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Habitat urges Congress to protect social safety net programs that support affordable homeownership opportunities
SEATTLE, WA (May 23, 2017) – The White House today released its full fiscal year 2018 budget request, which proposes to eliminate funding for programs that further Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to address the affordable housing crisis in Seattle – King County and across the United States.
Proposed cuts include the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the HOME Investment Partnership Program, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. These vital programs allow Habitat organizations nationwide, as well as other organizations, to empower more people to access all-too-rare opportunities for affordable homeownership and help provide the tools they need to build better lives for themselves and their families.
Habitat for Humanity Seattle – King County encourages its supporters and all advocates for affordable housing to contact their members of Congress and urge them to support adequate funding for these critical programs in the fiscal year 2018 budget.
Without the proven programs that are now sadly in jeopardy, too many of our neighbors and fellow citizens will be denied access to the tools they need, to a hand up that helps them build better lives. These tangible, practical and fruitful investments play an important role in furthering the reach of Habitat’s work, and we call upon our elected officials to not lose sight of the effectiveness and significance of these programs in communities large and small as they consider this White House budget request.
For Habitat for Humanity, this is a moral issue, not simply a budget one. Helping more people build and improve decent places to call home only serves to strengthen the fabric and economies of the cities and towns in which we all live and work.
Statement from Gail Luxenberg, CEO:
There has never been a more important time for Seattleites to stand up for quality, affordable housing. Decent, affordable housing provides the stability individuals and families need to improve their health and education, enhance their financial growth and security, and strengthen their neighborhoods.
Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County (Habitat SKC) will celebrate our 500th home project later this year, with a 99.3% success rate of families keeping up mortgage payments or using equity to graduate the program to market-rate housing.
Today, Habitat SKC has new construction underway in Pacific, WA, building nine single-family homes serving veterans, and will soon start construction in Sammamish, WA. This project in King County’s Eastside will offer to sell 10 cottage-style homes to low-income families for an estimated $180,000-$250,000 each, in an area where the median home price rose 25 percent in one year, to $871,000 this year (MLS). We also offer Homeowner Education, Preservation, and Financial classes both to Habitat partner families as well as to the public.
In addition to building homes, Habitat for Humanity has added a Neighborhood Revitalization arm in the past decade, helping existing low-income homeowners to stay in their homes and improve their neighborhoods, through Critical Repairs and Neighborhood Revitalization projects.
Habitat SKC continues to serve families and empower neighborhoods by bringing the community together. In King County, we have built, repaired, or renovated 452 homes in 17 cities in sheltering 1,651 clients, including 952 children, supported by and benefiting communities of tens of thousands of volunteers and neighbors.
All of this would not be possible without the strong partnership that Habitat for Humanity Seattle – King County has forged with AmeriCorps. Since 1998, more than 268 AmeriCorps volunteers have served more than 438,600 hours with Habitat SKC and currently 28 of 54 staff at our affiliate are active AmeriCorps members or AmeriCorps Alumni. This program not only impacts the greater community and serves economically disadvantaged families, but changes the lives of those who serve through volunteer leadership opportunities.
Solid Ground Petition
The world’s ability to meet the demand for housing in the developing world is outpaced by the rate people who are moving to cities, and subsequently slums continue to grow.
Habitat for Humanity engaged extensively in the formulation of the New Urban Agenda to ensure that housing needs are met as cities expand and slum populations rise. We applaud the New Urban Agenda for its emphasis on housing, focus on secure tenure and attention to community-led development. Yet, in many ways, our work has just begun, and we need your help. Implementing the New Urban Agenda will require hard work, political will and mutual accountability.
Donate your autograph to join Solid Ground calling on all stakeholders to advance the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
WHO IS OUR NEIGHBOR?
“Every year at this time, as the proposed U.S. federal budget begins to take shape, we at Habitat for Humanity are active participants in the conversations that surround these truly life-altering decisions. Every year’s conversation is a critical one, but none more so than the one we find ourselves currently engaged in. Because we know exactly what – and who – is at stake here: our neighbors.”