of retirement where rest and relaxation and material possession are the predominant aspirations, but Al and the rest of the Tiger Team are the model I want to pursue both now and in retirement.

If you want to act on Al’s wisdom and Jesus’s teaching, we welcome you to become a part of our Tiger volunteer family or engage in a myriad of other missional work out there that inspires you. Contact our volunteer team to learn more.

Perseverance to Provide Stability for Generations

By | Homeowner | No Comments

Perseverance is a theme we see in many of our homeowners’ stories, and Ebony Duffy’s journey exemplifies this theme. Ebony first applied to Habitat’s program in 2009 and didn’t initially meet the qualifications. However, she did not give up visualizing the impact of homeownership and worked hard to see that happen.

Ebony remembers: “I was determined to improve my credit history and increase my income. The last seven years, I had tough obstacles cross my path. However, I overcame them with my strong beliefs and guidance. There was a time when I worked two jobs, working 14 days straight with one weekend off a month, attending classes and raising my daughter. I was extremely motivated to get my finances in order and provide a stable home for my daughter. I am extremely proud to say that my hard work has paid off. Our new home will bring more memories and a brighter future.”

This summer Ebony will become the first homeowner in her family. She acknowledges the longevity of her commitment to this goal: “It will be a start of a new tradition that will be passed down to my daughter and other generations,” wrote Ebony. “One of my objectives [through Habitat’s program] is to show Kaliyah to never give up on your dreams in life.

Ebony already knows what she’ll do first as a homeowner: “I am looking forward to hanging up a picture of Kaliyah cutting the ribbon for our new home.”

Watch the first stage of construction on Ebony’s home completed during the 2017 Statehouse with Habitat for Humanity Indiana and get a tour of her future home. View photos from Ebony’s build with Eli Lilly & Company volunteers on our Flickr page.

Know someone who might be interested in our homeownership program? Invite them to join us for an info session the first Thursday of every month!

Volunteers, By the Numbers

By | Tiger Team, Volunteer | No Comments

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Habitat’s work here in Greater Indy and across the country. Our volunteers may spend a day with us once a year or come back every week. Regardless of the amount of time spent on a build site or in the ReStore, our volunteers bring the Habitat mission to life.

Though we haven’t hit the halfway mark of the year yet, our volunteers are hitting some impressive numbers! Thus far in 2017 we’ve seen:

  • 2260 volunteer shifts completed in rain, snow or sunshine
  • 104 volunteer shifts completed by future Habitat homeowners
  • 14,312 hours of work completed by volunteers (4,094 hours by Tigers!)
  • 139 days where volunteers built/rehabbed homes or worked in the ReStore
  • 1,832 new accounts created since January, meaning 1,832 new individuals have or will join Habitat’s work in Greater Indy
  • 3 new homeowners now living in their first home and 7 homes under construction with volunteer support

And we have more to accomplish in 2017! Help us reach our goal of serving 27 first-time homeowners by signing up today. With questions, please contact volunteer@indyhabitat.org.

A ReStore “Pinterest Unicorn”: Andy

By | ReStore | No Comments

Written by Andy Duncan, ReStore Development Coordinator

At this year’s Habitat for Humanity Global Conference, I was able to speak with several other ReStore folks from affiliates across the country, and one of the topics that came up several times was the illusive “Pinterest Unicorn.”

For those who don’t know, Pinterest is a social media platform wherein crafty folk from all over can post and assemble pictures demonstrating the results of their hobbies. So the idea of donors and shoppers repurposing materials from the ReStore – turning vents into light fixtures, doors into garden benches, and lamp globes into planters – is an enticing and exciting one for us! At the conference we all mused and dreamed of such donors/customers bringing in picture after picture of their deft feats of re-use.

But in reality, we call them unicorns because, well, they are rare – perhaps even mythical. Not anymore! After myriad discussions with my peers and colleagues, I set off to not only find a Pinterest Unicorn, but to actually become one! I give you my new hobby: turning old light fixtures into terrariums.

