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Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to helping low-income people realize their dreams of homeownership. See how we're making a difference.

Friday, July 30 is considered International Day of Friendship. Celebrate with these ways you can show the people you love the most just how much they mean to you.

While normally “back to school” is reserved for children, it turns out that this time of year is important for every age. That’s because you’re never too old to continue learning, and it can help you live up to your true potential in everyday life.

Just because it’s the middle of the year doesn’t mean it’s too late to set and achieve big things yet this year. While reevaluating your existing goals, throw in some hard-to-reach newer goals and set your sights high.

Life happens, and focusing on all aspects of your health is easier said than done. Take small steps in each area to start building solid habits!

Making a difference in a child’s life sounds like a daunting task, but small acts of kindness can add up and make a huge difference. Start small, like an hour spent volunteering or mentoring.

Inspiration is a fickle thing. It comes and goes with little warning. The good news is, you can always reignite inspiration when you’re feeling uninspired.

While summer is a time of fun, it can also be a time to help mold amazing qualities, like giving back to the community. Ask your children to choose an activity that also gives back

If you’re able, use World Blood Donor Day as a time to give back and save lives by donating blood. If you aren’t able to safely do so, consider helping out in one of the various other ways to help spread awareness.

Weather across the country is heating up, and it’s the perfect time to get out and enjoy mother nature. As it turns out, when it comes to spending time outside, the benefits go far beyond the fresh air.

While the future is uncertain, mankind remains resilient. We’ve learned to adapt to a “new normal” and are slowly making our way back to activities that we set aside for more than a year. A lot has changed, and some of the new techniques and processes surrounding fundraisers, volunteering and fundraising are here to stay.

The upcoming Memorial Day holiday is all about honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. This is the perfect holiday to exercise taking a day “on” instead of a day off.

To lead a fulfilled life, being healthy is about much more than just the physical. It involves your mental well-being, too. 

You don’t have to choose just one cause or organization to support. You can provide support for various causes and various organizations. Take the time to figure out what feels right for you and your own goals for doing good in the world.

May is recognized as National Recommitment Month. It’s a time of renewal and even to build new habits or relationships. What will you recommit to this month?

Now that the world is showing signs of getting back to a sense of “normalcy,” use this Earth Day as a reminder that when we all work together, we can make a difference.

You have the power to continue to do good in the world and be the positive change, even with everything going on around us.

If you’re looking for a reason to get out there and do more good, look no further. April has been named Global Volunteer Month as a time to bring people together to volunteer from across the world.

While times are undoubtedly hard, there is hope on the horizon. Use April’s National Month of Hope as a reminder to be a light in somebody’s life this month, including your own!

When you feel good, you’re more likely to do good in the world and at work. Make sure you’re able to set boundaries to help improve your work-from-home life.

You may not win the lottery tomorrow, or ever for that matter. But what we’re talking about is a different kind of ‘gold’ to make you feel rich in other ways. Check out these ways to feel fulfilled in your everyday life and to make each day golden.

There are those who enjoy crunching numbers, and those who would love to be doing anything else. With March underway and April just around the corner, you may be dreading a certain time of year that’s all but looming—tax time.

It’s impossible to put the best version of yourself out into the universe if you’re already starting at a disadvantage. Make sleep a priority and see the health benefits that affect your overall wellbeing.

Whether it’s doing something for you, your loved ones or members of your community, check out these ways to boost serotonin levels throughout these cold months.

Giving back your time as a board member is a fulfilling way to help make a difference for a cause that you love.

Giving back to the world starts with you. How will you focus on your mental health this week?

This year, instead of simply focusing on your loved ones, consider using February as a time to spread love all over your community. From small acts of kindness to lasting community connections, there are so many ways you can show love this month.

Helping others can provide a new sense of purpose that may have been dwindling as a result of the new way of life we’ve endured in 2020. So in order to breathe new life into 2021 and beyond, it’s time to look outside ourselves and focus on others.

The good you put out into the world will not only benefit the organization you’re volunteering with, but also will leave your family feeling good about the positive work you’ve accomplished together.

People in your everyday life may be struggling much more than you know. So what can you do to help?

Just when you thought the holidays were over, the season of giving has extended into 2021. Use this month as a time to put good vibes out into the universe and continue giving.

