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Dad Build 2020 News Release image

Dad Build 2020 Press Release

Moms, dads, and families volunteer to help renovate the new home of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity in Pluckemin.

Pluckemin, NJ (August 13, 2020) – Parent and child teams are helping to renovate the historic Burd House, the future home of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) in Pluckemin, New Jersey. The build teams formed to celebrate “Dad Build,” a Father’s Day fundraising event open to family teams with children over 16 years of age.

The teams painted and sanded exterior siding and trim while learning new skills from RV Habitat site supervisors on hand. The Burd House was built in 1839 and is located on the property of Pluckemin Presbyterian Church and owned by the church. RV Habitat will move into the new space this fall with the help of community members such as the moms, dads, sons, and daughters who volunteered to help renovate a piece of historic property.

Several of the participants shared the reasons they volunteer. From Jack, who volunteered with his mom, “I came to learn more about Habitat and enjoy the time with my mom to help the community.” From Melinda, who came with her son, “We came out today to spend some time together for a nice cause for other people.” And from Cicely, who brought her two daughters, “We came out today to support Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity. We’re a partner family and we’re so excited to assist in helping to create their new office space.”

“The parent and child partnership is a great opportunity for families to learn new skills together while contributing to a meaningful community project that will help to deepen our roots in Pluckemin.” said Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Jan Holmstrup. “We welcome more parents and children, individuals, and corporate teams for the Pluckemin build and to our next home build with Cicely and her family in Montgomery Township.”

RV Habitat has volunteer openings for regular shifts on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at the Pluckemin office site, as well as for future construction on RV Habitat’s 54th home in Montgomery Township that will begin in late September 2020. RV Habitat’s newest partner is Cicely Caldwell, a single mother living in Flemington. Ms. Caldwell and two of her daughters attended one of the Dad Build events to contribute to the office renovation and meet volunteers. Volunteers also got to meet Josephine Awadalla, the daughter of a RV Habitat partner family who have been living in their home for several years.

When asked how Habitat impacted her life, Ms. Awadalla told us, “As I was growing up, Habitat for Humanity had a drastic influence on my identity, on who I became, and how I viewed the entire world and humanity itself.” Ms. Awadalla is now a junior at Rutgers University studying public health, a career choice inspired by her experience with Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity. “There is nothing like going home after a long day for everyone in my family. It’s our favorite spot to be since our home is built on the dedication of beautiful families and the hard work of donors.”

Wells Fargo Builds

#WellsFargoBuilds Press Release

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity and Wells Fargo team in Montgomery Township, New Jersey and across the country to help build affordable housing.

Somerville, N.J. (July 21, 2020) – The Wells Fargo Foundation has awarded Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity with a $15,000 grant to build an affordable home in Montgomery Township, N.J. The funding is part of an $8.1 million donation to Habitat for Humanity International for capacity building and direct mission support to build, renovate and repair more than 350 affordable homes across the United States. The funding is provided through Wells Fargo Builds℠ and part of the Wells Fargo Foundation’s $1 billion philanthropic commitment to create more housing affordability solutions by 2025.

“We’ve had a rich history of working with Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity to strengthen our neighborhoods through philanthropy and volunteerism,” said Greg White, Wells Fargo’s Northern New Jersey region bank president. “Safe and stable housing enables people to build upon the rest of their life and, together, we can shift the narrative to help others understand that housing affordability is both an economic and humanitarian crisis that’s taking a toll on millions of people.”

Wells Fargo Builds provides philanthropic financial support from the Wells Fargo Foundation to aid the construction, renovation, painting or repairing of homes with low-to-moderate income households. In 2019 alone, Wells Fargo employees volunteered more than 1.9 million hours of service to strengthen their communities, including building, repairing, and improving 674 homes across the U.S. with several organizations through Wells Fargo Builds.

“Our partnership with the Wells Fargo Foundation and the local Wells Fargo employees will strengthen the community and help build strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable home ownership. We are so thankful for Wells Fargo’s commitment to affordable homeownership opportunities and volunteerism,” said Jan Holmstrup, executive director for Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity.

