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2016-04-05 14:28:10
Habitat for Humanity Orange County

Today we have a very special guest on our blog, Chris Baiocchi, vice president of funding for Habitat for Humanity. Thank you Chris for taking time to answer some of our burning questions about Habitat for Humanity and the process behind such an amazing company in Orange County. Follow along with us on the blog to learn more about how Habitat for Humanity is helping people locally and learn how you can get involved in making a difference!

So Chris, What Exactly is Habitat for Humanity?

It's funny you ask, because there's a common misconception about what we do, that many people have. Most people think we just build homes and give them away. Which sounds nice in theory, but we have a different (and what we think to be more meaningful) approach to equip homeowners for better success.

It could be considered a universal truth that the things that are given to us, generally mean less to us than the things that we worked hard for and earned. For example, if you spend years laboring at a job to buy a car, you'll probably treat your car very well and give it a little more love and attention than if it was just handed to you. In the same sense, that is our mentality when building homes for families. Rather than just giving homes away, we want to encourage long lasting and successful homeownership. Our goal is for families to gain strength, stability, and self sufficiency - so it is required that our families set aside volunteer hours to build along side us. It's a real hard effort, but worth every bit of it.

What Do Homeowners Need to Qualify?

First of all, we only provide services for low income families. But there's much more to it than that. Anyone who applies must demonstrate:

  1. A need: We accept when a family is in a housing situation that can’t be fixed, is overcrowded, unsafe, or unhealthy or hazardous situations, like if their landlord can’t fix the property.
  2. Ability to pay: It's important that a family can afford the down payment, closing costs, and mortgage. The good news, is that we provide one of the most affordable mortgages, at 30% of their income.
  3. Willing to put in sweat equity: That means the family is willing to volunteer their own hours to build their own home and the homes of others.

Although we'd love to build houses for anyone in need, we've created these strict guidelines because it doesn’t do us or the families any good if they can’t maintain their homeownership. Our families must demonstrate a willingness to work with us, do their 'sweat equity', and take the education classes we provide which includes: financial planning, college prep, home repair, and other training to help equip them with the tools they'll need as a homeowner.

For the family who meets this criteria, we move forward, and for anyone who might still need some help, we are happy to give them advice and guidance, and when they are ready, we welcome them back to qualify again. I've seen many families who didn't qualify the first or second time put in a lot of work and come back and get qualified. It's always rewarding to see these results.

What is Your Biggest Need?

Well, there's no getting around it. Our most obvious and biggest need is funding. It's impossible to build homes and change lives without the finances to back it up. Our wonderful donors and volunteers build the groundwork for successful homeownership.

If you'd like to help, please consider donating or volunteering:




Retail Stores - Habitat Restore

In addition, Habitat for Humanity also has two retail locations in Santa Ana and Anaheim called The Habitat Restore. These home improvement stores accept home renovation items such as cabinets, sinks, doors, and countertops, and they sell them at a discount. So, if you're thinking about renovating your kitchen or another area in your home and want to support a good cause, please consider visiting one of these locations. You can also donate your own items to be sold. Anything from gently used tile, windows, doors, etc. Whether you're looking for a bargain or looking to do decluttering or do some spring cleaning, The Habitat Restore can also pick up items from your home. Just call and schedule a pickup time

Thank you so much for joining us on the blog today, Chris! We are thankful for your time and wishing Habitat for Humanity many more years of success. Thank you for all you do for the people and families of Orange County.

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