While there may only be a few days left, there’s still time to put forth your best effort in 2020. Close out the year with one of these five acts to end on a high note.

While you’ve probably been looking ahead for quite awhile, it’s now time to think about how you’ll spread kindness and love in the coming year.

Preparing for the cold months.


Here it is, the first week of February, 2020, and it's forecasted to be 58 degrees today. I'm sure that will be a record? How was your January? Have you recovered from your Christmas spending? Have you taken down your Christmas lights/decorations? If not, what's holding you back?

That is a great question. It is the year 2020, so....shouldn't we all use our 2020 vision? What did we do in our past, that we want to change? Well, looking into our past gives us 2020 vision for the future, right? Let's make those changes together. How do you want your 2020 to be different than your 2019? Be positive! Be realistic! Be proactive! Be who you want to be!

Being thankful

On November 28th, we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving is a time for our families and friends to get together, be thankful for the life and blessings they have been given. Too many times we use Thanksgiving as a springboard into the Christmas season, but we shouldn't. Let us take time on that special Thursday and give thanks.

Putnam County Habitat for Humanity is definitely thankful for all of our blessings. In 2019, alone, we have completed 2 new home projects; a whole house rehab/renovation project and a new build. Additionally, we have completed 13 Critical Home Repair projects. In every one of these 15 projects, the families have thanked us and told us how much we have helped them, but the reality is this, "We are grateful for the opportunity to give back to our communities and families. We thank them for allowing us to become part of their lives and prayers. It is truly a blessing."

As I sit here, I think about the many things I have to be thankful for: family, friends, job, health, hobbies, etc. I challenge you to take some time in these next few days to think about what you are thankful for. I bet your list is longer than you think.

Matt Rau/Executive Director


The House Dedication for our 2019 Build in Leipsic will be Saturday November 9th at 3:00pm. Address is 221 Eighth Street.

The house dedication ceremonies are a good way for you to come out and see the great work our staff and volunteers do. It also allows you to meet the family and volunteers that have worked on it. If you have never been to a house dedication, please try and make time in your schedule and come out. This is, also, a good opportunity to come and ask Habitat staff and board members questions and etc. We look forward to seeing you.

Matt R/Executive Director

Square Foot Program

It is that time of the year. The annual Square Foot Program mailing went out today. This Program is our biggest fundraiser and source of funds, each year. It's designed to give you, the donor, an opportunity to annually pledge the estimated price of construction, per square foot. Our current estimate is $100.00. However, we have been fortunate in that many of our Square Foot Program donors pledge more than $100.00, annually. Without these tax deductible donations our affiliate could not make the impact in Putnam County, that we do.

For those of you that have been/are donors, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. For those of you that are not Square Foot Program donors, but would like to be......Please call our office at 419-523-9621 and we will get the information out to you.

Square Foot Program donations have allowed for us to build 10 new homes for income qualifying homeowners, with an 11th in progress right now. Our homeowners are selected through a lengthy application process, complete FBI and BCI background checks, complete credit checks, complete 50+ hours of Homeowner Education coursework, complete another 300+ hours of sweat equity on the home, pay a down payment on their mortgage, and pay their first year's homeowner insurance in advance.

Please understand that your donation is apprciated and is utilized to its maximum value. Our homes are built with materials purchased from local lumber yards and suppliers. All of the contractors we use are from Putnam County, too. Your donations have allowed for us to build 11 new homes that have been able to plug nearly $1,000,000 back into our local economy.


Stay tuned!

One of the neatest things about being the Executive Director of Putnam County Habitat for Humanity is seeing or hearing positive words about our affiliate and the services we provide. We work hard to go above and beyond what our mission is. We are here to help people with affordable, safe and decent housing. Occasionally, what we do, makes the News. It's these moments that I feel proud for the many many people that serve our affiliate in volunteer or donor roles. Without all of you, we couldn't do what we do.

Keep an eye out, there will be some Putnam County Habitat for Humanity news coming, soon! Make sure you get a Putnam County Sentinel newspaper next week, or the week after.

Also, we will be releasing some really neat news about a couple upcoming projects, soon...........on our Facebook page, as well as our web page.

