I didn’t say that.  The bible did.  Psalm 112:5:

“Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.”

Because of the generosity of our donors, we will be able to lend freely (0% interest) to 25 families in Wake County this year to help them achieve their dream of a simple, decent place to call home.  I notice that the scripture says “lend freely”, not “lend recklessly”.  Habitat has a great track record in lending with a less than 2% foreclosure rate.  Last month, our mortgage payments were 88% current.  We are very proud of our homebuyers and the commitment they make, despite difficult financial circumstances, to meet their mortgage obligations.

I was blessed with the opportunity to meet Martin Eakes last week.  Martin is the founder of Durham’s Self Help Credit Union and the Center for Responsible Lending.  He is a tireless advocate for the poor and seeks justice in the way that financial dealings are conducted.  Martin has great contempt for the assertion that our current economic situation was caused by people buying houses who couldn’t afford them.   Martin is passionate about addressing the widening “wealth gap” that families of color in the U.S. face.  Homeownership is a key component of wealth building for families.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center shows the disturbing trends in family wealth.  Here’s a thumbnail of the Pew study:

The median wealth of white households is 20 times greater than that of black households and 18 times greater than that of Hispanic households, according to a Pew Research analysis of newly-available data from a 2009 government survey. These ratios are the largest in the quarter century since the government first published such data. From 2005 to 2009, median wealth fell by 66% among Hispanic households, 53% among black households and 16% among white households.

You can read the complete study here.

I’m proud that Habitat is in a position to lend freely to those in most need and that our lending gives families a chance to build wealth in addition to having a safe, decent, affordable place to live.  How do we address this widening gap?  I’m eager for your thoughts.