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Field Notes: June 2010 -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Field Notes: June 2010

Perspectives from around Habitat's world

Habitat on the Hill



Pictured above, Habitat senior vice president of government relations and advocacy Liz Blake, CEO Jonathan Reckford and congressional relations director Christopher Ptomey arrive at the U.S. Capitol to visit members of Congress. Photo by Steffan Hacker


In late February, more than 240 advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., for Habitat on the Hill, Habitat for Humanity’s annual legislative and advocacy conference.

During the three-day event, participants learned about building sustainable homes; federal programs that help support affordable housing; state and local advocacy; and public and private partnerships. They also heard about topics that support Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which expands on the housing services that Habitat offers to low-income families and includes a greater emphasis on house rehabilitations, home repairs and weatherization.

On Capitol Hill, advocates asked legislators for additional Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Programs and national service resources. They also asked that Congress set aside funding to support transitional and permanent shelter solutions in Haiti.

Building Excellence: Annual awards recognize affiliates and volunteers for innovation and productivity



Florida’s Habitat Collier County completed construction on Habitat’s 300,000th house in 2009.


Habitat for Humanity International has announced the 2009 winners of its annual Pioneers in Excellence awards program for affiliates and volunteers, a program designed to highlight outstanding examples of productivity, innovation and creativity in the furthering of Habitat’s mission.

One affiliate in each of three population categories received an Affiliate of the Year Award for their commitment to serving families in the United States and abroad:

  • Florida’s Habitat Collier County built 111 homes in 2009 and tithed $200,000 to build Habitat houses internationally. Over the past three decades, Habitat Collier County has provided nearly 1,300 local families with safe, affordable housing. In 2009, the affiliate began purchasing foreclosed homes and rehabbing them with partner families, completed construction on Habitat’s 300,000th home built worldwide, and funded the 300,0001st in Zacapa, Guatemala.
  • Indian River Habitat in Vero Beach, Fla., is transforming itself from simply a “builder of homes” to a “builder of homeowners” through a wide range of budget, educational and community-building programs that provide support and assistance to partner families well after they first receive the keys to their new homes. The affiliate’s focus on energy and recycling means homes built more sustainably and an active ReStore that helps supply neighboring affiliates and other area nonprofits.
  • In 2009, Bay Waveland Area Habitat dedicated its 100th house and broke ground on its largest project to date, a 42-unit neighborhood in the heart of Bay St. Louis, Miss. The affiliate is dedicated to building energy-efficient and sustainably green houses, committing its own construction to meeting or exceeding National Association of Home Builders’ silver standards for green building and hosting a regional conference for affiliates and other builders titled Greening Affordable Housing.

Additionally, two other affiliates were recognized for programs that have created meaningful change in their communities—and can serve as inspiration for similar efforts in other locations. Beaches Habitat’s education program helps the children of its north Florida partner families prepare for their futures through its scholarship program and Prep Club, which offers a host of educational and extracurricular activities. Nashville Area Habitat was recognized for an innovative process—a combination of tracking, education and strong affiliate-family relationships—that helped the affiliate maintain a mortgage delinquency rate of less than 1 percent in 2009, even in the current difficult economic environment.

Four recipients were selected to receive lifetime achievement awards for their sustained and effective efforts to help Habitat’s efforts to eliminate substandard housing. Don and Diane Barnes, nominated by Habitat Greater Chattanooga, were honored for their 15 years of 40-hour weeks of volunteering, from running construction sites to starting a Women Build program. Jim Hofmann, nominated by River City Habitat in Missouri, has a long history with the affiliate as a founder, past president and force behind the all-volunteer ReStore; he also has been instrumental in the affiliate’s Neighborhood Renewal Project, rehab projects aimed at changing the face of Jefferson City’s neighborhoods. Betty Salter, currently the volunteer executive director of Pensacola Habitat, helped found the affiliate and has been involved in every aspect of its activities, from land purchases to house dedications, for the past 20 years. Alabama’s Steve Scharfenberg has co-founded two affiliates, Troy-Pike Habitat and Gadsden-Etowah Habitat, where he has served as board president, site supervisor, and constructions and materials coordinator.