Matt Rau
Executive Director

Compassion for all

I have worked in the nonprofit sector for many years, now, ranging from inadequate housing, mental and behavioral issues, homelessness and addictions. The one thing I learned many years ago is that I don't know what I don't know. That may sound funny or sarcastic, but it isn't meant to. I just plain don't know what I don't know.
I have never walked one single day in another man's shoes. I have never lived in a neighborhood that I haven't lived in. I could write cliche after cliche, but the reality of it is that they are all true. What else I know that is true is that we need more compassion in our world. Compassion isn't a religious word. Compassion doesn't have any political affiliation. Compassion isn't dictated by a person's ethnicity, skin color, or culture. Compassion is "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others". I was fortunate to be raised in a household with great parents and an eclectic group of siblings that I love dearly. I learned from a young age that love and compassion does not know DNA.
I feel strongly that compassion is actually a binder and can bind people from all walks of life, all religions, all political affiliations, all tax brackets, all skin colors, etc etc. To see a person suffering from a financial misfortune, or a housing misfortune, or a substance abuse misfortune doesn't mean that we should immediately categorize their situation in any of the above mentioned groups. Can a person disagree with another person's actions, but still have compassion? Yes! Definitely!
When I worked with addicts I often times looked at their decision making up to that point and shook my head, but that's when I leaned that I don't know what I don't know. I never walked a day in that person's shoes. I never lived a day in that person's life. I was never approached or encroached upon with the things that they were. So, I learned quickly to not judge another person for what they have done, or what they have experienced up to that point. Heck, I decided that I couldn't be the sole influence on their lives from that period on. All I could control was my compassion for them and what tools and knowledge I had to help them, moving forward.
Many days each month I receive phone calls in the Habitat office or on my cell phone. Someone is having a bad day, week, situation, etc. Someone is in a bind. Someone needs help. Someone is homeless. Someone is cold. When I talk with these callers, many times I discover that they may or may not have accelerated their situation with different decision making than what I have or would have made, or so on and so forth. But......then again, I never walked a day in their shoes. I was never faced with some of the decisions they faced. I don't always agree with someone's past, but I do understand that I cannot control that. What I can control is my compassion. What can I do to help these callers have a less bad day, a less bad week, lessen their stressful situation, find them and their family housing, find them heat?
Compassion isn't religious. It's not political. It's not ethnic, or cultural, or skin tone. Compassion is just being human. So, if there is anything that I can ask of you all, it is to just consider being more compassionate to others. You don't have to agree with everyone and everything. You don't have to exchange Christmas cards. You don't have to be part of the same tax bracket or social club. Just take some time to show others some compassion. Just take some time to understand that others have different sufferings than you do? They may have different misfortunes than you do? Just understand that you don't know what you don't know.

Matt Rau
Executive Director

First day of summer

Summer arrives today! Can you sense my joy? Spring was not very enjoyable for our region and that was coming off of a long cold winter. I had a conversation last evening and I mentioned that we have had about 7 months straight of poor weather (Dec-June). We are due for some warm and sunny weather, right? July is right around the corner. I would imagine that July will bring with it hot and muggy temperatures, followed by August's hot and dry temperatures? However, with those hot temperatures, brings the possibility of danger.

Did you know that senior citizens and low income families face a much higher level of risk during heat waves? On average, low income families pay 45-50% of their income on housing costs. That leaves the remaining portion to pay for utilities, food, insurances, health care, gas, repairs, etc. Many times, the heating and cooling of the homes/apartments are sacrificed, in order to buy groceries and put gas in cars to get back and forth to work, or medical appointments.

So, if you know of someone that may fit in the categories that I mentioned, above, please check on them during hot days and/or heat waves. Their lives could depend upon it.

Matt Rau/ Executive Director

New Home Build Applications

It's that time of the year! Hopefully, what I mean is that it is time for the rain to stop! However, what I am really referring to is our annual New Home Build application period. Starting June 1 to June 30 we will be accepting applications for partnership for our 2020 New Home Build in Columbus Grove. If you or someone you know would be interested in applying, or if you would like more information, go to the "Homeownership" link on the "What We Do" tab at the top of the website homepage. Or, you can call the Habitat office at 419-523-9621 and ask for more information. We will, also, have a booth set up for information in the Merchants Building at the Putnam County Fair.

