Habitat for Humanity transforms neighborhoods one block at a time
Ask someone what they know about Habitat for Humanity and chances are, they will likely know us as a philanthropic organization that builds houses for lower income people. That’s not incorrect – but it is incomplete.
While building homes is a major part of what we do, Habitat is about far more than that. The mission of Central SC Habitat for Humanity is to bring people together to build homes, community, and hope. For 36 years, Central SC Habitat for humanity has provided affordable housing to low and moderate-income families in Richland, Lexington, and Fairfield counties.
To date, we have built over 275 homes, or approximately eight homes per year. Of those, 96 families have satisfied their mortgages. And for anyone who might think affordable housing is a financial risk, consider this: since we started building homes in 1985, there have been only 12 foreclosures.
Our business model is sound, sustainable, and based on constant community re-investment – 93 cents of every dollar we receive goes right back into the community. It can also be easily replicated and implemented virtually anywhere. Indeed, Lexington and Richland Counties, the towns of Cayce and Lexington and city of Columbia all know this and officially list us as key community partners.
Habitat not only builds new houses but also improves neighborhoods. We clean up littered vacant lots and abandoned homes. Wherever we happen to be working, we survey the neighborhood for existing homes that might need important repairs or upgrades. Usually, the owners of homes we identify meet the criteria to receive our help. As a result, we have helped many people, including seniors, single parents, and veterans.
Habitat sets the stage for families and volunteers to come together, to build, to bond, to have a truly transformative experience – one that has a lasting and tangible outcome. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable home ownership, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves.
By taking a holistic approach, Habitat helps facilitate real, quantitative, value-added transformations as well as build vital community bonds. Neighborhoods we partner with see property values increase and crime rates plummet. Homes we have built just in 2019 alone have already gained, on average, 4 percent in value. But just as important, we build friendships, foster working relationships, and ultimately help communities become stronger.
Simply put, Central SC Habitat transforms neighborhoods one block at a time.
Contributing writer Roy D. Kramer began as a volunteer for Central SC Habitat for Humanity 27 years ago. He retired as executive director earlier this year.
Central S.C. Habitat for Humanity was profiled in the 2021 Columbia Regional Business Report Book of Experts.
209 S. Sumter St.
Columbia, S.C. 29201