The grant will support the construction of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity’s 54th home in Montgomery Township, New Jersey. Our newest partner is Cicely Caldwell, a single mother to five children, currently living in Flemington. When asked about the impact of being a Habitat partner, Caldwell told us “Habitat miraculously provided me, a single mom, with the opportunity to become a homeowner, and it just means everything to me and my children.”

About Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity
Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) puts God’s love into action and brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Our vision is a time when everyone in Hunterdon and Somerset counties has a decent place to live. Since 1991, RV Habitat has been building strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable home ownership opportunities for hard-working, local families.

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#CostofHome Press Release

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Raises Awareness of Home Affordability Through Nationwide Cost of Home Campaign.

Somerville, NJ: July 7, 2020–
For a long time Andrea and her children couldn’t afford a decent place to live. Though Andrea was hard working, she had a low wage job and was barely able to afford the lowest rent in her area – an average two-bedroom apartment was over $1,700. She became caught in a punishing cycle of working two jobs to pay for a substandard, unhealthy apartment, that the family would tolerate for a while, and then pick up and move once the poor living conditions became too much. Her last apartment was prone to water leaks, which she believed caused her 5 year old daughter’s asthma. Andrea had a debate in her head every night as she laid awake: stay in the semi-affordable home that may be causing the asthma, so that she could afford groceries and put a little money aside each month, or move once again, pay more money for a “better” place and then cut way back on groceries, dental visits, and saving for emergencies. There was never a clear answer, so Andrea rarely slept well. The cost of affording a simple, decent place to live is a source of worry and concern for millions of Americans, but it shouldn’t have to be.

This summer marks one-year of Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity’s (RV Habitat) involvement in a nationwide home affordability advocacy campaign developed by Habitat for Humanity International called Cost of Home. The campaign involves Habitat organizations across the country united to educate the public and to invite them to advocate for action to improve home affordability for 10 million people in the U.S. over a five-year period.

Families living all across the country, and in New Jersey in particular, are paying too much to cover the cost of their homes, often foregoing basic necessities such as food and health care, and living in overcrowded, unsafe conditions to make ends meet. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 1 in 5 households in New Jersey are severely rent-burdened, which means they spend 50% or more of their income on rent. The need for affordable homes is surprisingly urgent, even in thriving communities like Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, where it takes a minimum wage worker like an essential grocery store clerk or gas station attendant, 3.8 full time jobs to afford a $1,746 per month, two-bedroom fair market rental.

According to RV Habitat Executive Director Jan Holmstrup, “So many families in our area are forced to live in unhealthy, overcrowded conditions. It’s all they can afford in order to put food on the table. These families move often in search of a better place to live, which takes a toll on their children’s education, and social and emotional wellbeing. They’re often faced with making difficult choices, like whether to pay rent or take their child to see a doctor. No one should have to make these trade-offs.”

As the significant economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to unfold, the number of families struggling to make ends meet while still not living in a decent home is only growing. As lawmakers figure out future COVID-19 relief programs, they must be urged to include further support for families struggling to afford life’s essentials, as well as resources for nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity that serve our communities. RV Habitat urges the community to join in advocacy by taking some simple actions. You can go to www.habitat.org/costofhome and send a pre-written, customizable e-mail message to your state representatives to encourage them to prioritize the needs of low-income families and the organizations that work hard to serve them. You can also participate in the campaign on social media by sharing campaign support messages accessible through www.habitat.org/costofhome using #costofhome.

RV Habitat has provided home ownership opportunities and brighter futures to Andrea and her family, as well as 52 other families in Hunterdon and Somerset counties, including 139 children. All children deserve to grow up surrounded by the warmth, safety and comfort of a place they call home, where they can sleep at night in a comfortable bed, play in their neighborhood and celebrate their birthdays – a place that will become the backdrop to all of their childhood memories.

RV Habitat is beginning to build a home in Montgomery Township this month in partnership with the community and its 54th partner homeowner family, and expects to begin building in Hunterdon County in the near future. To support these projects by making a donation, please click the button below or mail a donation to Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 6275 Bridgewater, NJ 08807.

You can also get involved in supporting RV Habitat as a volunteer. RV Habitat is currently looking for help with construction projects and for assistance in our ReStore in Manville. Click the button below to find out more.

