When you think of Habitat for Humanity, you think about volunteers building houses. Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville has built or renovated more than 525 homes in the Kentucky counties of Jefferson and Oldham. Building houses is the ‘what’, and the ‘why’ is to change lives.
“Working alongside homeowners, volunteers and generous sponsors, Habitat for Humanity builds decent and affordable housing that creates change for families that is transformative and lasting,” Rob Locke, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville. “Home is a powerful tool that affects everything from education to health. Affordable homeownership helps families succeed and our community thrive.”
Locke says Habitat for Humanity partners with families “to provide a hand-up, not a hand-out.” The homes are not free; they are sold at cost to the Habitat homebuyers with a 20-year mortgage at 0% interest. The homeowners will have a monthly mortgage payment after they attend 25 different financial and homeownership classes and workshops, and put in 400 hours of sweat equity on their own home.
Four new Habitat builds are scheduled to start in March and two new builds are on the calendar for April, including a build during April 15-25, the Mayor’s Give a Day Week of Service. In June, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville will have a Women Build to celebrate the women’s suffrage centennial.
Habitat has 22 employees who focus on affordable housing solutions and 20 employees in the ReStore locations, and community volunteers are always welcome to help Habitat fill over 10,000 opportunities throughout the year—on the construction sites of the new builds, as well as by working directly with the homebuyer families and at Habitat ReStore. Anyone and everyone can donate furniture, home goods and appliances to Habitat ReStore and the public is welcome to shop there. Proceeds from sales support Habitat’s mission in the Louisville area. As of March 2020, there are two Habitat ReStore locations in Louisville, on Taylorsville Road in Hikes Point Plaza and on Rowan Street in the Portland neighborhood.
“Every volunteer experience is unique and the impact you will help create in a family’s life will be lasting,” said Trish Tobbe, Volunteer Programs Manager for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville. No previous experience is needed before volunteering on a construction site. There are other ways to donate your time and compassion, like mentoring and communicating with homebuyers and helping the site selection committee acquire real estate. Habitat is the largest user of the Landbank Authority, the agency that deals with distressed properties and vacant lots within the city.
“Bringing people together to transform lives through homeownership is at the heart of our mission,” Tobbe said. “We believe in the power of volunteers working side-by-side to provide safe, affordable homes for families in need of decent housing.”
One of the newest programs of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville is its Community Development and Home Repair Program. Launched in 2016, it involves making home repairs and improving the streetscape in Louisville’s underserved neighborhoods where Habitat has an investment. Habitat has worked in five West Louisville neighborhoods so far, completing 54 home repairs, hosting 8 neighborhood events and working on neighborhood beautification projects in alleyways, community gardens and public parks. Last year, the Community Development and Home Repair Program added a component to address critical home repairs. In the East Portland neighborhood, community volunteers and residents completed 11 exterior, minor home repairs in 2019 in addition to 10 critical home repairs.
“Habitat’s work in the community provides an opportunity for people from all different backgrounds and cultures to put their faith and God’s love into action to build homes, community and hope,” Locke said. “It’s through the process of working side-by-side that ‘you’ and ‘me’ becomes ‘us’ and ‘we.’ And we realize we are far more alike than we are different.”
Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville’s mission is to bring people together to build homes, community and hope through housing solutions of homeownership, community development and home repair.
25% of Louisville’s working families live in poverty.
6,000 JCPS students are considered homeless.
There are over 5,000 vacant and abandoned properties throughout Louisville.
In 2020, Habitat will build or rehab 22 homes in Metro Louisville.
To volunteer, donate or become a sponsor, visit louisvillehabitat.org