Women Build Week 2016

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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

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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

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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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My ReStore Basement Renovation

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By Marianne Lynch, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County

Last January, my basement backed up with raw sewage, destroying a small den, our laundry room and a small bathroom – yuck. As a reader, you might say “what does this have to do with Habitat for Humanity?” Actually, quite a bit. 

When we were trying to decide what to do in order to repair our space, particularly in light of the slim insurance check we received, Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County's ReStore became an instrumental part of the planning process. Because I had this resource in my community, I knew that I could do a fantastic job remodeling on a very tight budget. We were able to get a window, ducting, lumber, stair railing, light fixtures, trim, cabinets, paint, couches, an armoire, a credenza and so many other items from the ReStore that I saved more than $4,000. This made my project affordable and the end result beautiful.

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The Hard Work is Worth It

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By Marianne Lynch, Executive Director

Last week, as I watched our Construction Director, Chuck Weiss, hand Brian, our newest homeowner, a tool box filled with the tools to tackle home maintenance, I began to reflect on the path that led to the moment of Brian’s dedication. Habitat’s journey has not been an easy one in this community, or even with rehabbing this house.

When Habitat started construction back in November, we discovered a lot going on behind the walls, including a broken beam and fire damage stemming from the other side of the building. With lots of experienced help, we were able to overcome those obstacles and make Brian’s home a beautiful one that he and his family will enjoy for many years to come.

Brian was also working hard to overcome obstacles to own his home; making the time in his busy schedule raising his three children to come perform his sweat equity, working with our staff to manage his budget, understanding the mortgage process and grappling with the reality of being a homeowner.

At the same time, Habitat was working diligently in the neighborhood to overcome so many of the obstacles that the residents have in making Cherry and Chestnut streets beautiful, safe, amazing communities. Habitat was trying to acquire some of the blighted properties on the street, deal with the trash and the dilapidated park, and empower the residents to find their voices of change.

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The Habitat Dollar

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By Tina Barber, Development and Communications Director

Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, PA has been working for 25 years to make the dreams of homeownership a reality for low income families in Norristown, Pottstown, Upper Dublin, and Hatfield. We have built 59 homes and impacted over hundreds of Montgomery County residents. Each and every gift that is made to Habitat changes families. Your shared dollars transforms lives by building hope, uniting communities, and inspiring impact. To get a better understanding of just how far your gift to Habitat Montco goes, we wanted to give you a glimpse into what a typical Habitat Day looks like!

7:00 am: A dedicated construction volunteer arrives at Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, PA to load up a truck with hammers, nails, lumber, tools and coffee — his job every build day is to make sure that each of our construction sites have the tools and materials needed to work. By 7:30 am he’s out the door, making a stop at each site some days in Norristown, Pottsgrove, Ambler or even Elkins Park.

8:30 am: The Habitat office opens, the Director of Family services begins to sift through her voicemail messages. Today there are 15 new inquiries about our Critical Home Repair Program, families in need, hoping that we will be able to repair their roof, a single mom who needs a wheel chair ramp, an elderly couple living on Social Security in need of new plumbing so that they’ll have heat this winter.

8:45 am: The Habitat ReStore team prepares to open the doors to the store; orienting teams of volunteers to what is expected to be a busy sales day. Prices tags are checked, sales flyers are distributed, register tape is refilled and donations assistants are prepped.

10:00 am: ReStore Montco is busy! Customers are hunting for unique treasures in the furniture room, DIYers are planning restoration projects, and local folks are selecting paints, stains, flooring and tile--looking to keep up with their home maintenance

11:30 am: Habitat Montco’s Neighborhood Revitalization Committee meets to discuss home repair applications and review notes from several recent home visits. Together, the NR Committee and Habitat Construction Team sift through Critical Repair applications, visit homes to check out the work requested, meet the families and assess the viability of the projects.

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