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Abri Hochstetler

Advocating for Habitat on the Hill

By | Volunteer, Young Professional | No Comments

Written by Meagan Heber

A few months ago, I was presented with the opportunity to attend the Habitat national advocacy conference, Habitat on the Hill, in Washington, D.C. in February. At the conference, affiliate staff and volunteers from all over the United States join together over several days to talk to their senators and representatives at the Capitol, garnering support for legislation and funding. As a member of Greater Indy Habitat’s Young Professionals chapter who had never advocated in this capacity before, I was excited and very nervous.

To combat my nerves before I left, Joel, Greater Indy Habitat’s Corporate and Faith Relations Coordinator, gave me some advice—

“Be humble, but confident.”

As much as I love Habitat, and as confident as I am in the incredible power a home has to bring hope to a family and revitalize communities, I still felt small and shaky touching down in the midst of a bustling city full of polished and influential people. Why would a representative care about what I have to say? How could a young volunteer from Indianapolis contribute to the important and complex conversation surrounding housing affordability in the United States?

A few days later, after hours of inspiring speakers and an energizing rally with Habitat staff and advocates, I was walking down the steps of the Capital building. When I told my group that I was inexperienced and not the most educated on the statistics and stories that could influence our policy-makers, Gina, Indiana’s State Director, gave me an encouraging rebuke.

“You know plenty,” she said. “You just need to talk about your time with AmeriCorps and how you are pursuing a life of public service.”

I came to Habitat through the AmeriCorps program in 2016, fresh out of college and unsure where life was taking me. For a year, I helped coordinate volunteers, swung a few hammers, and mingled with homeowners, all the while seeing how Habitat raised up homes, supported families, and changed neighborhoods from the inside out. It was because of this incredible experience that I joined Habitat Young Professionals when I moved to Indianapolis, why I dived into the leadership team and got involved, and why I am pursuing a career in community development work.

It’s also why I got on a plane to Washington, nervous and excited to advocate for what I believe in—the power of Habitat for Humanity to change lives. I know that it changed mine!

Joel and Gina’s advice, and the encouragement of so many others, finally came together for me when I stepped into Representative Hollingsworth’s office with Habitat friends from Bloomington and Terre Haute. We had a friendly conversation, and when it was my turn to speak to the Congressman, I shared a piece of my story. I told him how influential AmeriCorps and Habitat had been in my life and how, as a result, I was encouraging other young professionals in Indianapolis to get involved in building affordable homes, communities, and hope.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to raise a voice with so many others on behalf of Habitat for Humanity. I’m excited for the continuation of the incredible work that happens on the ground raising walls and bringing people together. And I’m emboldened—because if even I can be an advocate for this incredible organization, then you can be, too!

Jim’s Desk: Nancy Chance, a founder of Habitat Hamilton County

By | From the CEO | No Comments

Following our consolidation with the Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County affiliate in July, Jim had the opportunity to talk with Nancy Chance, one of the founders of Habitat Hamilton County. Check out the video below to learn more about the founding of Habitat’s mission in Hamilton County.

Stay connected to all things Habitat in Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks and Marion County by signing up for our enewsletter and following @IndyHabitat on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

2019 Dream Builders Collectively Reach 101 Homes

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Our mission centers around creating comprehensive community development. We realize that we are at our strongest when working alongside the strength of others to improve the quality of life for members of our community. Each year we engage hundreds of companies, faith-based organizations, and other community-based groups, along with thousands of individuals, to provide housing solutions. These various partners provide their energy, wisdom, financial investment, gifts in-kind, and volunteerism.

In 2019, ten Dream Builders supported Greater Indy Habitat. Dream Builders are community partners that donate $100,000 and more, to not only promote their corporate social responsibility goals, but also provided stability for us to continue building homes, communities, and hope. The 2019 Dream Builders included: Allegion, Carrier, DEFENDERS, Delta Faucet, Eli Lilly & Company, INHP, OrthoIndy Foundation, Salesforce, Wells Fargo, and our annual peer-to-peer funded Women Build. Collectively this group donated a total of $1,245,389. These Dream Builders have also collectively built 101 homes since 2000, totaling 130 years of partnership with Greater Indy Habitat! As we begin planning for 2020, we are excited to announce that we are welcoming Freedom Mortgage, a new Dream Builder, to the Greater Indy Habitat family.

