“When my mom told me that we were going to be partnering with Habitat, I was embarrassed, and I didn’t want to tell anybody, but then I realized that it’s not even about that,” said Carissa Arnett, a student at Manchester College whose family partnered with Habitat for Humanity. “I should be proud that I got involved with them.”
Habitat for Humanity provides eligible families with a home that has zero percent interest, no-profit mortgage. It has locations in 200 countries with 67 chapters in Indiana.
Arnett said her family partnered with Habitat in 2010. After that, she said she noticed less stress in her family life. She also said it moved her away from people who were bad influences in her life, and that she was positively influenced in her school work.
Jean Wright, executive director of the Habitat chapter in Huntington, said the goal is to “show God’s love manifested through the use of a hammer.”
Families are chosen through three criteria: need for housing, ability to repay and willingness to partner in building the house. Wright said the payments are affordable and that they work with families going through hardships.
“Something that really inspired me about their non-profit work is that they are a helping hand and not a handout because you don’t just get a house for free,” Arnett said. “You have to work for them.”
Initial funding for the homes comes through different venues. Half of the income comes from the ReStore, a second-hand store also in Huntington that sells donated items at a discounted price. The rest comes from grants, donations and mortgage payments. Volunteer work is vital in keeping costs to a minimum, Wright said.
“If you come out, you’re going to love it,” Wright said. “When you’re there working with that family side by side and you’re helping build their own home … that’s really powerful.”
This year marks Habitat’s 25th anniversary in Huntington. In that time, they have built 25 homes in the community and are working on a strategic plan to complete 25 more projects in the next three years, including new homes and repairs in other homes.
Wright said these homes help lift the immediate families out of poverty, and changes the children and their perceptions.
“It sets a whole new course for that family,” she said.
This was true for Arnett. Before partnering with Habitat, she said she was not sure she would even graduate from high school. Habitat inspired her to look into furthering her education.
“I started looking into it more and I realized how much I loved Habitat,” Arnett said. “I loved the ideas behind it, and I loved what they did to people and how they impacted families’ lives.”
The office of Habitat for Humanity is currently located at 1454 Etna Ave., but it will soon be moving to 1175 Etna Ave. Their hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ReStore is located at 325 Hauenstein Road. It is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.