It’s rather simple and inexpensive. First, you find the light you want to use – about $10 at one of our three ReStore locations. Next, remove the lighting parts; this is usually just a couple of screws undone with a wrench or two.

Then you needs some rocks (these are free, outside). Put a layer one to two inches deep at the bottom of your light fixtures for drainage. You will need some activated charcoal – this is pretty cheap in the aquarium aisle of your local pet store. Sprinkle a layer of this over your rocks for moisture filtration. Next place some moss – the kind that comes with hanging plant pots these days ($2 at a hardware store) – over this mixture. Then you need some dirt and sand, these can also be free but it’s recommended you get them free of earth-bound creatures who may not appreciate finding themselves trapped in a new glass house. Mix these together and fill a layer two inches on top of the rocks, charcoal, and moss!

Finally, you need some small moisture-loving plants. I’ve done well with ferns and certain types of succulents; ask your local garden center about these. You may need to cover and uncover the terrarium periodically to get the moisture level stabilized, letting water evaporate to lessen moisture level or misting to up the moisture level. And Voila! Do I have a rainbow horn coming out of my forehead yet?

Do you have a DIY project that can be created from ReStore products? Share a photo with us on our ReStore Facebook pages for Indy, Greenfield or Avon!

Cover Indiana-Discovering What I Can Do: Lauren

By | Events, Volunteer | No Comments

This year I’m serving as an AmeriCorps A-Team member with Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity. Before this trip, I had never ridden my bike over 45 miles. Yet, on the first day of the Habitat for Humanity Cover Indiana ride, I rode 72 miles! We started the day in Lafayette and worked our way down and around Clinton Co. to Thorntown. During that first half of the ride I had the pleasure of riding beside all kinds of riders – young athletic riders, a couple on a tandem bike, and a woman who is so dedicated to riding that even after breaking her hip on a bike ride, came back and rode on a recumbent bike! After reaching Thorntown, the majority of our team rode on to Crawfordsville. However, Paul (a Tiger with Greater Indy Habitat and pictured below), Ted (Director of Development with Greater Indy) and I turned around and headed back to Lafayette to finish out our day ride. We faced some serious headwinds and steep hills! But we forged on, got a little off path and then found our way back to base camp.


The amount of pride and accomplishment I felt was second to none! It was because of the support and strength of Paul, Ted and my fellow Habitat riders that I was able to accomplish this mileage goal of mine and feel this great sense of personal empowerment. Whether you are a future homeowner, a volunteer or supporter, Habitat does that to you – strengthens you, helps you discover what you can do and is there to cheer you on as you reach your goals.

Why I Build: Sheryl

By | Women Build | No Comments

Sheryl Lesem, 2017 Women Build Co-Chair, shares why she participates in the Women Build.

What first drew me to Women Build? I had heard about Habitat for Humanity for years through a friend whose father was very active in his Texas chapter. I was always intrigued. About four years ago, I knew I wanted to find more ways to give back and decided to research Indy Habitat. I came across the information on the website about the (first) Greater Indy Women Build and knew right away that was for me. Not just volunteering as a builder for Habitat, but a women specific build, that also required financially supporting it through my own donation and/or fundraising.

How long have I participated? This is my fourth year with the Greater Indy Habitat Women Build. Fourth year as a builder, two years as a Team Leader and two years serving on the advisory board.

Why is the Women Build important to our community? Not only does it provide an affordable home to a deserving and contributing family, it provides an outlet for many women to support Habitat through the funding and building of the home. Also, empowering these women to perhaps do something they’ve never done or ever thought they could do or would be interested in doing.

A favorite memory would be working with my teams, and seeing each of my builders glow with excitement and satisfaction on the build site.

Why get involved? Repeat of answer #3: It provides an outlet for many women to support Habitat through the funding and building of the home. Also empowering these women to perhaps do something they’ve never done or ever thought they could do or would be interested in doing.

Learn more about the Women Build program, how you can support the 2017 build, or participate as a builder in 2018!