“Shaped Like a House”

I recently ran across the sentence “Hope is shaped like a house” in a story about Habitat for Humanity homeowners in Vietnam. I love that image. I feel like it says so much about Habitat’s work.

During the last couple of years, I have spent a lot of time with house shapes. In developing our new strategic plan, we decided upon a graphic of three simple houses to help communicate some complex information.

Our strategic plan focuses on:
  • Directly improving housing conditions for the escalating number of low-income families worldwide.
  • Influencing the housing market and promoting policies and systems to advance access to adequate affordable housing.
  • Mobilizing the hands, hearts and voices of volunteers in the cause of adequate and affordable housing.
Using the shape of a house as a communication tool for this information seemed quite obvious for a housing ministry. The homes that we build and improve, the affordable housing policies for which we advocate, and the generous hands, hearts and voices we mobilize take that outline and turn it into a blueprint for change.
 
We build because we know what families find in Habitat houses: opportunity, stability, security, health, potential, a new optimism. This edition of Habitat World builds a virtual house around those very things and shares amazing stories that illustrate the many positive ways in which having a home affects families and the communities in which they live.
 
For some families, it’s a dry and clean concrete floor for a young baby to play on. For others, it’s the space and quiet to pursue their studies — and their dreams. For all, it’s the freedom that comes with the financial stability of an affordable mortgage.
 
We build because we know it works. In this issue, hear from researchers whose studies help demonstrate the fundamental importance of housing. Learn about the connection between housing quality and a child’s well-being and how the all-time high burden of the cost of housing in the U.S. affects families and the economy.
 
These stories and this compelling research present concrete evidence supporting what we know to be true — that stable and affordable housing is foundational.
 
I look forward to the new year and the many opportunities we will have to carry out our mission and to observe around the world how love — and hope — is shaped like a house.