Celebrating Community-Supported Construction: Columbia County Habitat Kicks Off 30th Anniversary Year With New Building Plan
Columbia County Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023 and has adopted a progressive growth strategy to help address the lack of affordable housing in the area. The organization has committed to building more homes more often, and partnering with more families to help them realize the dream of homeownership. The organization will also serve more low- and moderate-income and senior homeowners with its award-winning home repair and education program, Habitat Helping Hands.
Within the next three years, Columbia County Habitat is committing to:
“The need for affordable housing in Columbia County has always been significant, but the situation has become a full-scale crisis in our communities,” Al Bellenchia, Columbia County Habitat’s Executive Director and CEO, said. “Those of modest means are finding it nearly impossible to find decent affordable housing for sale or even for rent in Columbia County. Columbia County Habitat is committed to developing real solutions to this crisis. As the only dedicated developer of affordable homeownership options in the County, Habitat for Humanity feels a responsibility to the community to meet this need head-on.”
Why Affordable Housing Matters in Columbia County
“Over 30 years, Columbia County Habitat has built more than two dozen homes by bringing together partner families, volunteers and community organizations,” Carolynn Anklam, Columbia County Habitat’s Board President said. “Community-supported construction is what Habitat for Humanity is all about, and what has made the organization admired and respected worldwide. Neighbors helping neighbors will continue to be at the heart of our mission as we grow our impact.”
To meet the rising need for affordable homes, Columbia County Habitat has committed itself to a 3-year strategic plan that will grow its organizational capacity. By the end of year 2025, Habitat will serve more families in Columbia County by building 3 or more new homes each year utilizing basic, sustainable, efficient, and expandable home designs. In the same timeframe, Habitat Helping Hands will scale-up its home repair services program to assist 3 or more families per month.
Columbia County Habitat will continue to serve as the area’s primary advocate for the development of affordable homeownership opportunities by working closely with local and state organizations, elected officials, and the recently formed Columbia County Affordable Housing Task Force to create change that will result in more affordable housing options being built in the County.
“Basic, sustainable, and affordable homes must be prioritized to rebuild the vitality of Columbia County. Smaller-scale construction projects that support – not overrun – communities can be created to fit within the fabric of what currently exists. Columbia County Habitat is actively seeking partnerships with local municipalities and area businesses who recognize the need for, and the value of more affordable homeownership options in our communities.” Bellenchia said.
Founded in 1993, Columbia County Habitat has served local low-income individuals and families for 30 years by building 25 homes in six communities and providing critical repair and accessibility improvements in many more. The anniversary will be marked by several community events throughout the year culminating in a 30th Anniversary Celebration to be held in September.