Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to helping low-income people realize their dreams of homeownership. See how we're making a difference.
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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!
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
2019 HOUSE DEDICATION
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.
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.
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.
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