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Join us Nov. 10 for our Spirit & Place Event

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More Than a Roof: Affordable Homeownership as a Catalyst for Change

With the theme of “Home,” we knew participation in the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival was a must. On Thursday, Nov. 10, we invite you to join a hands-on, interactive experience and conversation about how affordable homeownership can eliminate barriers to a better, healthier, more financially stable life.

In Indiana, the average hourly wage necessary to afford a two‐bedroom, Fair Market Rate (FMR) unit is $14.03. More than half of Hoosier renters (52%) cannot afford the FMR, according to an Indiana 211 Partnership Community Report. The need for affordable housing is real and the benefits of homeownership—stability for children, improved health and safety, increased education and job prospects, and asset building—can be life-changing.

Taking place at Second Presbyterian Church and in partnership with Circles Indy, attendees to this event will enjoy a simple meal beginning at 5:30 p.m. before participating in a poverty simulation. The event will conclude in a group reflection and conversation led by our president & CEO Jim Morris, Marie Wiese with Circles Indy, and Habitat families eager to share their experiences.

This is a free event but space is limited, so please RSVP via the Spirit & Place website by Nov. 7. With questions, please contact Abri Hochstetler at 317.777.6095.

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Stability can Help Defeat the Challenge of Mobility

By | From the CEO | No Comments

This correlation shows my age, but for me September was always the month recognized for returning to school. With the change in school calendars, many students now go back to school in early August. My seventh-grader and fifth-grader each started school the first week of August. My son, the seventh-grader, and I reflected recently that he has never attended the same school for more than two years. He went to three different elementary schools; each move because our family moved residences. My daughter has attended two schools.

When asked if either would like to move between several schools in the same school year, they both agreed “that would stink.” “How would you make friends?” my daughter asked. “How could you keep up in class?” my son added.

Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity recently participated in a study (Residential mobility of single mothers in the Indianapolis’ Mid-North area neighborhoods: An exploratory study of chronic moving prepared by Sagamore Institute for Policy Research) on the mobility of students within the same school year, particularly among those considered to be in poverty. The study concluded that single mothers have the greatest challenge with mobility.*

Financial difficulties like lack of housing affordability, loss of stable employment, foreclosure and eviction, or the high cost of rent were major reasons why single mothers moved residences. A mother I spoke to who purchased a home with Greater Indy Habitat revealed that her son had never had a dresser because they moved regularly. Instead, he just put his clothes in a trash bag. She (and he) was elated to have the stability of a home, which also meant he could have a dresser for his clothes.

Anyone living out of a trash bag because of the absence of a stable home is difficult to swallow. The mobility study also reveals that children’s school performance can suffer because of frequent moving. “Student mobility impacts not only students who change schools but also classrooms that have to adjust to a changing student enrollment. Teachers struggle to balance the introduction of the new student while maintaining the education level of the entire classroom. Similarly, classes were not taught consistently across schools, even within districts, such that students faced further change when they were placed in a misaligned course (i.e. -being in Algebra II when knowledge is at an Algebra I level). For students who transfer without a record or transcript, class placements can take weeks to months to perfect, creating more lost time.”

Affordable homeownership provides stability. Greater Indy Habitat’s affordable homeownership program of education, community engagement through volunteerism and a 0% interest mortgage are the building blocks to that stability. It also ensures no child has to live out of a trash bag anymore.

*Study results are in final draft form and expected to be published soon. Please check back with the Sagamore Institute website for the completed study.

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Habitat Hosts Fourth Women Build in 2017

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Women Funded, Women Built

Each year hundreds of women pick up hammers, power tools, and paintbrushes while leveraging their networks to raise funds and build a Habitat home. The Women Build program recruits, educates, and nurtures women to build and advocate for affordable houses in their communities. In 2017 we will host our fourth Women Build, with the support of women leaders and volunteers, for a first-time homeowner.

Women from all walks of life will work together to raise the funds and walls for the Women Build project. Together they will make up the more than 300 volunteers needed to construct the home. Friends and family will be recruited to support their work through a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. From its inception in 2014, the volunteers of the Women Build project have raised more than $332,000 to provide homes for three families, and support the Greater Indy Habitat mission. View photos of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 builds!

Though team leader spots are filling up, we invite you to share your interest in learning more, or participating in 2017, by emailing womenbuild@indyhabitat.org.

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Cabinet Company Finds Bedder Way

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High-quality, Unfinished Cabinets Available at the ReStore

Like many local companies, Bedder Way Murphy Bed and Cabinet Company has regularly donated cabinets to the ReStore over the past few years. Unlike most corporate donations, these cabinets are specifically made by Bedder Way for the Greater Indy Habitat ReStores to sell. While making their custom cabinets, Bedder Way ends up with excess of cabinet-grade plywood that doesn’t fit the measurement requirements for the company’s usual product. However, these pieces are large enough to make high-quality unfinished cabinets for the ReStore. These cabinets will show up on the sales floor of our ReStores every couple of months for purchase. They will make a beautiful addition to shoppers’ homes.

The ReStore appreciates donations from our many commercial donors. We are grateful for those partners who go out of their way to use their skills, resources, and expertise to give the ReStore, and ultimately Habitat families, a great boost. Discover how your business can partner with the ReStore by contacting Andy Duncan at 317.777.6078.

Deadline Approaching: 2016 El Salvador Trip

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Vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live. 

The vision of Habitat is profound and its intentions to see this goal realized are sincere—and attainable. Since the founding of Habitat, more than 6.8 million people around the world have achieved better living situations. We think it’s a great start.

Greater Indy Habitat’s primary focus on this vision is in our own backyard. However, we still stand alongside and support Habitat offices around the world. Since our founding in 1987, our local office has tithed more than $1.3 million dollars to support Habitat’s work in Central America. This support equates to more than 340 homes provided in the area.

Global Village GroupIn recent years, we have formed a partnership with the office in El Salvador through the Global Village program. Since 2013, our local staff, volunteers and supporters have traveled to El Salvador to better know and support how God is working through Habitat in that area.

Greater Indy Habitat is assembling a team to travel to El Salvador November 5-13. The group will fly into the capitol, San Salvador, and will travel to the outlying country to work alongside a future homeowner and local Habitat staff to complete one phase of a home. The trip will be led by longtime volunteer and 2015 trip participant, Chris Parker.

Global Village_Chris and Brent“When I signed up for the El Salvador trip last year, I was excited but apprehensive as well,” shared Chris. “I quickly learned after our first meeting that there were a lot of great tools and resources to help folks raise money… After sending out an email to family, friends, and coworkers about my upcoming trip, I was completely blown away by their support and encouragement.”

“When it came to the home building, we worked alongside the family and local tradesmen. The work itself was some of the hardest work I’ve experienced in 20 years of serving with Habitat, but also some of the most memorable. At the end of the week, we had made a new family and at the final blessing there wasn’t a dry eye in the place… To sum it up, my trip to El Salvador far exceeded my expectations, and that’s why I can’t wait to make the trip again!”

The deadline to sign up for the trip is August 15th. If you are interested in this, or future trips, please visit this page and use the form to submit your interest or questions.