Habitat for Humanity works to create equitable, inclusive communities across the U.S. through annual Home is the Key campaign

The global housing nonprofit demonstrates its commitment to helping increase racial equity and close wealth gap during Fair Housing Month

ATLANTA (April 1, 2024) — On April 11, 1968, days after the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Congress passed the monumental Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion or nationality. The landmark bill gave potential homeowners – particularly Black Americans – hope that they could achieve the American Dream of purchasing and owning a home of their own.  

But many barriers that were meant to be dismantled with the passage of the Fair Housing Act remained. Deeply ingrained racism and discriminatory practices in lending and housing policy, including redlining and exclusionary zoning, prevented Black Americans from the opportunity to purchase an affordable home in communities where their families could grow and thrive. These inequities created a decades-long ripple effect that continues to impact Black families to this day.

Habitat for Humanity knows that a decent, affordable home is the key to stability, well-being and intergenerational wealth. Today, Habitat for Humanity is kicking off its eighth annual Home is the Key cause marketing campaign to help unlock equitable homeownership and build inclusive communities across the U.S. Throughout the month of April, five of Habitat’s partners – Astound Broadband; At Home, The Home and Holiday Superstore; Carrier; Giftcards.com (powered by BHN); and loanDepot – are providing financial support, employee volunteerism and their voices in support of Home is the Key. iHeart Radio is also partnering with Habitat to amplify key messages through social media, digital and radio. 

“Shelter is not a privilege – it is a human right, and one that every family should have equal access to,” said Charlita Stephens-Walker, vice president of corporate and cause marketing partnerships, Habitat for Humanity International. “Habitat has firsthand experience in witnessing how safe, affordable homes change lives and communities. The Home is the Key campaign reminds us that when homeownership is accessible to everyone, we all benefit. We are grateful for the many partners who are working alongside Habitat to improve access to equitable housing.”

In 2023, the U.S. faced record unaffordability, near-record housing shortages and major barriers to first-time homeownership. In Los Angeles, one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, skyrocketing home prices are outpacing income levels with recent data reporting the median home price nearing $1 million. In a 2023 report by United Way L.A., the homeownership rates in Los Angeles County for Black (33.5%) and Hispanic/Latino (39.1%) households continue to trail that of white households (53.9%). The report also showed that Black residents are more likely to be rent-burdened than any other racial group in Los Angeles and have the greatest likelihood to be evicted and experience homelessness.

Since 1990, Habitat for Humanity Greater Los Angeles, or Habitat LA, has been working to address the critical need for housing in the city and make affordable homeownership more accessible. As part of the Home is the Key campaign, Habitat for Humanity and Habitat LA are partnering to hold several in-person builds in Los Angeles. On April 11, the anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Habitat and Habitat LA will host a volunteer and community outreach event in the Washington Neighborhood to educate residents on Habitat LA programs and how to apply for homeownership.

This event will take place just steps away from Washington Villas. The 36-townhome mixed-income development is the largest project in Habitat LA’s history and will incorporate energy-efficient and green features including drought tolerant yards, energy efficient heating systems, insulation made of recycled content, low-flow plumbing fixtures and solar panels.

“With rising home costs in Los Angeles, purchasing a first home seems daunting and out of reach for many. Habitat LA is addressing this by building new affordable homes, providing down payment assistance and offering affordable loans to first-time homebuyers. We welcome people to reach out to our team of experts who are ready to put homebuyers on the pathway to homeownership,” said Erin Rank, president & CEO of Habitat LA.

People can support the Home is the Key campaign by donating online and by purchasing select products that send a portion of the proceeds back to Habitat. Habitat encourages using #HomeIsTheKey on social media and visiting habitat.org/homeisthekey to learn more.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org