2019 was a milestone year serving central Nebraska. Through home construction, the Habitat ReStore and other programs, Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity has been able to help people realize their dreams of strength, stability, self-reliance, and shelter.
Seeking to put God's love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.
Home Construction Begins in the New Sub-division
In June, the first home was completed in our new 22 home sub-division. The Home Builders’ Blitz brought together building professionals and suppliers to build the home in just one week.
This was our fifth Blitz Build, and our 100th home overall, making the build extra special. The Blitz is usually every other year, so the anticipation builds for those who like to participate. Many businesses donate products, services or both.
In 2019, the project saw a record $44,500 in donations of product and sub-contractor services. That doesn’t even include the labor for things normally handled by volunteers on a traditional Habitat build.
Over the years, Tim Uhrich has participated during the framing stage, first as an independent contractor and this year with Truss Craft. Uhrich said, ”The projects always create a real sense of comradery among those involved.” Considering many of the participants are competitors, that speaks volumes. Watch for the next Blitz Build in 2021.
“Our families are better prepared for homeownership than most families. They have to work for it. That’s why I love this organization.”
- Amos Anson
2019 by the Numbers
$492,325 in total market value on 4 homes completed and sold.
103 households inquired about obtaining a Habitat home loan.
$67,971 in construction materials and services donated directly to home construction by suppliers and subcontractors.
0 free houses given away.
Habitat gives CPI students hands-on experience
2019 saw two classes of second-year construction students work on Habitat homes. At the beginning of 2019, Career Pathway Institute (CPI) students completed House 97, which they started at the beginning of the 2018-
2019 school year.
In August 2019, the fifth group of CPI students started to get hands-on training with House #103. Students do work from footings through finish carpentry on one Habitat home each school year. House 103 is scheduled for completion in March 2020.
Under the leadership of their teacher, Brett Forsman, students learn skills which will be helpful in life and future careers.
Habitat’s participation with the student program goes beyond the build site. Members of our Building Committee participate with SkillsUSA (a program to develop career skills). Habitat’s Executive Director and Construction Manager also participate on advisory committees for CPI, helping to direct and oversee educational opportunities for the students.
“There’s a need for skilled trades people. We’re excited to partner with Habitat for Humanity to provide students with hands-on experiences.”
- Brett Forsman
Career Pathways Institute
2019 by the Numbers
226 hours of homeownership education provided to first-time homebuyers in 2018.
Over 50 high school students received hands-on training.
1 college scholarship was awarded. Scholarships are available to traditional and non-traditional students from Habitat households.
79 households receive continuing homeowner education through bi-monthly newsletters.
House 99 was the Faith Build, Sponsored by Thrivent
Thrivent is a Christian-based non-profit, financial services organization. It has had a long history with Habitat for Humanity both locally and internationally. We were fortunate enough to be awarded a challenge grant of half the cost to build a home in 2019.
The Faith Build was an opportunity to engage the faith community as donors and volunteers.
Thrivent hosted events for local members and church leaders to help get them engaged in the Faith Build. They also provided materials to help encourage financial donations and volunteerism.
When the Faith Build was completed, Thrivent gave $55,000 toward House #99. Along with their donation, we received funding from community members and churches toward the challenge grant. Most of the costs to build were covered thanks to Thrivent’s partnership.
Although we were invited to apply for a Thrivent grant in 2020, we had to decline the invitation because of our skewed build schedule due to 2019’s weather delays. We likely will be invited to apply for another grant in 2021.
Additional funding for the house came from Wells Fargo, which provided $15,000 used toward lot acquisition. They also provided 60 hours of volunteer assistance.
2019 by the Numbers
Mortgages paid to Habitat go back into a fund to build more Habitat homes in a self-sustaining cycle. This fund pays for the equivalent of nearly 2 Habitat homes each year.
Less than 1% of all monthly loan payments were late in 2019. The U.S. delinquency rate for traditional loans was 1.3%
Accumulative total pain in property taxes on our Habitat-built homes was $1.77 million dollars.
Karina is a single mom with two young children. She applied back in 2018 for a Habitat for Humanity home to give her family a sense of stability.
This bubbly, motivated woman was working in health and human services full time, was going to school to get her Associate’s Degree and was embarking on her Habitat journey, all at the same time.
Putting in 500 hours of sweat equity is challenging enough without a full work and school schedule. It meant careful planning and tenacity on her part to accomplish her goals.
Six months after she was selected by Habitat, she earned her associate’s degree. Not long after that, she was able to put it use at a new job in human services.
Habitat for Humanity’s mission is primarily to build houses with income-qualified households, but we also work to educate, empower and encourage them. Financial management classes and one on one conversations helped not only Karina evaluate the pros and cons of a job change, but other homebuyers as well.
Karina completed her sweat equity hours shortly before her home was completed in June and continues to volunteer. She also shares her experiences as a new homeowner with us.
Following the Thanksgiving 2019 snows, Karina shared, “I was dreading having to scoop snow...but my kids each asked for their own snow shovel. We got home, and they are helping me shovel snow from OUR driveway, OUR porch steps, from OUR home. I know it’s a group effort, but truly we wouldn’t have this if it wasn’t for Habitat and everything you did. I will never forget my family’s first year here.”
“I’ve worked for an escrow company for four years, and the company
I work for handles Habitat home closings...It’s emotional.
Things always come full circle.”
- Alejandra Torres
Former Habitat Kid
2019 by the Numbers
Over 3,000 volunteers activated.
Over 2,500 sweat equity hours contributed by homebuyers.
6 households honored annually for excellence in curb appeal.
Record-Setting Rains Impacted Home Production
Beginning in the fall of 2018, the rains began and didn’t stop until late summer 2019. This record-setting moisture impacted our ability to complete houses 97 and 98 early in 2019.
As we tried to start and complete houses 99 through 103, wet ground again caused delays.
Ironically, House 100, which was our Home Builders Blitz was our only house to be started and completed on time. The Blitz Build is the home built by professionals in just one week.
Day one (June 3) brought a little anxiety as the rain started just before contractors were scheduled to arrive. Luckily, it stopped quickly and didn’t start up again until it brought the home dedication to an abrupt halt on June 8.
Most impacted was home 101, which at the end of 2019 was six months behind schedule.
2019 by the Numbers
Over 2,000 product donations to the ReStore have resulted in 150 tons of home improvement products saved from the landfill.
Income from scrap recycling at the ReStore totaled $3,293.
Aluminum can recycling topped over 26.6 million cans recycled since 2001, with earnings of over $900,000.
Habitat homes have been built using energy-efficient building practices and systems for 10 years.
Loss Turned Into Hope
For Scott and Glenda Mason, October 2018 was devastating. That’s when their home of 35 years succumbed to a house fire.
Thankfully, the Masons didn’t suffer physical harm. However, emotionally, it was a difficult time. Yet, from this life-altering experience, they found hope and healing.
Not wanting to profit from their loss, the Masons decided to donate the property to Habitat for Humanity so another family could have their forever home.
The Masons made sure the property was cleared and ready to build before they turned it over to Habitat.
The house became the site of the 2019-2020 Career Pathways Institute Build, which made the Masons even more comforted by their decision.
They have been excited to drive by and see the progress, and they look forward to the home dedication in the spring of 2020.