“The non-profit institution neither supplies goods or services…nor controls. Its ‘product’ is neither a pair of shoes nor an effective regulation. Its product is a changed human being…The non-profit institutions are human change agents.” - Peter Drucker
Dear Friends of Columbia County Habitat for Humanity,
We have passed the halfway mark for calendar 2022, which for Habitat affiliates means that a new fiscal year started as of July 1. It is an opportunity to review some recent accomplishments and preview what’s ahead during the next 12 months and beyond.
We have welcomed two new families into our community-built homes, one in Valatie and one in Ancramdale. We are expecting a second family to occupy their new home in Ancramdale in late Summer/early Fall. When that happy occasion occurs, we will have sold all our available homes, and will begin construction on our next project, which we expect will be in Philmont. We are doing site engineering and prep work there, in preparation for inviting homeownership applications for the two homes to be constructed there. We will have more to announce on this next project in the weeks ahead.
Habitat Helping Hands
This Spring, in collaboration with several leading County organizations, we launched a new homeowner services initiative, Habitat Helping Hands and began our first joint projects: safety and accessibility repairs and a financial education webinar series.
The Habitat Helping Hands program is focused on seniors and new and low-income homeowners who have few resources available to them. Like our affordable home ownership programs, we seek to give a hand-up to folks: helping them achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves, their families, and our community. Applications and criteria for assistance can be found on our newly redesigned website, and projects are evaluated on a need basis.
Our partners include the Columbia County Libraries Association, Columbia Greene Community College, Greylock Federal Credit Union, and Ed Herrington, Inc. We will also be formally celebrating the launch of this collaborative project at Columbia Greene Community College on October 15, so please SAVE THE DATE!
We are also seeking volunteers interested in assisting on our build/repair projects. Please call our offices at 518.828.0892 if you are interested in lending your own helping hands!
Every donation made to our ReStore is recycled into our home building programs. We literally turn your contributions into houses. Our ReStore had a record year in Fiscal 2022 for donations, customers and revenues, which allowed it to contribute $100,000 to homebuilding. You helped make this happen, and we are immensely grateful.
The Future: Vision 2025
If you have been keeping up with the news, you are no doubt aware of the escalating affordable housing crisis in our community. Simply put, in Columbia County there is a lack of housing available that is considered affordable (under 30% of gross income under federal guidelines.) This is a problem locally, regionally, and nationally.
Affordable housing has transcended from “merely” a social/class issue into a full-blown community/economic crisis. If working class families (the people who serve our coffee, draw our blood, maintain our streets, staff our offices, etc.) cannot find or afford housing in our communities, they will seek out other places where they can work and raise their children. We are seeing this unfold in real time across our county, as more and more employers cannot find local workers and workers cannot find local housing that they can afford.
This challenge is the impetus behind our Board’s decision to explore ways we can grow, have a greater impact on addressing the need for more homes, and create a greater diversity of housing options. We are currently working on a new strategic plan to guide our future development, as we look forward to celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2023.
How you can help
As the quote at the top of this letter suggests, our work can be the agent of change needed in our community. And many hands make the work lighter and more enjoyable. There are many ways to get involved with Habitat, which can be found on our newly refreshed website. Please take a look and take action to support our work.
Our best years are the ones ahead.
Carolynn Anklam Al Bellenchia
Board President Executive Director/CEO