INTRODUCTION TO CENTRAL BERKSHIRE HABITAT

Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization that builds homes, communities and hope.
Berkshire Habitat  is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.
Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.
All that said, please understand that we do not give away homes. Our homebuyer partners must:
  • Go through a rigorous qualification and selection process.
  • Have a qualifying income and attend our Building for Tomorrow financial literacy training program.
  • Invest 400 (for a single person) or 500 (for dual heads of households) hours of sweat equity in the building of their own home as well as the homes of others. During sweat equity, homebuyer partners learn home maintenance and upkeep.
  • Pay their mortgage on time.
We do not give away homes. We help those who are just a little short of realizing the American Dream of Homeownership. It's a hand UP, not a hand OUT!
HABITAT FACTS AND FICTION
FICTION: Habitat for Humanity gives houses to poor people.
FACT: Houses are not given to anyone. Habitat for Humanity builds houses with people in need with volunteer labor and donated materials. Then, Habitat sells the houses to homebuyer partners through no-profit loans. Habitat acts as the bank, and mortgage payments are zero interest and no more than 30% of the family's household income. Homeowners typically have incomes that are 40-60% of the median income in the area. They are required to invest 400-500 sweat equity hours building their home and other Habitat homes.

FICTION: Habitat houses lower neighborhood property values.
FACT: Many studies have shown that affordable housing has no adverse effect on neighborhood property values. Habitat's approach to affordable housing improves neighborhoods by strengthening community spirit and increasing the tax base, while building better citizens through the cooperative efforts involved in Habitat construction. A recent study found that Habitat homeowners were considered to be good neighbors by other members of their community.

FICTION: Habitat homeowners are on welfare.
FACT: Like most people with mortgages to pay, Habitat homeowners must have a source of income. In the United States, the large majority of Habitat homeowners work at low-wage jobs in the service or health industry. For example, the nurse who cares for your family in a hospital could be a Habitat homeowner. Sometimes homeowners work more than one job to pay the mortgage. A few families are on public assistance or disability.
 

Want to debunk more Habitat myths?
Click here for the flyer and watch our video!

ATTENTION VOLUNTEERS

Our regular build schedule is on hold for the month of May with Women Build in the Berkshires. We're excited to have so many teams of strong, intelligent women join us on site! Loyal and skilled volunteers are encouraged to participate as task leaders. We look forward to working with new volunteers and teams again in June.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Women Build in the Berkshires continues with Guardian Life Insurance Company. Lunch is generously sponsored by Mazzeo's Ristorante in Pittsfield. Women Build volunteers are building from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm at 5-7 Hall Place. 
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Miss Hall's School is volunteering for Women Build from 8:30 to 2:30 pm at 5-7 Hall Place.
Park in the lot at the corner of Seymour Street and Madison Ave, then cross safely to the job site. Do not park near the house so our construction vehicle has space. For more information, call Kat at (413) 442-3181.

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Click here to read our May 2016 newsletter, and be sure to sign up to be the first to know about Habitat happenings.

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Thank you to our 2016 Women Build sponsors and restaurant partners! Click here to learn more about Women Build. 

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Now Recruiting: 6 AmeriCorps National Service members!

Strengthen your skills and make a difference in the community through AmeriCorps. Positions begin this summer, so apply soon! Click here to download our flyer or call (413) 442-3181.

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Westside Neighborhood Watch

Tuesday, May 10th @5:30 pm
Join us at the Christian Center (193 Robbins Ave) to talk about safety and wellness strategies for our neighborhood! Call Nicole at Habitat with questions: (413) 442-3181

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Habitat is running a Children's Early Literacy Book Drive from May 2 to May 20. Click here to see how you can support healthy futures for local children!
Building Dignity

Habitat builds homes with families that demonstrate a willingness to partner with us. These families invest hundreds of sweat equity hours and at the end of the day, the mortgage they pay helps fund the construction of more Habitat homes. It’s easy to feel good about that!

Building Relationships

Politics, professions, ethnicity, religion and economics all fall away at Habitat. We invite people to find common ground through shared goals and collaboration.

Building Community
Habitat seeks to end poverty housing by transforming whole communities, house by house, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood. Our new Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative allows us to serve more families by expanding our offerings to include critical home repairs and rehabilitation programs.

Our homebuyer partners must go through a rigorous qualification and selection process. Our homebuyer partners must have earnings and attend financial literacy training that teaches them to maintain a budget. They must invest 400 or 500 hours (or about a year) of sweat equity in the building of their own home as well as the homes of others. During sweat equity they learn home maintenance and upkeep.

And guess what? After all that:

They still have to pay a monthly mortgage.