Persevering to Provide a Stable Home

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As a healthcare provider and recent nursing school graduate, the impact of a safe, quality home on the health of her family is not lost on Brandy. This past year has shown all of us just how important a secure and safe home is.

In April Jim Morris, president & CEO, celebrated with Brandy at a small home dedication. Watch the video below to hear what home means to Brandy and her son, Adrian!

Brandy’s story is one of resilience and dedication.

“Everyone always dreams at some point in their lives about the ‘perfect home’ with the so called white picket
fence,” wrote Brandy. “Sitting on the porch with the children running and playing in the huge yard. For the longest time having a simple roof over my head that I could simply call home was my dream. Growing up I was bounced around from school to school being forced to meet new people and start a new life until we would become evicted again and forced once again to move to another location. Just when I started to make friends we would have to pack up and move to the next temporary home.”

Brandy also played the mother role often for her siblings. “Doing laundry, cooking and cleaning became more of a responsibility to me than my homework and studying. I remember cooking outside on a handmade fire pit because our gas would be shut off most of the time. Microwaving water to wash dishes and bathe in quickly before it got too cold in the unheated home. Using candles and tons of blankets for lights and warmth when the electricity was shut off on us. Getting up at six in the morning to bath in cold water without heat or lights. Taking a long walk to school in the cold winter mornings. I always told told myself as soon as I could get my own home I would make sure I at least could afford my utilities no matter the inside of the home. At ten years-old my dream home was just a home with working utilities.”

As a young, single mom, Brandy worked multiple jobs to make ends meet and eventually found a house to rent on the corner of a busy road. But, it was her own place. “My name, my bills and my little house on the comer. I was never more proud of myself. Over the next couple of years I started college to achieve my all-time goal of becoming a registered nurse.”

“One year into the home of my dreams I began to realize it was not so much a dream,” shared Brandy. “I ran into major plumbing problems that put me without water for days. I had to use multiple space heaters due to my furnace not being sufficient enough for the size and layout of my home, which increased my utilities bills so much that I could not afford them. The landlord did not give me many options to help fix these issues so I dealt with them as best as I could. About two years into this home I received emergency custody of my niece.”

“Giving up on college for the time being was my only option. My house became very crowded at this time. After two years living with us and becoming just like a sibling to my son, my niece was able to go back home to her mother on a temporary basis. I hope she is able to stay with her mother for good, however if she ever needs me I will be there for her immediately…I am a firm believer in God and I have truly been blessed to have made it this far in my life. I believe God has big plans for my family and me. I started college again and I landed a great job where I use my college education and can help continue my education.”

Brandy wanted a home to provide a safe and healthy place for her son and niece to grow up. That’s when she explored homeownership with Habitat for Humanity. After applying to the program and completing 300 hours of sweat equity, including homeownership classes and volunteering to help build her home and other Habitat homes, Brandy finally signed the paperwork to become a first-time homeowner in April!

“I am ready to finally be able to secure a home for me and my family. One that we can call ‘Ours.’ A place we can safely lay our head down at night. Many memories are built within a home. I am very excited and eager to build memories within my Habitat home. It is a fresh new start for my family that is much needed. A place for my son to grow up and enjoy. A place for my niece to know she can always come and can have a space of her own when it is needed the most…Owning a home from Habitat for Humanity will truly be a huge blessing to me and my family.”

Habitat Homeowner Gives Back through #HYP

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Precious Johnson became a Habitat homeowner in 2009 and joined our Young Professionals group in 2019. She currently serves on the 2021 leadership team as the HYP Secretary. 

My name is Precious and my first experience with Habitat was in 2008. I volunteered at a build a site, and after working the build site I was intrigued. I talked to my neighbor, a few co-workers and visited the Habitat website for more information.

There was a homeownership meeting scheduled for the next week and I decided to attend. After attending that one homeownership meeting, I submitted my application for the program. At that time, I was paying $675 in rent, and a monthly $100 light bill. I believe my bi-weekly paycheck after taxes was $700. The apartment was a very spacious two bedrooms, with two full bathrooms and I still lived close to my parents. Every month I used one of my bi-weekly paychecks to cover my rent. My best friend and my parents would help me monthly with groceries, gas, etc. My son and I lived in a previous cheaper apartment that was not safe or clean.

