I have always been a fan of Habitat for Humanity and as I have come to know some of the fine folks who are work with the organization here in LA, I see why they are so successful. Habitat is helping to create affordable housing for deserving families in our area and they’re doing it in a way that creates self-reliance and community partnerships. Erin Rank, CEO of Habitat For Humanity of Greater LA, called in recently to talk about their upcoming Builders Ball and some of the LA projects they are most proud of.
The Builders Ball is sold out again this year. The event honors builders who’ve done a lot to transform the landscape of the LA community by adding affordable homes. This year Habitat LA will proudly honor Trammell Crow, Delta Air Lines and Mauricio Umansky who all share Habitat LA’s commitment to community focused building. In addition to recognizing Habitat LA’s counterparts in the building and real estate industries, this event will also raise funds and awareness for their Building a Greater Los Angeles campaign to revitalize distressed communities throughout Los Angeles and provide hope for low-income families living in substandard housing.
Habitat LA is also celebrating a major accomplishment for the organization. Twenty years ago President Jimmy Carter and his wife Roslyn helped build thirty new homes in Watts. As Habitat continues to build there, they are also celebrating some of those early homeowners who have now paid off their mortgages and own their homes outright. This is not a giveaway. Homeowners have to put in up to 500 hours of work themselves, alongside Habitat’s volunteers. When they move in, they start to pay an affordable mortgage payment. Those payments are then used to help purchase homes for others. Most of them stay in those homes for life.
Habitat gets land donated from the city but everything from the foundations of the houses to the creation of the homes is donated so events like the Builders Ball are critical to keep their work progressing. Habitat Greater LA has made a commitment to invest $100 million in affordable housing over the next five years. You can support Habitat for Humanity by making donations and also by making donations to Habitat’s ReStore and by shopping there too. The ReStore is a cross between Goodwill and Home Depot with huge markdowns on building and home improvement materials.
From top to bottom, people are really dedicated to this cause. Erin says what motivates her is seeing people’s lives change, kids’ health improve and all the good things that come with stability and pride. Erin likes to drive around during the holidays to see the new houses they helped build that year as the families celebrate their first holiday season in their new homes.
For more information on Habitat For Humanity visit: