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It All Begins with Home

How Habitat for Humanity Helps Families Build a Foundation of Strength, Stability and Self-reliance

Article by Emily Shea

Photography by Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

Families need affordable housing more than ever, so Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio is building more than ever. Today in the U.S., one in four people live in conditions that harm their health, safety, prosperity or opportunities while housing costs are rising faster than wages in 90% of housing markets. On the other hand, a decent, affordable home helps people throughout our community break the cycle of generational poverty and instead helps them build a cycle of strength and stability that lasts for generations. This is why Habitat for Humanity works to make a difference in our local community by building and preserving homes with a purposeful focus on holistic neighborhood revitalization.

How Habitat Builds

A grassroots Christian housing ministry, Habitat partners with low- to moderate-income families who need a hand-up, not a handout. Future homeowners invest “sweat equity” by completing courses on financial literacy, home maintenance and personal development, and they build their home and the homes of other families. Churches, businesses, organizations and individuals contribute the financial resources that help Habitat purchase building materials, and volunteers build side-by-side with future homeowners. When homes are complete, they’re sold to families with long-term 0% interest mortgages. And as Habitat families make payments on their interest free mortgages, they help fund even more Habitat projects.

Why Habitat Builds

The families who partner with Habitat for Humanity know that the journey toward homeownership is not an easy one, but one that is well worth the investment. When families partner with Habitat to build and purchase their homes, they commit to a process that takes time and ultimately builds a strong foundation for the future. Consider this:

  • For lower- and moderate-income households, a $10,000 increase in housing wealth raises the probability of college attendance for children by 14%.

  • U.S. homeowners have an average net wealth that’s 400% higher than renters with similar demographics and earnings.

  • Each year of owning a home increases net wealth by $9,500 on average.

As the need for affordable housing grows, Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio has grown. Once serving Greater Canton, the local organization has grown to serve all of east central Ohio, including Stark, Carroll, Tuscarawas, Harrison and Jefferson counties. While Habitat is known for building new homes, they also restore and repair homes, tear down blighted properties, create green space and pocket parks, deconstruct properties to preserve resources and constantly advocate for affordable housing. At the end of the day, Habitat for Humanity is all about bringing people together to strengthen communities and offer hope to families through a decent, affordable place to call home.

Since 1988, Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio has built nearly 600 homes with thousands of individuals and children. They’ve seen time and again that when home is affordable, when home is good and healthy, when home is safe, families can develop strength, stability and self-reliance that lasts.

ReStore: The Store That Builds Homes

Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Canton is much more than just a place to find great deals on furniture, appliances, home décor and building materials. It’s a key part of how Habitat for Humanity builds more homes and a stronger local community. When you donate and shop at ReStore, you’ll help start a chain reaction of community investment that will make a very real difference that will last a very long time.

Donating is simple. Choose the good and resalable items you would like to donate and drop them off at 1400 Raff Rd. SW in Canton or schedule a free donation pickup at By donating your unneeded items to ReStore you’ll help keep usable materials out of landfills and help your community thrive. And while your ReStore donation helps local families build homes with Habitat, it's a tax-deductible contribution for you.      

When it’s time to freshen up your own space with an updated piece of furniture, some one-of-a-kind home décor, or discount building materials for your latest project, Habitat ReStore can help. ReStore has over 30,000 square feet of gently used products that are donated daily as well as brand new items such as rugs, paint, and laminate flooring. And ReStore is good for your wallet—items are sold at 50-90% off regular retail prices. 

When you donate to ReStore, you make a big impact through decent, affordable housing. When you shop, you get a great deal. And that’s why Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Canton is the store that builds homes.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio and how you can donate or volunteer, visit For more information about Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Canton or to schedule a free donation pickup, visit or call 330.915.5920.