Homeowners Giving Back
One of the most remarkable aspects of NOAHH’s partnerships with our homeowners is that they often continue long after a partner family closes on their home. Though they have contributed to our mission through sweat equity, many continue giving back through volunteering, outreach, or raising awareness.
Melvin Thompson never stopped volunteering. Unable to volunteer on the build site, he worked all of his sweat equity in the ReStore. He formed such a strong bond with the staff that when his hours were over, he chose to remain as a core volunteer, coming almost every day to help in the store.
“At first when I came in, [the staff] used to help me do things like move things around,” said Melvin. “Now I help people bring things to their truck, and I help unload the truck and put it on the carts. I like to come around and help.”
The ReStore staff now considers Melvin part of their family. He works with them every week, assisting customers and moving donations to the sales floor, but what brings him back is the chance to spend time with those he befriended during his partnership.
The most effective testimonials for Habitat’s homeownership program come from our partner families. They can speak personal experience about the need for housing. For educator Scott Moersen, it’s a chance to teach his students about their city and the impact they can have, taking what he learned in the program and passing it on a to a new generation. After moving into his new home, he brought out a group of students to help build homes for others.
For Andrea Meier, knowing what others face trying to find a home is what has motivated her to keep giving back: “I became aware of how hard it was to find housing once I had children,” she said. “When you’re a single person, you can get away with different kinds of living arrangements. When you have kids, you realize you’re going to need more bedrooms, and the rent is only getting higher. Then you start to look around, and you see that everyone is struggling. Before Habitat, the house I lived in was a one-bedroom shotgun that was getting sold for short-term rentals. Because of that, I became very passionate about affordable housing, not just for my family, but for everyone.”
A year after settling into her own Habitat home, Andrea joined NOAHH on site for Women Build. There she met Shawna Beasley, a future homeowner volunteering her first day on the build site. Since then, she began working with Shawna on her sweat equity hours.
“I enjoy working outside and learning new skills,” Andrea said. “It sets a good example for my kids, to go out and make an effort doing something you don’t have to do. It’s good to be involved in something that you believe in. Not only the actual work I do is helping, but getting the word out is helping.”