Sacramento Habitat for Humanity

Smiling faces break ground at a ceremony on the site of a new Habitat home.

Smiling faces break ground at a ceremony on the site of a new Habitat home.

For over 30 years, Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) has been a beacon of hope for low-income families to have a decent, safe place to live. Established as an ecumenical Christian ministry in 1976 in Americus, Georgia, today Habitat has almost 1,700 affiliates nationwide located in all 50 states. HFHI builds and remodels over 5,500 homes annually, making Habitat for Humanity the 18th largest residential homebuilder and the 3rd largest private developer in the United States.

Worldwide, HFHI has over 2,200 active affiliates in 100 countries. In the last 30 years, Habitat has built over 200,000 homes for more than 1,000,000 people in 3,000 communities. A Habitat home is completed, on average, every 24 minutes someplace in the world! All this has been through God’s grace and from the hands of his servants who have volunteered and given of their time, talent and treasure that God has entrusted to them. This army of volunteers has assisted Habitat partner families who have donated their own hours of “sweat equity” to build a home of their own.

California is in the midst of a housing crisis! In the last 5 years, the median income home increased 112 percent, making Sacramento one of the top 25 cities in the nation for rising home values. During the nine-year period from 1996 to 2005, the Sacramento median home price more than tripled from $120,000 to $370,000. Meanwhile the area median income rose only 38 percent from $46,400 to $64,100 for a family of four.

Ask yourself: Where will our children and grandchildren live? Think about those less fortunate in our community—the homeless families with children, elderly, mentally ill, and those recovering from the hardships of life. Where will they turn to for shelter?

Volunteers raise the wall of another build.

This November 7, Californians will have the opportunity to make a difference and pass Proposition 1C—the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006. This November California election ballot initiative will provide dollars for emergency shelters for battered women and homeless families, affordable homes for seniors and working families, and homes for former foster youth.

A Prosper Magazine correspondent recently asked me: “Opponents say, ‘What difference will this amount of money make in the huge shortage of affordable housing in California? It’s just a drop in the bucket!’” My response: “It’s the story of the young boy walking down the beach seeing thousands of stranded starfish on the sand. He picked the starfish up, one at a time, and gently placed them back into the sea. When asked, ‘What difference does it make saving a few starfish?’ The young boy responded, ‘It made a difference to that one!’”

Over the last 30 years, Habitat’s experience and research studies have shown that home ownership for low-income families does more than just provide a safe, decent place to live. It gives hope to parents and the next generation—one family at a time! Children have a decent place to live, study and bring their friends. Research shows these children are better educated and become better citizens and more involved in making their communities a better place to live. Just as our ancestors came to America for a better way of life for themselves and their families, Habitat homeownership opens the door for families to take the next step up to a better way of life.

Prop1C’s predecessor, Proposition 46, passed in 2002, provided $990,000 to our local Habitat affiliate in much-needed first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance to qualified applicants. The Habitat families served were living in substandard housing, overcrowded conditions or paying 50 percent or more of their income for housing expenses. These families were earning 30 to50 percent of the area median income—equating to $19,000 to $32,000 per year for a family of four. Clearly, these are folks who would have a hard time paying rent let alone ever owning a home!

Sacramento Habitat for Humanity (SHfH) urges you to support Proposition 1C, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006. Vote yes on 1C on Tuesday, November 7th. Your vote will help provide dollars for shelter for California’s most vulnerable citizens. Proposition 1C offers a way to give back God’s bounty to those in need. As Habitat’s founder, Millard Fuller said, “Everyone who gets sleepy at night ought to have a decent place to sleep on terms they can afford to pay.”

Please help SHfH spread the word to your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. If you have a group who needs more information, call SHfH at (916) 440-1215 to schedule an SHfH speaker, or visit Housing California’s web site at for more information.