Why We Build: Because the words of Millard Fuller still ring true today: “A house is to a family what soil is to a plant. A plant needs to be rooted. A family is like that. If a family is not rooted, it will not flourish. But once a family is well-rooted, all kinds of wonderful things will begin to happen.”
At Topeka Habitat, we build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.
Why We Build…
Poverty housing is an ongoing issue in our nation and our community. Our Habitat philosophy is that by building homes with people in need, working with committed volunteers and partners and putting the issue at the forefront of the hearts and minds of compassionate people, the problem can be solved.
Topeka Habitat for Humanity home owners report:
• An ability to focus on their vocations without fear of where they are going to lay their head at night, as 100% of Habitat homeowners are employed (absent those on permanent disability programs)
• 71% report active involvement with a community volunteer organization or in their Neighborhood Improvement Association;
• An ability to further their own education, as 67% have pursued continuing education.
• The ability for their children to further their education, as 0% of children in Habitat homes report truancy and of the children that are college-aged, 100% report pursuing an Associates or Bachelors degree;
Diversity and Community
To date, 102 families have received new and rehabilitated homes, providing them with a safe, stable and affordable, permanent residence.
Of these 102 families:
• 36% are African-American
• 22% are Hispanic
• 4% are Native American
• 11% are refugees from other countries
• 66% have a household member that is physically or intellectually disabled
These home are built in conjunction with volunteers who provide over 1500 hours in volunteer labor with each build, further promoting our desire to build hope and community through the building of our homes. We believe “every nail hammered, every wall raised, is a rejection of hate and a step toward a future where everyone – irrespective of class, color or creed – has a decent life.”
As our builds are a community efforts and we are participating in “infill”, we increase the property values in the surrounding neighborhood by more than 11% with our newly constructed homes, in addition to creating a renewed sense of community, by engaging the neighborhood in the volunteer build efforts. Topeka Habitat’s approach strengthens community spirit, increases the tax base and builds better citizens.
Our homes are built in partnership with three local area high schools, where students gain skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, while further instilling a philanthropic connection to our community. Over 326 students have participated in these Build and Development Labs at Washburn Rural, Seaman and Shawnee Heights high schools. Of these students:
• 62% currently participate in the free or reduced lunch option;
• 0% report truancy-related issues
• 0% report teen pregnancy
• 78% seek further education during the post-high school years
• 69% report seeking further education in a STEM field
Habitat home owners complete prerequisite training in homeownership, budget counseling and financial management, in addition to volunteering 300 – 650 hours of “sweat equity” during the building of their home. At the conclusion of the process, the families “close” on their home and pay a zero-interest mortgage. This program is truly a partnership housing program, as they are supported through the length of their homeownership by Habitat staff, community partners, volunteers and mentors.
The average THFH homeowner mortgage payment is $503 (including escrow payments) versus the average rent payment in Topeka, KS of $803 per month.
We empower through shelter. Help us to continue to empower those in our community today by providing a "hand up". Together, we will continue to build hope.