A safe, stable home to call one’s own- Michael’s Story.

We walk into the apartment and our eyes immediately fall on two little girls in matching red shirts. One of the girls, Aryana, tells us she and her sister are in kindergarten. Made brave by this announcement, she draws out a beat-up, beet-red toy cell phone from a holster near her hip and hands it to me to admire. I tell her that it’s nicer than my phone, and her laugh reveals a front-tooth-less grin. Her dad, Michael, a clearly kind and gentle soul, tenderly tells the girls that the adults need to sit down to talk. As we gather around the living room, the girls continue to periodically come over and touch their father’s hand or arm or knee in soft gestures of childish love.

While the atmosphere is made safe by the small family’s love, the apartment itself is anything but. Our short tour of the apartment reveals a stray bullet hole in the living room window, an air conditioning unit teetering precariously in a molding wall, and a decaying kitchen floor that lurches dangerously under our weight. Michael pays $150 more per month for this apartment than he would for his Habitat mortgage. What’s more, Michaels’ situation is far from an anomaly— in any given year, we will visit dozens of apartments as substandard as, if not worse than, Michael’s. These home visits—a requirement to be accepted into our housing program— never fail to remind us of the enormity of the need for safe, decent housing in our community.

While it can be daunting to acknowledge the extent of the need in our community for safe housing, Habitat also knows that we can change— and have changed— the landscape of affordable housing in this city one house at a time. Housing is a central concern for all families, everywhere. Home is the central place where families conduct their lives. It is where they get ready to have a successful day at school or work, where they come together to eat meals, and where they lay their heads at night. So much more than a mere structure, our home is the very context of our lives. In a recent survey, we asked our homeowners to share their observations about changes in their children’s health since moving into their Habitat home. Of those who responded, 72% reported a decrease in illnesses like asthma and allergies in their children since moving into their Habitat homes. One homeowner wrote: “We are stable now. We are not moving from place to place, always keeping half of our stuff in boxes. My son no longer has asthma attacks from mold and dirty carpets… My daughter is playing outside more.” Perhaps the most significant investment we can make towards a strong community is in one of the most basic needs that exists: a safe, stable home to call one’s own.

ReStore Volunteers Needed

Are you good with people and able to make change?  We need a reliable, trustworthy people to help run our cash register.

We’re looking for individuals to fill the following shifts:

Wednesdays, 10a – 2p
Wednesdays, 2p – 6p
Fridays, 3p – 6p
Saturdays, 10a – 4p

This opportunity is a great way to support our construction process without having to swing a hammer!  All profits from the ReStore are used to purchase construction supplies, and we could not do that without the help of our volunteers.  Please consider becoming part of the ReStore team!

Call 815-713-3184 if interested, and ask for Steve

Congratulations to Rolf Egeland, 2015 winner of the Floyd and Helen Rickard Volunteerism Award

Every spring, RAHFH recognizes one of their own for excellence in volunteerism.  The Floyd and Helen Rickard Volunteerism Award is given to a volunteer who has dedicated themselves to Habitat’s mission year-after-year, just as the Rickard’s family did since nearly the first home was built in our community in the early 1990s.

This year’s Floyd and Helen Rickard Volunteerism Award went to longtime construction site volunteer Rolf Egeland, who has been building as part of the First Free team for 15 years. Rolf was also selected as the featured volunteer in our newsletter this year, the story from which is below:

“It has been 15 years already since my construction days with Habitat for Humanity began in Rockford. I grew up in the Chicago area, and I always had an interest in building— it was Glenn Johnson who first inspired me to act on that interest for Habitat in particular. On the build sites, I do many of the necessary jobs, but my specialty is mudding and taping drywall. It’s not a job that most people like, but I enjoy it. I volunteer with Habitat because the Bible encourages us to help people who are in need. I feel that the goals and principles of Habitat for Humanity are Biblical and rewarding. I believe that we have a spiritual mandate to serve with the energy and ability and strength that God gives us. There’s a scripture that reads to whom much is given, much is required— and we have been given so much. That’s why volunteering is important to me, and I am thankful to the Lord that at 90 I am still doing it!”

WIFR: Habitat For Humanity Helps Rockford Family

Another Rockford family can now say they’re homeowners all thanks to a local organization.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — Another Rockford family can now say they’re homeowners all thanks to a local organization.

The Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity has built another home. This time for the Garrett Family who will be moving into their new house in the eleven hundred block of Geneva Avenue, in a few days. The ceremony featured a home blessing, the opportunity for the Garrett’s to thank volunteers and sponsors, home tours, and the turning over of the keys. The organization has now helped roughly 130 families over a 27 year span.

“I love my ceiling fans. That’s my favorite part, the ceiling fans and just seeing it being built from the ground up is so amazing. That’s a once in a lifetime thing to see that,” says Shanica Garrett.

Habitat families are qualified and selected based on their need for simple, decent, and affordable housing, along with their ability to pay back zero-interest home loan, and their willingness to partner with the organization.

Source: Habitat For Humanity Helps Rockford Family

WREX: Local Habitat for Humanity dedicating four homes to round out the month

Habitat for Humanity is keeping busy these last couple weekends of August, giving four local families homes in four days.

On Sunday, Janessa Shaw and her family moved in on 28th Street in Rockford.  Community members helped bless the house.  Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity’s executive director says she remembers Janessa applying for the program exactly one year ago.

“We went on a home visit to her home and recognized that she was a generational Habitat family, her grandmother purchased a habitat home in the early 1990s and so it was obvious that this was a legacy we wanted for Janessa and for Habitat as well,” says Executive Director Keri Nelson.

Families qualify for Habitat for Humanity based on financial need.  They pay back a zero-interest home loan and complete “sweat equity,” which is volunteer work on the home they move into.

The local Habitat for Humanity group dedicated another home Sunday afternoon and it’ll bless two next weekend.

Source: Local Habitat for Humanity dedicating four homes to round out th – WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader