Since its founding in 1987, Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity (GAHH) has built affordable housing in nine different communities throughout Albuquerque. Our mission is much bigger than building homes. We believe that everyone deserves a decent and affordable place to call home. We build community by giving low-income families an opportunity to purchase a home so they can stand on their own, find stability and build a safe and secure foundation for their family’s future.
Strong, stable homes help build strong, stable communities. A decent place to live removes barriers to success that might have been a part of a family’s life for generations. In fact, compared to children of renters, children of homeowners are 116% more likely to graduate from college and 25% more likely to graduate from high school. Further, children of homeowners are 59% more likely to become homeowners themselves (Cincinnati Office of Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, 2003).
We build homes to ensure that people like Tina can better their lives and the lives of their children. Tina is a smart, ambitious 37-year-old single mother with a 12-year-old daughter. Just eight years ago, when Tina applied to become a Habitat homeowner, she lived in a crime-ridden apartment complex and made a living by providing day care services in her home in order to be with her daughter until she was old enough to start school.
Since becoming a Habitat homeowner, Tina has completed her undergraduate degree at UNM and today she is in her fourth year of teaching at an elementary school. She sold her Habitat home to purchase a larger home closer to the school where she teaches and to Albuquerque Academy where her daughter attends on scholarship. Because Habitat homes have a zero percent interest rate, Tina was able to realize some $20,000 when she sold her home back to Habitat, and used the money for a down payment on her new home. Tina says she would not be where she is today without the opportunity that Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity provided for her and her daughter.
How we build is just as important as what we build. Habitat houses are built with a contribution of five hundred volunteer hours of “sweat equity” labor on the part of the soon to be Homeowner. By investing themselves in the building process, Habitat families gain self-reliance, self-esteem and new skills.
Working side-by-side with Habitat families, countless volunteers and sponsors invest time, money, materials, and their expertise into building affordable homes. Habitat volunteers, donors and business partners gain new relationships, which extend far beyond the immediate impact of building a house together. Habitat brings together people from all walks of life, with varied skills and economic backgrounds to achieve a common goal of service to others.
Families who are successful in completing the requirements for a Habitat Home receive a no-interest mortgage on a house built to accommodate their family size and budget. A decent place to live and an affordable mortgage create a situation where homeowners can save money, invest in education, pursue opportunity and have more financial stability.
The sale of Habitat houses is structured to give Habitat a First Right of Refusal to buy back the homes we build, which assures continued affordability of these homes beyond the first owner. The down payments and monthly mortgage payments are reinvested and used to build more houses through a revolving fund. In this way, we can ensure that Habitat homes will continue to meet the need for affordable housing in the Greater Albuquerque area.