Many many times I have talked with potential applicants that say they won't apply because they don't think they will be selected. Or, they think their credit is too low. Or, they think the partnership responsibilities will be too intrusive or difficult to adhere to. Or, that they just couldn't handle being told "no", again. However, I am quite adamant when I tell them to "not disqualify themselves". I tell them that they will never know if the answer is "yes" or "no", unless they apply. Many of the applicants that we talk to have had a lot of negative experiences with other application processes and fear having another negative experience. We have a great committee that is very good at overseeing the selection process. They are compassionate, but fair.

The 2020 Build will be in Columbus Grove. We have selected Columbus Grove because we already own a lot that there and would like to utilize it. The lot is also C.H.I.P. Grant approved. What that means is that it is eligible for a $20,000 grant through HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development). The mortgage for that home will be reduced by $20,000 for the homeowner. That is a great perk!

Pass the word about the New Home application period. Share the info. We thank you for your support!

Matt Rau/Executive Director

Happy 10 Year Anniversary

Happy 10th Anniversary to our affiliate!
Did you know that Putnam County Habitat for Humanity was chartered March 1, 2009? The affiliate grew out of an idea and desire from local Ottawa residents, as they were helping others clean up and rebuild after the devastating flood in 2007. Judge Randy Basinger and several other volunteers from the Ottawa Presbyterian Church were working one hot steamy day when Judge Randy said, “Let’s start a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Putnam County’.
Eighteen months later the affiliate was chartered and hasn’t looked back since. Ten new home builds, one Rehab/Renovation project, as well as seventeen Critical Home Repair projects later, we couldn’t be prouder of what we have accomplished, who we are, and what we are planning to do, moving forward. In addition to those twenty-eight Putnam County projects, our affiliate has tithed enough money to habitat International to build twelve homes in other less developed countries. That’s a staggering forty projects funded by our Putnam County Habitat for Humanity family of donors and supporters.
Let’s take a moment to consider what forty projects means. That means forty families are now living in healthier, safer, and more efficient homes. Forty families have less burden and unhealthy stress in their lives. Forty families are able to make decisions with their finances that allow them to better their lives and provide themselves with new opportunities. Bravo! I think all of our donors, volunteers, suppliers and contactors need to take a bow and consider how much you have done to better the lives of forty families.
Let’s consider the impact of those forty projects on the local economies. With the ten new home builds and one Rehab/ Renovation, our affiliate was able to pump $868,874.00 back into our local Putnam County economy through purchasing construction materials, hiring contractors, and etc. Yes, $868, 874.00! We are very fortunate in Putnam County to have local/family owned lumberyards, suppliers, and contractors. We utilize the county resources!
Now let’s consider the seventeen Critical Home Repair projects. Those projects have pumped $130,535.48 back into our local economy. Again, we utilize our county resources to make these projects happen. So, by adding the new home builds and repair projects together, our affiliate has pumped $999,409.48 into our local economy. That is almost $1,000,000 ! As soon as we begin another project we will surpass $1,000,000 worth of projects in Putnam County, alone!
However, we haven’t discussed those twelve projects worldwide that we have contributed to. Those twelve projects have a value $54,664.00. That is $54,664.00 pumped into the local economies in those countries. That means that Putnam County Habitat for Humanity has contributed $1,054,073.48 to local economies for the building and repairing of forty homes. Step back and think about that. You……. our donors, volunteers, suppliers and contractors have allowed our affiliate to make a million-dollar investment into local economies, communities and the lives of forty families.
We promise you, however, our affiliate is not going to take any of that for granted. We are continually looking at ways to grow, develop and advance into the future. Thank you for taking some time to read this message. Please share the information. Please know how much we appreciate you!

Matt Rau/Executive Director

James Family Home Dedication

The James Family Home Dedication is on Sunday May 19, 2019 at 1:00pm. The address is 203 North 8th Street in Continental. Please feel free to come out and enjoy the celebration!

Welcome to our new website

We are excited to be unveiling our new website. This has been an ongoing process for a few months with our website building partner Firespring. Firespring specializes in working with non-profit organizations in making a great website that is user friendly for the administrators, as well as the users. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact us.

Our intention is to use this Blog as a way to keep our followers/users up to date on what the affiliate is doing. Please check back often. As it is planned, we will be having Blogs from our affiliate Executive Director, as well as our Board President.

Matt Rau/Executive Director

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