Habitat for Humanity Succeeds as Top U.S. Builder

By | November 8, 2010

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Habitat for Humanity moved up three spots to eighth on Builder Magazine’s “Builder 100” list for 2009. As for-profit builders struggle, Habitat has been shielded from many of the market pressures that have confounded for-profit builders. With a steady supply of no-wage volunteers, a donation-based operating model and a niche market of carefully screened low-income home buyers, the nonprofit has been able to weather the housing industry’s downturn.

Habitat for Humanity International welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people. Habitat accrued 5,294 new-house closings nationally in 2009. The group repaired 710 homes in the U.S. and around the world built 23,657 new homes and rehabilitated or repaired 37,348 houses.

Habitat for Humanity hasn’t had a problem with foreclosures, as it serves as the lender for its homeowners, providing zero percent interest loans and fixed payments capped at 30% of income. Since its main goal is to keep homeowners in their homes and not to make a profit the organization is able to modify loans and help homeowners reshape their budgets. Their goal is to give people an opportunity to own their own homes and break the cycle of poverty. The fixed monthly payments are affordable so people are less likely to default. Beneficiaries must contribute a small amount financially and commit to sweat equity, which means helping with the project on their home or another Habitat project.

In 2009 in Manatee County, Habitat for Humanity completed the 100th home in its 16 year existence there. On August 21st it began construction at Hope Landing, which will be an 18-home subdivision in Ellenton, Florida. Manatee Habitat has also started a new initiative called A “Brush With Kindness”. This program offers low-income homeowners help with maintaining the exterior of their Homes by providing painting, yard work or minor roof or siding repair.

In Sarasota County, 2009 saw Habitat for Humanity, Sarasota, build 197 homes since its inception in 1985.  Jordan’s Crossing, a development of 79 single-family homes across from Tuttle Elementary School, was completed in June 2009. The organization has joined forces with Sarasota County on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a federally funded initiative to provide low to moderate-income families the opportunity to own rehabilitated, foreclosed and abandoned homes.

RE/MAX Alliance Group has given its support to Habitat for Humanity since it’s formation by organizing and participating in fundraising events as well as volunteering on projects in Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

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