To get your company or organization involved, contact Stephen Craig at 317.777.606087.

2018 Award Recipients

By | Events | No Comments

It takes many hearts and hands to make Habitat’s mission possible, so at our annual Kick-Off event at DeveloperTown we recognized four of our outstanding supporters. These individuals and organizations have gone above and beyond for Habitat’s continued work in Greater Indy.

Congratulations to our 2018 Award Recipients!

OrthoIndy Foundation Award Winner 2018

OrthoIndy Foundation – Legacy Corporate Partner
OrthoIndy Foundation has been a partner for six consecutive years supporting the Habitat mission with a total $600,000. In 2018, the OrthoIndy team provided 155 volunteers totaling over 1,000 hours on the McFarland Family Build with a volunteer show rate of over 90%! According to the superintendents who have had the pleasure of working with OrthoIndy over the past five years, they have been described as consistently one of the hardest working, reliable and enjoyable volunteer groups to work with each and every year!



Frank Wagner Award Winner 2018

Frank Wagner – Frank Hartman Volunteer of the Year
Frank Wagner has served as a mentor to 4 different Habitat families since 2017. His wife, Ann Zore also helped out last year, by sharing her Spanish skills mentoring the Ramirez-Garcia family. Additionally, for the past two years Frank has supported Habitat with a financial gift designated for purchasing Financial Peace University kits for fellow mentors to utilize so they can walk alongside their homebuyers in class. Frank continues to be an idea generator for improvements and growth for the mentor volunteer experience. Frank has helped to be an informative and positive voice at info sessions or trainings for prospective mentor volunteers.



Arbor Homes Award Winner 2018

Arbor Homes – Build Sponsor of the Year
Since 2014 Arbor homes has built five homes in partnership with St Luke’s United Methodist Church. Arbor Homes uses their unique skills and network to receive donated product and labor. In 2018, the home they helped build with homeowners Vidal and Blanca was our least expensive home of the year, under $20,000 worth of costs!




Castleton UMC Award Winner 2018

Castleton United Methodist Church – Legacy Church Partner
For ten consecutive years, Castleton UMC has supported the Habitat mission with an average of $9,500 a year, for a total of $95,538 through 2018. Last year Castleton UMC increased their gift to $11,000, while providing 22 volunteers totaling 165 hours on the Interfaith Home Builds.


View photos from this year’s Kick-Off!

Jim’s Desk: Why Allegion Partners with Habitat

By | From the CEO | No Comments

Habitat relies on collaboration with a variety of organizations to achieve our mission, including many engaged corporate partners. In 2018 Allegion celebrated their tenth year of partnership with Greater Indy Habitat. Jim, our president & CEO, caught up with Dave Petratis and Tim Eckersley of Allegion to learn why partnering with Habitat is important to their employees and leaders. Watch the video below to hear more about the variety of ways Allegion supports Habitat for Humanity!

To learn more about getting your corporate, civic, or church group involved, please check out this video and complete the volunteer group form.

Building Homes and Hope Across the Globe

By | Global Village | No Comments

Habitat for Humanity builds in 70+ countries and invites volunteers to participate these projects through its Global Village program. In February Greater Indy Habitat completed our fifth trip to El Salvador with 11 volunteers and in total has tithed more than 1.3 million to our sister affiliates in Central America.

Get the scoop on our latest trip from travelers Tim and Jess Cummings!

Why did you decide to participate in a Global Village trip?

“Jess and I were looking for an easy way to dedicate some time to a volunteer group and have an adventure while doing it. We visited the Habitat site to see if there would be anything that would fit what we were looking for.”

What stands out about your experience in El Salvador?

The best part was the group we were with. Everyone was great to be around and made all the hard work enjoyable. We really enjoyed being about to see some of the Salvadorian culture. Our group was working on wall masonry and pouring concrete for the floor. During the build, it was a running joke that every time we would complete another cinderblock row on the wall, Luis (the head mason), would always tell us there were 10 more rows to go.”

How is the need for decent housing the same and different between Indy and El Salvador?