 

About Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RV Habitat) puts God’s love into action and brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Our vision is a time when everyone in Hunterdon and Somerset counties has a decent place to live. Since 1991, RV Habitat has been building strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable home ownership opportunities for hard-working, local families. To learn more, explore our website and follow RV Habitat on social media by clicking the buttons below.

Truth and Reconciliation

A statement by New Jersey Habitat for Humanity affiliates

Habitat for Humanity affiliates across New Jersey stand together with our Black brothers and sisters. Black Lives Matter. We individually and collectively resolve to face the truth of our own bias and racism. Moreover, as leaders in affordable housing and community development, we will face the truth of decades of government, private, and non-profit sector housing discrimination resulting in Blacks being excluded from the wealth creation of homeownership and forced to live in communities with limited opportunities for education, jobs, and healthy lives. We will face the truth of redlining, both its history as well as the present reality of it increasing again under the federal government’s new rule changes to the Community Reinvestment Act. Beyond facing the truth of these harmful realities, we resolve to take action individually, collectively, and systemically to bring an end to these practices and policies.

Habitat for Humanity International was birthed at Koinonia Farm – a “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God” which was committed to racial equality long before the civil rights work of the 1960’s. Habitat for Humanity provides a way for Black people to become homeowners and a way for people of all races and backgrounds to help build those homes. Habitat for Humanity can be a vehicle for reconciliation, and we are determined to live up to our mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Now more than ever we are rededicating ourselves to Habitat for Humanity’s vision of a united humanity, where everyone, regardless of his or her race or faith, has a decent place to call home. Wherever we work, we will seek inclusivity and to offer a place where people holding disparate views can come together in a common cause. Join us as we break down barriers, become a vehicle for reconciliation, and work alongside those willing to partner with us, no matter their background or walk of life.

Signed:

Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County
Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties
Metropolitan Camden Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity of Cape May County
Coastal Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County
Morris Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newark
Paterson Habitat for Humanity
Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity of Salem County
Warren County Habitat for Humanity

We’re Hiring!

Work for one of Indeed’s top five non-profit organizations and join an exciting, mission-driven office that is working to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

COVID-19 Response

To our Supporters and Friends

Impacts of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Dear Raritan Valley Habitat Supporters, Customers, Volunteers, Homeowners and Friends,

Due to the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus, we must do our part to minimize transmission and protect you and our staff. Toward that end, we’re taking the following actions effective Monday, March 16:

  • The RV Habitat office is closed. Administrative staff will be working from home, regularly checking phone and email messages.

  • Our Habitat ReStore in Manville will be closed to the public for two (2) weeks starting Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30. At that time, we’ll assess the situation and determine whether we can reopen or need to extend the store closing. ReStore staff will monitor phone and email messages during this time.

  • Pickups of ReStore merchandise will be suspended after Tuesday, March 17. ReStore staff will contact donors who have pickups scheduled to reschedule these pickups.

  • The Habitat Youth Rainbow Run 5K Walk/Run scheduled for April 19 is postponed. A new date will be announced at the earliest opportunity.
  • To the extent possible, the contractors at our new home build site in Montgomery Township will continue with excavation and installation of the septic system.

Though we are in a time of extreme uncertainty, we are hopeful that our projects, volunteer opportunities, and operations will normalize in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, we encourage our Hunterdon and Somerset County neighbors to be mindful of how we can all positively impact our communities. Right now, that means social distancing, practicing good hygiene, and supporting businesses and neighbors in whatever ways we can. We look forward to a time very soon when the Raritan Valley Habitat office, ReStore, and build sites will reopen and events will proceed.

We’re hopeful that it won’t be long before we can welcome you back, and, together, celebrate the importance of a strong community!

We’re reminded, now more than ever, how having a safe and decent place to live brings the sense of security, stability and hope that all of us need, and deserve, to weather storms like this.

We greatly appreciate your continued support, and wish you and your families the very best during this challenging time.

Jan Holmstrup signature

Jan Holmstrup
Executive Director

Rainbow Run Logo

Habitat Youth Rainbow Run Postponed

Rainbow Run 2020
Postponed

Due to the spread of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Rainbow Run.

Originally scheduled for April 19th, we plan to reschedule the event to a date to be determined. Habitat staff will contact registered participants and sponsors this week about options to hold or refund processed payments.

