Habitat for Humanity Kerr County’s History
Habitat for Humanity Kerr County was born out of a happenstance meeting. Rev. Bill Blackburn walked through a parking lot and saw C.J.”Burley” Burleson’s pickup truck with a Habitat bumper sticker. He placed his business card on the windshield wiper asking for a meeting to discuss the creation of a local Habitat organization. After initial meetings the two recruited retired English teach Maud Jennings. Maud had worked in Habitat International headquarters and understood the mission and organization. A community-wide invitation was extended by Rev. Blackburn, Burley Burleson and Maud Jennings for local citizens to meet and discuss organizing a local Affiliate at First Presbyterian Church. Dozens attended and were motivated to secure funds, and with the help of a grant by the Area Community Trust, purchased a lot, and volunteered to build a home for a local family. The Zamora family became the first Habitat family in 1990. Community momentum continued, local congregations recognized the ministry, and by 1998 the twenty-fifth home was celebrated. The next milestone was set in October 2001 with a groundbreaking ceremony for the first home in the Habitat Meadow View subdivision. Dedication of this first home was held in March 2002. Twenty-two families were served in the Meadow View subdivision. Habitat Kerr County celebrated twenty years in October 2009, the building of eighty-three homes, and the creation of Maud Jennings subdivision—named for founder Maud Jennings after her passing.
The administrative growth of Habitat Kerr County is almost as exciting as the accomplishments noted above. The organization was 100% volunteer led until the fall of 2006 when the ReStore, a construction thrift shop, was opened and a manager hired. A construction supervisor and Executive Director were hired in 2007. Over twenty five years of service to the community and families had been led by a volunteer board of directors.
The history presented here is a testimony to the commitment this organization has to its mission—Habitat for Humanity Kerr County is an ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to partnering with God and community volunteers to provide qualified families the opportunity to own decent, affordable homes. The current board of directors is involved in the process of visioning the future of the organization but will always remain true to the goal of constructing homes for deserving hardworking low-income families. With the average production of five homes a year, the thirty-nine homes planned for Maud Jennings should be realized before 2021.
Habitat Kerr County exemplifies the Habitat business model—a non-profit organization dedicated to providing local low-income working families the opportunity to own an affordable home by containing construction costs and financing a 0% mortgage. To accomplish this goal we rely on volunteer construction labor, the generosity of local business relationships, and partner with our future homeowners. The future homeowner partnership agreement has three components: 1) sweat equity hours, 2) pre-ownership classes, and 3) a deposit of funds to be applied to closing costs. Habitat Kerr operates a Re-Store as a revenue stream, collects mortgage payments from homeowners, and solicits funds from various sources to finance the construction of homes. Volunteers from the community and members of the board present the pre-ownership classes. Staff directs day-to-day operations.
The history of what this organization has accomplished is a testimony to the board of directors, Habitat homeowners, and the greater community that supports this valuable mission. Often, and appropriately, the focus of our accomplishments is our families. Habitat Kerr County forms a relationship with home owners beyond the day of sale and creation of the mortgage. When appropriate we refer homeowners to other agencies when a need arises.
Habitat for Humanity International’s History
- A grassroots Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty and substandard housing worldwide.
- Believes that every person deserves, at least, a simple and decent place in which to live and grow into all that God intends for them to be.
- Builds or renovates houses in partnership with families who qualify for homeownership based on three criteria: a need, a willingness to partner with HFH and an ability to repay a no-interest mortgage.
- Works with people of all faiths and people of no faith.
- Sells its houses at no profit, with no interest charged.
- Has built and renovated over 225,000 houses worldwide since 1976.
Founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people from all faiths and walks of life to work together in partnership, building houses with families in need.
How We Do it
Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit, financed with affordable, no-interest loans. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are recycled into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is used to build more houses.
Whether in the U.S. or overseas, families in need apply to local Habitat affiliates. The affiliate’s family selection committee considers applicants’ level of need, their willingness to become partners in the Habitat program and their ability to repay the no-interest loan. Every affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing Habitat homeowner families.
If your family, or a family you know, is in need of decent, affordable housing, please check our Apply for a Home page where you will find information on the availability, size, costs, and sweat equity requirements for Habitat houses in our area, as well as information on the application process.
Habitat and its Affiliates
Habitat is a worldwide, grass-roots movement. There are more than 2,100 active affiliates in 100 countries, including all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. Use the Habitat for Humanity International affiliate search to find Habitat affiliates in other areas.
Habitat is a grass-roots movement. Concerned citizens from all walks of life come together as volunteers to form a Habitat affiliate in their community. Fundraising, house construction, family selection and other key decisions are carried out by the local affiliates. HFHI headquarters, located in Americus, Ga., provides information, training, support and other services to Habitat affiliates worldwide.
Donations are used as designated by the donor. Gifts received by us that are designated to a specific building project are forwarded to that project. Any undesignated gifts are used where most needed. Our most recent audited financial statement is available upon request.
Our board of directors determines policy and monitors operations in conjunction with a board of advisers. Board members are dedicated volunteers who are deeply concerned about the problems of poverty housing in our community. We operate with an administrative staff, assisted by a core group of clerical and support employees and supplemented by long-term and short-term volunteers.
Habitat does not accept government funds for the construction of new houses or for the renovation or repair of existing houses. Occasionally, we accept government funds for “stage-setting” infrastructure needs (streets, sewers, etc.) , or for the acquisition of land, so long as the funds have no strings attached that would violate Habitat’s principles.