Sweet 16: Habitat for Humanity of Owensboro – Daviess County

Red Pixel Studios is donating a Web site to an Owensboro-area non-profit organization, in celebration of our Sweet 16 – our 16th year of business. The winner of the Sweet 16 Award will be determined by Facebook users through three rounds of voting starting March 12 and ending April 3. 

Note: Habitat for Humanity of Owensboro-Daviess County did not advance in the Sweet 16. Still, we encourage you to learn about the organization and consider how you can help them with their mission.


Organization Name

Habitat for Humanity of Owensboro-Daviess County

Year Founded

Habitat for Humanity of Owensboro-Daviess County was formed in November 1987. Officers were first elected in January 1988. The organization received it incorporated status in June 1988.

Mission

Habitat for Humanity of Owensboro-Daviess County was formed to increase access to affordable housing, promote self-determination and break the cycle of poverty in the region. Under the national Habitat model, homeowners help build their houses alongside volunteers, put in 350 hours of “sweat equity” on various Habitat projects, and attend educational sessions on homeownership and budgeting. In turn, they are offered an affordable mortgage and a home of their own.

Accomplishments

Since its creation in 1988, Habitat for Humanity of Owensboro-Daviess County has built 128 homes, providing safe and affordable housing for hundreds of area residents and children in need. During 2017, another four to six houses are expected to be completed. Over the years, the organization has created formal policies and procedures; established a formal board of governors; secured the services of a volunteer executive director; hired several staff, including a construction supervisor, volunteer coordinator and office manager; and expanded its volunteer base. In 2003, Habitat Owensboro held its first “Women’s Build” and has continued that tradition every several years. The 7th Women’s Build is planned for this June! In 2006, Habitat Owensboro held its first “Apostles’ Build” — which brings volunteers from 12 churches together to complete a house. Another Apostles’ Build is scheduled for Fall 2017! In 2008, through a generous grant from IMPACT 100 Owensboro, Habitat purchased its own office building and warehouse — greatly expanding the organization’s ability to host volunteer groups and stage a range of construction projects. Finally, for every house built in Owensboro, Habitat has funded a house overseas for a needy family – expanding the impact of the organization far beyond the boundaries of Western Kentucky.

Challenges

Many of the challenges that face Habitat for Humanity of Owensboro are common to all nonprofits: the need to raise money, trying to do as much as possible with a limited staff (two of whom work part-time), and motivating busy people to engage in activities and events. Some of the challenges that are unique to Habitat include: preparing program participants – many of whom have never owned a home – for the realities and responsibilities of homeownership; helping program participants remain current on their monthly mortgage payments; and maintaining a caring and respectful attitude at all times, even if a homeowner goes into default or drops out of the program. The lack of a website is also a major challenge to the organization – making it difficult for prospective donors and volunteers to find basic information about where we are located and how they can get involved. Finally, Habitat has enjoyed the leadership of a volunteer executive director for 24 years. At some point, the organization will need to plan for a transition and, most likely, find new sources of revenue to compensate a new director (Not everyone can be the saint that Executive Director Virginia Braswell has been!)

Anything Else?

Habitat for Humanity of Owensboro-Daviess County is so grateful for the strong and enthusiastic support it already receives from this community – from individual donors to volunteer groups to corporate sponsors. Habitat is committed to maintaining low overhead and re-investing as much of its donations as possible in direct services to those in need. To that end, a $7,000 in-kind gift of a free website would mean that Habitat could buy 233 more boxes of nails, 50 toilets, exterior siding for 10 homes or a new plot of land on which to build. Thank you for considering Habitat for this award. Please “Vote Habitat” for us in each of the three rounds!