Building strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter
Every home is a building block
The idea that became Habitat for Humanity first grew from the fertile soil of Koinonia Farm, a community farm outside of Americus, Georgia, founded by a farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan.
On the farm, Jordan and Habitat’s eventual founders, Millard and Linda Fuller, developed the concept of “partnership housing”. The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build decent, affordable homes. Driven by the vision that everyone deserves a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity (HFHI) was formed in 1976.
Local citizens chartered Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RVHFH) as an affiliate of (HFHI) in 1991 to address the growing need for affordable homes in Hunterdon and Somerset counties. People who worked in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties could not afford to live in the area. In 28 years, RVHFH has built over 52 homes, providing homeownership opportunities to those who otherwise could not afford to own a home.
RVHFH partners with families with limited resources to build a home with the community. They attend financial literacy classes and work with a family liaison to reinforce responsible financial behaviors. RVHFH subsidizes the cost of the home and extends an affordable mortgage that reduces monthly housing expenses, allowing families to save and live a better quality of life.
The Impact of Affordable Homeownership
We believe that home is the foundation for our lives, and it should provide an atmosphere where individuals can thrive. Yet for many families, the concept of home seems out of reach. Home is the key to building strength, stability and self-reliance.
A decent and affordable place to live helps families by placing them on a path of opportunity and increased confidence and self-reliance. A family’s partnership with Habitat means they have a stable place to live and to spend time together. An affordable mortgage means they have a chance to create savings and invest in their education. A decent roof over their heads establishes home as a place that protects — instead of endangering — their health.
A decent home is a social determinant of health. Research shows that housing stability, quality, safety, and affordability all affect health outcomes. Growing up in a decent, affordable home also has a powerful effect on children. Studies draw a straight line between the quality, location and affordability of housing and a child’s ability to thrive.
Habitat works with families to help them gain access, skills and financial education necessary for them to be successful homeowners. By partnering with us, families seize the opportunity and possibility that decent, affordable housing represents. Through shelter, we empower.
Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity surveyed current homeowners in 2017. The results showed:
• 94% of respondents attribute the overall positive changes in their lives in regards to health, safety, financial security, education, and community involvement to the opportunity to own an RVHFH home
• 94% of respondents feel safer in their new RVHFH home than in their previous living situation
• 78% of respondents report that their children are having a better educational experience
• 100% of respondents that reported using public assistance prior to obtaining an RVHFH home no longer need our support.