Fall Volunteer Recap

Posted by Lauren
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By Cara Przybylowicz, Volunteer and Community Relations Manager

In the past three months, an abundance of volunteers came through our organization. Each group has spread so much joy and happiness throughout Montgomery County, especially with the Holiday season in full swing!  We have had groups coming out to help in the ReStore as well as on the various worksites in Montgomery County.

Thanks to our wonderful staff and volunteers from our partners at Bank of America, we were able to complete and dedicate a home in Lower Pottsgrove to a very deserving family, the Tremble Family!  We want to wish the family the best of luck with their new home, and offer a huge Congratulations and Welcome Home!

We have also had groups from Eastern University, Ursinus College, IMS Health and Villanova University come into the ReStore to lend a hand in moving furniture, helping customers, and getting ready for the Holiday season!

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Annette's Story

Posted by Lauren
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By Marianne Lynch, Executive Director

Last week, as I was doing one of the many small tasks to get ready for our Holiday Open House, I was able to spend some time with Annette, our newest partner and soon-to-be-owner of 130 Wayne Avenue in Norristown.  When working alongside a family, we get to know their story and how they came to learn of Habitat. Each story is remarkable and unique, but Annette’s story stopped me in my tracks and made me realize once again what a true blessing the stability of a home can be to a family in need.

Annette and I compared notes about how this time of year is so special for children – their excited faces at seeing the presents under the tree, the glittering energy of twinkling lights and all the magic that this season brings. For Annette though, this Christmas is one that is truly bittersweet. She has two beautiful children excited to see the holiday. They can’t wait to see what Santa brings and look forward to spending time as a family.  At the same time her family is also mourning the loss of their youngest member - a three-month old baby who died suddenly of SIDS in September. As we talk, she remarks that life was supposed to be very different at this time of the year with two children and a new baby experiencing the holidays for the first time. The grief is palatable as speaks about the loss of her child, but Annette does not shy away from it, knowing that out of her profound grief will come something good.

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Why Habitat Montco Does This Work

Posted by Lauren
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By Michelle Spada, Director of Family Services

Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing in Montgomery County: $292,600

Total Cost of 30-Year Fixed Mortgage at 4.06% for $292,600 Property: $506,541

Monthly Payments for 30-Year Fixed Mortgage at 4.06% for $292,600 Property: $1,407

Median Income of Habitat Family of 4: $36,480

Median Housing Budget for Habitat Family of 4: $851.20 per month

Habitat Montco works with families in Montgomery County who make between 30% and 60% of median income for the county. For a family of 4 in Montgomery County, the median income is $81,100. 30% of median income is $24,300. 60% of median income is $48,660.

Now, let’s look at housing budgets. The usual factor utilized to determine a family’s maximum housing budget is to take 28% of their gross household income. This ratio is used both in the affordable housing field and in the traditional mortgage field. This 28% represents ALL housing costs—principal, interest, insurance, and taxes.

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Women Build Week 2016

Posted by Lauren
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By Elizabeth Bowers, Director of Development

Have you ever heard the phrases, “you run like a girl” or “you hit like a girl”?  I heard them from time to time while I was growing up.  For me these words never hurt my feelings. They just put me on notice that there was something different and special about who I was. I am a girl, so of course everything I do, I do “like a girl”. I proud that I am a girl, who has diverse interests that range from hiking and camping to reading scientific journals. 

Every year at Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, strong and smart women gather to “build like a girl”.  This year from January 27th-30th we are hosting our 6th Annual Women Build Week.   

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The Gift

Posted by Lauren
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By Marianne Lynch, Executive Director at Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, PA

I am very fortunate because I have the best job in the whole world. I get to work with an amazing team and perform a mission so essential to humanity. I get to work with incredibly generous people who want to see everyone have a decent place to live just as much as I do.  And in some cases, I get to witness the kind of generosity that doesn’t come around every day.

Recently, Habitat began working with an incredible gentleman named Lenny Bazemore. Lenny gave Habitat the gift of a home and the funding necessary to rehab it for a family. As if that is not amazing in itself, when I share the story behind the gift, you will see a man who embodies the spirit of giving and will never give up on the neighborhood that raised him and continues to inspire him.

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Motivation: Giving Thanks and Changing Lives this Holiday Season

Posted by Liz
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By Michelle Spada, Director of Family Services at Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County

It’s the middle of November. Thanksgiving and the holiday season are right around the corner!

Thanksgiving is a time that we share with our family and friends and reflect on the blessings in our lives. As the Director of Family Services, I spend the majority of my time with HFHMC working with current and prospective homeowners. The best part of the job is being welcomed into the homes and hearts of families throughout Montgomery County. Over the past few weeks, I have felt such MOTIVATION here in our offices, out in the community, and in the homes of our partner families. This holiday season, I am grateful for and inspired by the motivation I feel buzzing around our families because that extra push is the first and most important step in making changes in our individual lives, in our communities, and around the world.

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The Top 5 Ways to Show Your Habitat Support

Posted by Liz
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By Elizabeth Bowers, Director of Development and Communications at Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County

As the Thanksgiving season grows ever closer I am reminded of all the things I am thankful for.  I have wonderful friends and family.  I have a safe and stable place to live. Unfortunately, many of the families we serve at Habitat don’t have stable homes.  They may be renting or sleeping on someone’s couch until they get their own place.  Or they may own their own home, but cannot afford to maintain it when their furnace breaks or pipes burst. 

Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County is here to serve residents of Montgomery through homeownership, critical home repairs, financial counseling and life skills class, and neighborhood revitalization. We need your help to provide theses programs, to build hope, and to transform lives.

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Almost Home Program

Posted by Cara
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By Marianne Lynch, Executive Director  

Almost Home
Improving Housing Situations and Lives

Here at Habitat, we work with hundreds of families every year determining their readiness for home ownership. In fact, since the launch of the county’s response to homelessness, Your Way Home, we have seen a significant increase in these families reaching out, hoping to become part of our home ownership program. Families who contact us are typically not homeless and thus do not qualify for Your Way Home, but rather they are living in less that desirable situations – paying too much for housing, living with relatives, or living in overcrowded dwellings. Unfortunately, a large majority of these families contacting us are not quite ready to own homes of their own, but with a little push could be ready within a few months or a few years. In the past, families who weren’t ready were left discouraged by us and others – they had no plan and few avenues for help. There are many organizations throughout the county that do great work around financial literacy or life skills or job skills, but to the families trying to move forward, it has been difficult to make a comprehensive plan, focusing on all of these intertwined issues in one place. Habitat observed that there were a few a comprehensive approaches to changing habits that were negatively impacting families abilities to move forward, but they were spread out geographically and often possessed significant waiting lists.  

It was with this growing list of people and the need for these services in mind, that Habitat recently created the “Almost Home” pilot program. Almost Home is a 6 week, 12 session, 2-hour course designed to help families make a plan for improving their housing situation as well as their lives.

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