By Maureen Fife
Chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity of Tacoma/Pierce County, Wash.
Our community seems to be at the center of the foreclosure crisis in our state. In the first issue of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds for the state of Washington, Tacoma rated first and unincorporated Pierce County rated second for number of foreclosures per capita. In addition to the numerous foreclosures, Tacoma and Pierce County have a lower median income than the neighboring counties. With the help of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds, though, I know Habitat can play a part in purchasing foreclosed homes and helping partner families become homeowners.
We currently are working in a community called Tillicum, where well over half the population lives in poverty. Habitat for Humanity — along with help from the city of Lakewood and several community organizations — will provide low-income families with affordable opportunities to own or repair their homes, and we will help revitalize the area. The homes built and repaired by Habitat will create a safer neighborhood, add to the local tax base, improve civic services to the area, and inspire neighbors to improve and maintain their own structures and properties.
Revitalization of neighborhoods is new territory for us, and we are stepping out in faith. But we look forward to building new homes and rehabilitating old ones with the amazing help of the people of Tillicum. It’s a small community with a very big heart. Tillicum has regular community meetings, and Habitat has been welcomed with open arms. They are serious about making their community safe, clean and beautiful — a place where everyone can thrive. By helping these families revitalize their area, we can help make a great community even greater.