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Archive for October, 2012

26 October 2012 | PERPETUAL MOTION MIRACLE

26 Oct , 2012

I can’t begin to tell how many times I’ve heard a Habitat volunteer say, “I feel like I received more than I gave.”  Habitat’s most famous volunteer former President Jimmy Carter often shares that sentiment.

I’ve felt it personally and it keeps me coming back for more.  I go out to one of our work sites and say I’ll stay until lunch and then can’t pull myself away.  It’s really important to all of us that we feel we’ve made a difference and at Habitat, it’s easy to see the difference you’ve made.

I’ve had the privilege over the years to work with and get to know Randall Wallace.  His name might not be familiar to you, but you’ve probably seen some of his movies, including Braveheart. Randy organized his Hollywood buddies in 2000 as a group called, Hollywood for Habitat.  I spent a week in L.A. building with Randy, Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Bo Derek, Maria Shriver and some others.  Randy spent time growing up in Lynchburg, Virginia, where I started my Habitat career and lived on the same street as Randy’s parents.

We love to share Randy’s quote that captures this feeling of receiving while giving:

“Habitat for Humanity is a perpetual motion miracle; everyone who receives, gives; and everyone who gives, receives.  If you want to live complacent and uninspired, stay away from Habitat; come close to Habitat and it will change you and make you part of something that changes the world.”

12 OCTOBER 2012 | MINIMUM WAGE & AFFORDABLE HOUSING

12 Oct , 2012

Ever wonder how many hours a minimum wage worker would have to work to afford a 2 bedroom apartment at fair market rent?  Check out this informative map from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

3 OCTOBER 2012 | COST BURDENED & OVERCROWDED

4 Oct , 2012

We have three criteria that all of our home-buyers must meet to be accepted into the Habitat program.  They are: 1) need for housing  2)  ability to pay  and 3)  willingness to partner.  These have long been a part of our Habitat’s successful selection criteria helping us insure that  a Habitat house will indeed be a blessing and not a burden.

One of the housing needs that we see frequently is from families who are “cost-burdened” by their current housing expenditures.  We define “cost-burdened” as families whose total housing cost (rent+utilities) exceeds 30% of their income.  Another frequent need we see is from families who are overcrowded in their current housing.

Over the past 2 years, we have seen the trend of those families whose cost of housing is a burden to them continue to rise.  This past year, 73% of the families qualified for our program under the cost burdened and/or overcrowded category.

Here’s a statement from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, State of the Nation’s Housing 2012, report:

“The recession took a toll on household incomes, but did little to reduce housing outlays for many Americans.  Between 2007 and 2010, the number of US households paying more than half of their incomes for housing rose by an astounding 2.3 million, bringing the total to 20.2 million….Moreover, the recent jump in the number of severely cost-burdened households comes on top of a 4.1 million surge in 2001-7.”

They continue, “For households paying large shares of income for housing, making ends meet is a daily challenge.  Among families with children in the bottom expenditure quartile, those with severe housing cost burdens spend about 3/5 as much on food, half as much on clothes, and 2/5 as much on healthcare as those living in affordable housing.  Providing assistance to cost-burdened households not only helps to ensure a decent place to live, but also frees up resources to meet life’s other necessities.”

Click here to see the full report.

26 SEPTEMBER 2012 | HIGH FIVE

1 Oct , 2012

This past Saturday, I made an early trip out to our Morrisville site to congratulate our newest home buyer, Amy on the completion of her home.  I couldn’t stay for the house dedication that morning because we had five other dedications happening across town in East Raleigh.  Nice problem to have.

Nonetheless, I ended up walking through Amy’s house with her son, DeShawn.  He was very excited about his new home.  I had heard that he had packed up his things a month ago in his anticipation of this move to a new home.  DeShawn had lots of questions for me about the house and then he showed me where he would place his bed and other furniture in his room.

Once finished with his questions, he said to me, “You all did a nice job.” And then he raised his hand up and gave me a high five.

So, I pass along DeShawn’s high five to all of our donors and volunteers.  You all do a great job in making a difference to families throughout Wake County—life changing differences!


Habitat for Humanity of Wake County
2420 Raleigh Boulevard
Raleigh, NC 27604-2235
Phone 919.833.1999
Fax 919.833.8256
Habitat for Humanity of Wake County ReStore

Store hours:

  • Tuesday - Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Closed Sundays and Mondays