Though we are in a time of extreme uncertainty, we are hopeful that our projects, volunteer opportunities, and operations will normalize in the coming weeks and months. Meanwhile, we encourage our Hunterdon and Somerset neighbors to be mindful of how we can positively impact our communities. Right now, that means social distancing, practicing good hygiene, and supporting businesses and neighbors in whatever ways we can. We look forward to a near future when we can reschedule our events and celebrate the importance of community. We appreciate your support during this time!

On behalf of everyone at Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, we send our best wishes to you, your families and our communities.

Building on Faith Event Recap

BUILDING ON FAITH COMMUNITY SERVICE DAY
September 14, 2019

Thanks so much to the army of volunteers who came together on September 14, 2019 to donate 550+ hours of community service to several local churches and retreat centers. Your time and talents made an amazing and valued impact in our local community.

In late spring, Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent Financial Services Company, a nonprofit financial services company focused on serving Christians and the local community, reached out to partner faith organizations and asked if they had any projects for which they would like some volunteer support. North Branch Reformed Church, United Reformed Church, Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, Pluckemin Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Deaconry Ministries, and Crossroads Retreat Center submitted projects for the community to support.

Over 100 adults and youth participated in some way to help make the Building on Faith Community Service Day a success.

The work team volunteers met for a shared kickoff breakfast at Pluckemin Presbyterian Church and divided into eight work teams. The team spirit was high. The volunteers were ready and eager to serve. This enthusiasm carried over into their work. Some teams accomplished their project in record-breaking time and energetically went out to other worksites to lend a hand on other projects.

The churches and retreat centers are very grateful for the help of all volunteers. The pictures below will demonstrate what is possible when a team of people is willing to share their time and talents. Thanks again to all who contributed and made an impact in our local community through the Building on Faith Community Service Day.

View the Powerpoint Presentation below.

View the Photo Gallery below.

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MetLife Supports Women Build Day

On Saturday, June 29th a group of women from MetLife’s Women’s Business Network at Bridgewater’s MetLife corporate campus extended their work week to do work of a different kind. They gathered in Franklin Township to help an area woman, Anita Fredericks, build her Habitat for Humanity home. Although these women worked for the same company and were all part of the MetLife Women’s Business Network, many had not known each other personally before the Women Build. By that afternoon, new friendships were forged, and a strong foundation was built for working relationships at MetLife and for the family working hard to build a stable and bright future.

The women happily worked as masons for a day, doing the important job of applying stucco onto concrete blocks (also known as “parging”), to form the foundation of Anita’s new home. The work quality and dedication of the women exceeded expectations — the entire job was finished that day! As one MetLife volunteer described, “It was great working with a group of co-workers doing something so different from what we normally do every day. The best part was getting to know the homeowner – I can already picture her kids running around in their beautiful house. ”

While the day surely met Anita’s needs on a practical level, she unexpectedly gained much more. “I am humbled and grateful,” shared Anita, “I was delighted by the heartwarming smiles and genuine love everyone showed for me.” The volunteers also were touched by the experience, “It was so inspiring to meet the homeowner and speak with her about her dreams for her home. I felt blessed to be able to help her family achieve those dreams in a very small way.”

One volunteer took a moment to inscribe well wishes on a support beam of the frame of the future family home. It read: To Anita and family, best wishes in your awesome house! –Tricia and your friends at MetLife. It was truly a day of women working hard and lending friendship and support to one another.

Thank you, MetLife, for making another positive impact in our local community. “Women Build is a fantastic, empowering, one-day event. For more information on Corporate Women Build Opportunities email sharkins@rvhabitat.org.

House Built with Magic

Our partners, Magic 98.3, came out for the third annual “House Built with Magic” event on June 19th-20th. Generous sponsors of the event included ABCO HVACR & American Standard, Central Jersey Fence, Horizon Pest Control, Lattanzio Lumber Co., and Retro Fitness of Hamilton, Hillsborough, North Brunswick, Manville, and Raritan

Champion Home Sponsor, Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, provided the volunteers for the two-day event. Employer volunteers constructed walls for the next home Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity will build in Somerset County. 

Ethicon, Inc. is the premier sponsor for the next Raritan Valley Habitat home.

View the photo gallery below

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