(Precious and her son, Karachi, volunteering on a Habitat build site.)

Affordable housing should be option to any adult who has income to make a monthly payment. I tried to apply for the Section 8 program, but the list was usually closed, or the waitlist was at a least a year.

Home is a place a family learns to grow, cook, love, and so much more. A family needs a home that is affordable, clean, and safe. I’m the oldest of four children, our house was always full of chaos, good food, laughter, anger, and a strong family. I always wanted my own home, but as a single parent I didn’t think I could afford a home. Then I thought how I would maintain a home, cut grass, pay property tax, etc. Once I went to the homeownership meeting, I knew I could afford a home.

My Habitat home makes me feel grateful that I have a warm, safe, and clean home for my family. I know that my hard work, and dedication made it possible to have a home. Also, I have a home that I can leave to my son, and he is learning how to maintain our home.

Habitat is important to me because the homeownership program made it possible for me to become a homeowner. If this program did not exist, I would have continued to live in an apartment struggling to pay rent. My Habitat mortgage is a payment that I continue to afford without a struggle.

Welcome Home 2020 Homeowners

By | From the CEO, Homeowner, News | No Comments

In a year when a safe, affordable home is as important as ever, we want to thank you for helping make the dream of homeownership possible for our families. Though challenges abounded in 2020, our homebuyers, sponsors, volunteers, donors, and partners pulled together to find solutions, offer each other grace, and return to the imperative work of our mission.

Whether you wielded a paintbrush, offered words of encouragement, or shared a gift to support our work, we are grateful for your partnership and the belief that everyone deserves a decent place to call home. Through the generous support of our community, we:

These smiles below say it best – thank you for welcoming home our 2020 homeowners!

Jim Morris
President & CEO
Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity

P.S. This winter we’re getting a head start on building homes for 2021. Your donation today helps make this early work possible so that even more families can build next year!




Jim’s Desk: Dinner with Danielle

By | From the CEO, Homeowner | One Comment

Habitat homeowner Danielle graciously opened her home for an evening with Jim to cook dinner and share a meal together. Watch the video below for a glimpse into the fun and to hear how Danielle and her family have made their house a home.

Become a monthly donor today! If you sign up for a reoccurring gift before Dec. 31, 2018, we will send you a Habitat homeowner recipe once a month in 2019. Look forward to 12 home-cooked recipes to enjoy and remember the impact of your support of Habitat for Humanity families.

Check out Jim’s previous “From the Desk” videos with Steven Meyer of King Park Development Corporation and Andy Duncan with our ReStores!

Spring 2018 Graduation

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Congratulations to our Spring 2018 Homebuyer Class!

Home Improvement Program

By | Homeowner | 4 Comments

Kara Abstone moved into her Habitat home in 2000 when her daughter, Karrington, was just a baby. “I started (Habitat) classes when she was just one week old! They called her the Habitat baby,” remembers Kara. Now, as Karrington finishes up her high school degree, her mom finishes up the final details of a bathroom remodel made possible through our new Habitat Home Improvement Program.

In an effort to provide additional resources to Habitat homeowners to improve their quality of life, a gift from the Randall C. and Janet D. Belden Family Fund, a fund of The Indianapolis Foundation, helped fund the creation of our Home Improvement Program. Through this initiative, Habitat homeowners like Kara can fund home improvements such as HVAC replacement, accessibility or security additions, porch or patio repairs, and more, with a 0% interest loan up to $5,000.

The goal of this program is to create affordable avenues for our homeowners to modify and improve their homes so they can live there as long as they would like,” said Jim Morris, Greater Indy Habitat president & CEO. “As reported in our recent 30-Year-Impact Study, more than 88% of homeowners shared that they plan on remaining in their current Habitat home for a long time or permanently. This program helps homeowners adapt their space so they can continue to grow into and enjoy it.”

Kara’s more spacious, orchid painted bathroom is an example of this opportunity to change and customize her home. The loan enabled a contractor to open up walls in the bathroom, replace the linoleum with tile, upgrade the shower and vanity, and replace the textured paint. With plum shower curtains on their way, Kara says her Pinterest board came to life. Karrington approves of the changes and even shared project progress with friends via FaceTime.

