Research has shown that stable, affordable housing is a key determinant of one’s health, and the home and the neighborhood where you grow up can impact your financial stability and longevity.
Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity North Central Connecticut (HFHNCC) has focused on building generational wealth among our families, and investing in and revitalizing our neighborhoods. Throughout our decades of work, we’ve found that families thrive when they have a safe and stable home in a safe and stable community. Families become engrained in the community, are able to focus their attention on bettering themselves, and have less stress in their life.
However, homelessness in America continues to rise nationally by almost one percent every year. Currently, approximately 66.7% of the total homeless population of the United States are single individuals, with the remaining 33.3% being families.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “When people experience homelessness, they struggle to eat nutritious food, get regular preventative care, and manage chronic health conditions.” These poor living conditions can impact one’s mental health, and as seen with COVID, living in close, overcrowded quarters can also expedite the spread of airborne contagions.
Additionally, the financial impacts can be felt for generations. A 2018 study found a 4% decrease in adult income for every year a child spent in low-resource neighborhoods before age 23 while, conversely, every childhood year spent in high-resource neighborhoods resulted in a 4% increase in adult income, regardless of parental income, marital status, or other family characteristics.
How is HFHNCC furthering affordable housing and building communities in the Greater Hartford and Tolland Counties?
With the 2021 housing affordability crisis, HFHNCC saw that the need for affordable, sustainable housing was GREAT – not only in Hartford County but surrounding areas as well – and sought to expand its footprint and move beyond being a home builder only as the organization is also an equity builder and neighborhood revitalization partner.
As a result, a new four-year strategic vision was established with two overarching directions and goals to guide this period of development for HFHNCC:
- Goal: Have our communities within which we work, and organizations with whom we partner see Habitat as a necessary partner in a community-based, family-centered, catalytic economic strategy
- Guiding Principles/Direction:
- Expand our footprint
- Deepen community engagement (neighborhood revitalization)
Accomplishing the Vision
Earlier this year, we expanded into Tolland County and opened a new ReStore location in Vernon. In September, resource and programming offices were established in the store to serve Tolland County residents and store sales and donations have consistently exceeded expectations. All of the proceeds generated from our ReStores go back to funding home builds and programs within our communities.
Additionally, home construction has continued and this year alone, we have welcomed three families to their new homes with five homes in the final stages of construction. At HFHNCC, we provide families with a hand-up to homeownership, not a handout. Through our program, homeowners are required to complete 150 hours of sweat equity and financial literacy training, put a down payment on their new home, and are responsible for making monthly mortgage payments.
Over our 34-year history, we’ve positively impacted our communities by:
We're just getting started though! Interested in being a part of our journey? You can join our mission by volunteering or becoming an advocate by contacting: email@example.com, or contribute to our Home for the Holidays campaign: https://bit.ly/3tm5UPX