At an evening reception held at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora Aug. 21, southern Kane and Kendall County business, church and local government leaders officially launched Montgomery-based Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity’s four-year initiative, “Working Families Rebuilding Neighborhoods.”
The four-year, $1,850,000 initiative is a partnership of business, church and community groups with working families to build 20 affordableHabitat homes and to rebuild neighborhoods in Aurora, Montgomery and surrounding areas.
Bill Allen, project director, said Fox Valley Habitat will partner with sponsoring organizations, working families and dedicated volunteers in five areas:
1.To build six new and 14 refurbished single-family Habitat homes;
2.Educate the community on the operations ofHabitat and how the Habitat home ownership process impacts area employees;
3.Revitalize older neighborhoods through the construction and sale of owner-occupied, covenant-restricted homes;
4.Expand sponsorship and community involvement opportunities for businesses, churches and civic organizations, and,
5.Generate an estimated $21 million in economic benefits for the local economy.
Nearly $480,000 has been pledged to the Working Families initiative.
In a recent study involving 65 Fox Valley businesses, civic and church leaders by Atlanta, Ga.-based ByrneAllen Corp., most leaders said they believe that hardworking families earning $22,000 to $45,000 per year cannot afford to purchase a starter home in our economy.
As a result, they spend a large percentage of their monthly income on rent.
Community leaders understand the link between creating affordable home ownership opportunities for employees earning $22,000 to $45,000—Fox Valley Habitat’s income requirements for partner families—and an employer’s ability to retain quality employees, especially in the medical, retail, service, and manufacturing industries.
According to a ByrneAllen economic impact analysis, Fox ValleyHabitat’s past homebuilding operations and its new initiative—70 homes total—will produce over $23 million in direct economic benefits over the next 20 years—the length of a Fox Valley Habitat no-interest home mortgage.
With the new initiative, Habitat will, through a focused marketing campaign, debunk the myths surrounding Habitat and its homeowners—including the misperception that homes are given away or earned through sweat equity.
“We want local employers to realize that Habitat offers their lower-wage employees a home ownership opportunity that is less expensive than renting, benefittingboth employee and employer,” said Jeff Barrett, Fox Valley Habitat executive director and pastor of Genesis Community Church in Montgomery.
“Companies seeking community involvement and team building opportunities will find Fox Valley Habitat a perfect fit as well.
“Marketing and public relations exposure for local companies involved with Habitat will be enhanced.
“Area churches can broaden, and simplify their local outreach efforts by partnering with Habitat, a successful local Christian housing ministry since 1989.
“Elected officials, business leaders and area residents will learn of the positive economic and infrastructure impacts of building Habitathouses in place of existing substandard housing in order to revitalize older neighborhoods,” said Rev. Barrett.
To fully implement the Working Families initiative, Habitatis seeking tax-deductible sponsor commitments of $1,850,000 through home sponsorships ($85,000), land sponsorships ($25,000), four-year financial commitments (2013-2016) and in-kind donations of building materials and construction services.
A distinguished group of business and church leaders has joined with the Habitat board of directors in support of the $1,850,000 initiative. They are: Community Division, Barry C. Finn, president and CEO Rush-Copley Medical Center, and Steven and Dave McCormick, First Centennial Mortgage, $100,000 level; Neighborhood Division, Himbert J. Sinopoli, vice president and general manager, Hollywood Casino, Aurora; Homeownership Division, Zachary Martel, president, Roscich and Martel Law Firm, LLC, $50,000 level; Homeownership Division, Nick Wallace, partner, 3ROOFBIDS.COM, $48,000 level; Woodworker Division, Rob Costello and Tory Hannan, principals, Torch Architecture, and Rev. Jeff Barrett, pastor, Genesis Community Church, $25,000 level.
Finn said, “We believe in Fox Valley Habitat’s effort to partner with employers so that together we can create safer and more vibrant neighborhoods through community members who are part of the local workforce.
“We encourage other area employers to get involved and learn how this initiative can have a positive impact in the community—whether through employee home ownership, company-sponsored financial contributions or employee volunteerism.”
Steven McCormick, president, First Centennial Mortgage said,“Whether your organization seeks to positively impact the lives of your employees, increase the availability of quality affordable housing in our community, or structure a rewarding team building experience for your group, this initiative is worthy of your consideration.”
Martel added, “We are asking businesses, churches, professional firms and civic organizations as well as individuals and foundations, to consider a financial commitment to the Working Families Rebuilding Neighborhoods initiative.”
Fox Valley Habitat invites all businesses, churches, foundations, individuals and civic organizations wishing to explore involvement opportunities with the Working Families initiative to call Allen at (630) 701-2140 or email Rebuilding@Foxvalleyhabitat.org.
Fox Valley Habitat background
Founded in 1989, Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, is nondenominational Christian housing ministry that builds affordable homes in partnership with hard-working families in southern Kane and Kendall counties. From 1991 to present, Habitatcompleted 50 homes, a large percentage of which are located in older sections of Aurora, Montgomery and North Aurora. Habitat constructs and sells both new single-family homes and refurbished existing homes.
Homes are built using funds and volunteers provided by sponsor organizations, working alongside future Habitat homeowners and trained worksite managers. The homes are purchased for the cost of construction—land and materials—by partner families. No interest is charged on the 20-year mortgage initiated, held and collected by Habitat.
Working families are selected to partner with Habitat on the basis of annual family income--$22,000 to $45,000—a demonstrated need for affordable housing, family’s ability to pay the mortgage, and a sincere willingness to partner with sponsors and Habitat—all without racial or religious discrimination. Extensive sweat=equity hours on other Habitat homes—200 hours per family—home ownership training classes—50 hours—and the family’s own home—100 hours—are required prior to closing on the home.
Post-closing restrictions included in the Habitat mortgage ensures that, among other restrictions, the home will be properly maintained and will not be rented by the family, sold without Habitat’s approval or house criminal activity. In 20 years, Habitat as experienced only one mortgage default on its 50home mortgages.