November is here and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Why, you may ask. Because it’s all about counting our blessings, family and football.
With the theme of Thanksgiving in mind, I’d like to share a little information about an organization that is very important to me and aligns with real estate and investing – Habitat for Humanity. To learn more about Habitat’s mission and its history, see my article from 2013.
Many of us take for granted what a roof over our heads really means. There can be many different factors that lead to an individual not having a home. One issue that has had great impact lately are natural disasters such as hurricanes. Habitat has been a leader in responding to these issues in the last few years.
Here are two stories of the impact the program has on victims of hurricanes:
Story 1: After being confined to her home for several days during Hurricane Harvey, Edna’s first view of the outside world came as a shock. ‘It looked like an ocean, she recalls. You couldn’t see grass, trees, signs, houses. Nothing.’
In this desolate and unrecognizable landscape, she and her family escaped the only feasible way — using an air mattress as a makeshift boat to float to safety. Living out of a hotel with her entire home and a lifetime’s worth of belongings destroyed, Edna turned to Habitat for Humanity.
‘It was a godsend, she says. I was at my lowest point. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how to build a house.’
In a massive community effort, Habitat volunteers and donors provided her family with the manpower, the machinery and the know-how to help them rebuild from the foundation up. Together, they completely gutted, drywalled and painted the home.
‘I thank God for Habitat because without them, I wouldn’t be standing here today,’ she states.
‘Hurricane Harvey came, and then Hurricane Harvey left — with my security, with my joy, with my stability,’ she recounts.
Both her house and her workplace were underwater, leaving her without a job or a home. She dipped into her savings to make the necessary repairs and return a sense of normalcy to her daughters’ lives, but a false start with a contractor left her with depleted savings and a still-unlivable home.
‘I felt stuck. I didn’t know where to turn, she says. But that’s when I found Habitat.’
It’s a discovery that she credits with giving her the strength to carry on.
With only the frame of the house remaining after the storm, Habitat is helping her put up drywall, replace appliances, hang doors and install flooring to help her family finally go home. Latoya couldn’t be more grateful.
‘Habitat took a huge weight off of my shoulders. I could keep moving forward. They made a way out of what was no way. They saved my life,’ says Latoya
At OTA we are about Transforming Lives, and so is Habitat for Humanity. This holiday season I challenge you to find a way to make a difference in someone’s life.
Diana Hill – firstname.lastname@example.org