After 18 years of enjoying her home, Kara made her dream bathroom a reality, thanks to the Habitat Home Improvement Program.

Habitat homeowners interested in this program, please contact Janet at 317.777.6090.

Before Photos:

After Photos:





Watch our Repair Program Video

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As we continue to adapt our services to meet the needs of our homeowners and the community, we were honored to have our owner-occupied repair program nominated for LISC’s Love Thy Neighborhood Awards this spring. In 2017 we provided 63 repairs to enable homeowners to remain in their home, and thus neighborhood, despite health, aging, or financial challenges.

The focus of the homeowner repair program is on exterior, health and safety, and energy efficiency repairs. Learn more about this program by watching the video below!

A Hand Up, Not a Hand-Out

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Meredith Canfield, Volunteer Manager, explains how we lift up our homeowners with tools and resources.

At Habitat, we have traditionally used the phrase, “we are a hand up, not a hand-out” as our unofficial missional mantra. Whenever I actually say that phrase out loud, my Hollywood film imagination visualizes hand up as a person being lifted up in the emotional, educational and physical sense. Picture this scene: a close up camera view of a person sitting in a chair with a clear indication that they need help determining a new direction for their life. [Cue inspirational music.] Then, with the camera panning the room from the perfect angle, you see a person put their arm around the individual to lift them up as they walk out of the scene together in hopeful pursuit of something better.

There are several ways that Habitat lifts up future homeowners prior them signing a 0% interest mortgage and receiving the keys to their new home! One of my favorite ways we lift up our homeowners is by providing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class. (This class is actually a personal love and passion of mine. You can read more about that in this blog post.) Our homeowners learn things like budgeting, saving cash for large purchases, getting out of debt, and even giving financially to others. Being burdened by the cost of high rent and a low income, obtaining financial peace may have once been a pipe dream for many of our homebuyers. By partnering with Habitat and learning skills taught by Dave Ramsey, our homeowners have an opportunity to feel financial peace and confidence as they make the mortgage payment each month for years to come.

One thing my Hollywood imagination left out of the scene is the hard work that real life individuals live out after they are lifted up. While the short scene I described doesn’t paint the full picture of our mission’s mantra, the real life journey toward Habitat homeownership begins with a lift but continues down a path of hard work, pride, and success for each homeowner.

Want to read about success stories of Homeowners after they are in their home? Check out this blog post about Amy, Habitat Homeowner 2017.

Home for the Holidays

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For Amy and her son, Isaac, the feeling of being home for the holidays is a gift they will never take for granted.

After Amy’s husband returned from military service in 2008, their family life changed drastically. It was then that she moved back in with her parents.

After my husband came home from the war, we were faced with the challenge of living with his PTSD. He did not feel that he could be a part of our family anymore, and left both of us. Because of this, it was my turn to be ‘in need.’ My parents took us in and we began to heal.

Amy found out about Habitat for Humanity from a co-worker. She learned that her family was a perfect candidate for the program: first-time homeowner, a stable income and a willingness to invest time and energy to learn the facets of being a successful homeowner, while also helping to build her home. This year, Amy and her son Isaac are proudly spending their first holiday season in the comfort of their Habitat home. From the beginning of her Habitat journey, Amy knew her home would be a blessing that would extend to others…

I’m a single mom and I’m a social worker so there’s not a lot of money to be had. We were living with my parents and I felt called to expand our horizons and through homeownership reach out to other people as a good steward of that home. I wanted to be a good example to my son of how important it is to become a homeowner and what a great reward it is; to show him how to be hospitable to others and to be a part of the Kingdom in that way.

Amy and her son, Isaac, have found strength and stability since moving into their new Habitat home. As a first-time homeowner, Amy has enjoyed new experiences that were not possible before. She has started hosting a small group from her church at her house, has welcomed Tucker, their new dog and says their home has become “that house” for where neighborhood kids gather.

I really like to cook so having my own kitchen has been nice! I love having family and friends over for dinner and the neighborhood kids are at my house 6 days a week! That has been the biggest blessing, getting to know my neighbors and to watch my son make good friends. We would never have had that if we did not move into our Habitat home.

This holiday season, help make “home for the holidays” a reality for more families. As you read this, another person just like Amy is pursuing the dream of homeownership through Greater Indy Habitat. Your gift today has the power to change a lives.