“No matter where you live, some sort of sturdy shelter is important to stay safe and have a place to call your home. However, the build style of the houses were quite different. While Indy houses need to be able to deal with both hot and cold temperatures, El Salvador needs to build their houses capable of surviving hurricanes and earthquakes. The houses in general in El Salvador were much smaller and simpler than those build in Indianapolis, but the people there seemed to have just as much pride and excitement about their homes.”

Describe an experience with the family or on the build site that will stick with you.

“We had a fairly steep language barrier between the volunteers and the family, [but] we were still able to see how excited they were about the house. We did get to visit a homeowner from an Indy Habitat Global Village trip from a few years ago. It really stuck with us how happy they were to welcome us into their house and show us how they were doing. They provided us with snacks and freshly cut coconuts and gave us the full tour. Finally, we were very impressed by the masons who work on the houses in El Salvador. After spending a week mixing and moving concrete on the house, the whole group was amazed to know that the mason has only a couple of helpers who work with him to complete the house. [Another] highlight that stands out was getting to meet the mom of the homeowner and visiting her at her house/pupuseria where she lived and sold pupusas on the street.”

Would you encourage others to join a Global Village trip with Greater Indy Habitat?

“Absolutely! Global Village is a wonderful adventure that allows you to see how other people live in other countries and give you a peak into their culture. It is specifically nice to work with the Indy chapter as it meant the whole group lives in the same area which allowed us to meet up a couple of times before the trip to get to know each other beforehand.”

Reflecting back, what did this trip mean to you?

“The experience showed us what a loving community Habitat is and is the kind of community that cares about those around it.”

View more photos from the 2019 trip!

Jim’s Desk: The Hidden Housing Crisis

By | From the CEO | No Comments

For this month’s edition of “From the Desk of Jim,” hear from Chris Purnell, executive director at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, about our upcoming event “The Hidden Housing Crisis” with author Matthew Desmond on Feb. 28. Why is eviction an important issue for our city and our state?

Please join us Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. at The Toby at Newfields for a discussion about eviction and the fundamental role housing plays in deepening inequality in America. Author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Matthew Desmond will share insights on his research and affirm the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible. Reserve your seat today!

Save the date: 2019 Kick-Off

By | Events | No Comments

Most people know that Habitat for Humanity builds houses, but what else do you know about the mission of affordable homeownership? Who do we build for? What, when, and where do we build? Why do we do it? And maybe most important…HOW can you get involved?

Luckily the annual Greater Indy Habitat Kick-Off is coming up this March and is your one stop shop to answer all of these questions and more! Join us on Thursday, March 14, 6:30–7:30 p.m. at DeveloperTown to learn how Habitat builds strength, stability, and independence for families in need of affordable homeownership and discover the many ways you can help!

Attendees will:

  • CELEBRATE the 2018 success of our homeowners, volunteers, and sponsors
  • DISCOVER volunteer opportunities that fit your schedule and passion
  • MEET Habitat homebuyers
  • HEAR about homeowner and neighborhood impact from Jim Morris, president & CEO
  • ENJOY hors d’oeuvres, Sun King drinks, and company among friends

register here

Many of our current supporters became more involved after attending their first kick-off. This includes Meagan Prins, vice president of engagement for our new Habitat Young Professionals group. She shared:

“The greatest advantage to me at the Kick-Off was getting connected with Shana. My number one goal was to find out how to volunteer! …Shana told me all about the young professionals group and invited me to a visionary committee meeting. At the same time, I also loved the excitement of the kick-off event, feeling at home instantly with friendly faces and good food and getting more information on Women Build and other amazing things that Indy Habitat is working on.”

“After that first visionary committee meeting, I was hooked. Now, I am the vice president of engagement for HYP and am so excited to represent putting God’s love into action through volunteering, advocating for affordable housing, and connecting young people to the value of building strong communities. I am constantly astounded at so many aspects of Habitat—everything from the ReStore to the power of homeownership—and as a young professionals group, I think we really want to introduce all of these aspects of the organization to our members and to other groups we collaborate with.”

I would encourage others to attend not only because it was an uplifting and fun event to be a part of, but also because it was a great introduction to Indy Habitat as a whole. Any question that I had regarding all the projects and components of the affiliate could be answered in one place, and with that, I walked away with new interests and ways to get involved.

Spread the word, bring a friend, and get ready to build homes for families, hope for the future, and community in Greater Indy in 2019!