Each year Habitat for Humanity (H4H) sets out to build/rehab between eleven and fifteen houses, utilizing a labor pool that consists of volunteers, professionals, and even those looking to learn a trade. Ultimately, the houses are handed over to deserving owners, who help build the projects from the start. By providing quality houses to those in need, communities benefit as much as the new homeowners who are given a new start on life.
Currently, a house is being rehabbed on 14th Street near Rhode Island. This area is a hotbed of activity these days, partially thanks to organizations such as H4H and People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) that are contributing to the growth of the neighborhood. This particular project was made possible via the coordination of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo thanks to an Urban Initiative grant that came through New York State Housing Trust Fund (PUSH co-applied for the grant). Much of the work is being conducted by Center for Employment Opportunities under the supervision of H4H, along with other community groups and the homeowner who will take ownership upon completion.
Habitat for Humanity Buffalo (H4H) has a new Executive Director, Kate Whitlock, who has come onboard to enhance the already productive undertaking of rehabbing and building homes in the city of Buffalo. After being away from her hometown for twelve years, Whitlock says that she is excited to participate in helping the Buffalo renaissance. Her former H4H work experience (outside of Charleston, SC) has positioned her as a driving force for change, not just on the West Side, but the entire city. It just so happens a new HUB initiative is being developed in the West Side, due to a number of strategic reasons. “We’re concentrating additional homes on the West Side, for a higher impact,” Whitlock told me. “Right now, we are in a transition phase, where we are ramping up to put a higher increase in our building capacity. Not only are we working on rehabbing houses, we are also working with the City to obtain empty lots to build new homes. We also obtain houses from home owners and banks, as well as the City auctions.”
It’s easy to see the impact that H4H is having on the city. It seems as if the work being done is more apparent than ever. That most likely stems from the heavier concentration of projects in close proximity to each other, as Whitlock pointed out. With the transition to increase the organization’s mission further into this realm, we should start to see an even greater impact in more of our neighborhoods in years to come.