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An Opportunity to Thrive

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati helps local women and families build dreams.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati has welcomed the public to build with them since 1986. Beginning as a volunteer-run operation, they merged with other regional Habitat organizations in the decades that followed. In 2013, Cincinnati Habitat and TriState Habitat merged to become Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati. They now serve Warren, Butler, Hamilton and Clermont counties in Ohio and several counties in Indiana and Kentucky.

“Over the past 36 years, we’ve built nearly 700 homes in partnership with families who work hard but don’t qualify for a typical mortgage,” VP of Development and Communications, Tracy Wells tells us. 

Habitat builds and renovates affordable houses for people making between 30%-80% of an area's median income. Partnered home buyers must demonstrate a reliable source of income and invest 200 hours of “sweat equity” in their home and education classes. Houses are sold at no profit with a 0% interest, 30-year loan. The homeowner's mortgage payments are reinvested to build future Habitat homes.    

“Habitat isn’t a one-and-done program. Our homeowners join a close-knit community of support,” Communication & Marketing Coordinator, Elayne Harrington explains.  

Habitat aims to help families achieve strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. 

“We give a hand up, not a handout,” Tracy says. “Building a home with Habitat is life-changing and creates generational wealth. They can invest money saved back into healthcare and education, and increase their quality of life.”

Habitat home buyers work with volunteers to build their own homes and the homes of others. In exchange, homebuyers are provided the opportunity to build and buy a home with Habitat for Humanity with an affordable mortgage payment. 

“We give away nothing but opportunity,” Elayne clarifies.  

Of their many annual programs, one of particular pride is Women Build. This program brings together community friends and colleagues, raising funds to create an affordable homeownership opportunity for a family in Greater Cincinnati.

“Achieving housing stability is far more difficult for women than men,” Tracy addresses. “Women Build invites women from across our region to help a single mom achieve her dream of homeownership.”

After being temporarily shelved due to the pandemic, Women Build is relaunching this year to raise $50,000 to support part of the cost of one house. The female fundraisers and donors will join Habitat representatives on the build site throughout May, alongside the homebuyer. 

“I love bringing women together to help other women rise up,” Women Build volunteer leader, Melinda Kirk Stenger tells us. “The Women Build initiative is vital because it supports women attempting to accomplish a goal, that without Habitat and generous donors and volunteers, would be far out of reach.” 

Any woman interested in learning to build a home is invited to join. No construction experience is necessary, as volunteers work under the guidance of construction professionals, alongside other volunteers and future Habitat homeowners.

"[Owning a home] has been so great and rewarding, one of the best things that have happened to me and my family,” JaQuanna, a Habitat homeowner of 10 years shares.

Also returning this year is Habitat’s Rock the Block event on April 20, where volunteers participate in community revitalization projects. Rock the Block brings hundreds of volunteers to partner with neighborhoods to support the beautification and repair goals of the community. 

Further information on how to get involved with upcoming Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati programs and events can be found at HabitatCincinnati.org

“Habitat isn’t a one-and-done program. Our homeowners join a close-knit community of support.” - Communication & Marketing Coordinator, Elayne Harrington

“Building a home with Habitat is life-changing and creates generational wealth.” -VP of Development and Communications, Tracy Wells

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