Shelter: a springboard for an improved life
It takes about 400 two-by-fours and 150 pounds of nails to build the average 1,200 square-foot, three-bedroom Habitat for Humanity house. From these rudimentary materials, homes are crafted and lives are transformed. The structures, quite literally, become foundations for new lives and offer hope for richer trajectories than would occur in their absence.
Half of American adults are impacted by housing insecurity at some point in their life and, according to the MacArthur Foundation’s How Housing Matters survey, 68% of respondents feel that securing affordable housing is more challenging today than in prior generations. It is against these trends, and in pursuit of its vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live, that Habitat Humanity has been laboring since its inception in 1976.
The challenge and opportunity is pronounced when considering the direct correlation between safe, quality housing and families’ ability to establish a new cycle of possibility and progress. With it, children’s grades improve and parents realize greater financial health as they become confident in their ability to meet their children’s needs. Without it, families and communities are fractured and crime rises.
Having helped 10 million people achieve strength, stability, and independence through safe, decent, and affordable housing, Habitat for Humanity has proven game for the fight.
Building a lasting impact
Now the largest private home builder in the United States, and perennially among the top 20 overall, Habitat for Humanity’s success has been incredible. In honoring its founder, Millard Fuller, with the Congressional Medal of Freedom in 1996, President Clinton called Habitat “the most successful continuous community service project in the history of the United States.”
Much of the organization’s success can be attributed to the collaboration between volunteers and new homeowners, the latter pouring 250-500 hours of ‘sweat equity’ into the homes they will inhabit. This investment of time and energy is a requirement and, along with level of need and a commitment to paying off the mortgage, is a critical determining factor in the homebuyer selection process.
Habitat for Humanity’s impact is most apparent in the lives that are transformed through its work. Habitat houses have been childhood homes of Rhodes Scholars, C-Suite executives, national champion collegiate athletes, and thousands of successful adults who are making tremendous impacts in the communities in which they live and work. While some may look at a new home as the product of Habitat’s efforts, it’s really just the beginning.
Realizing full potential
Reflecting on the dedication ceremony that ushers homeowners into their new houses, Habitat for Humanity CEO, Jonathan Reckford, commented, “When a family slides that key into the lock of a house they’ve helped build, they’re unlocking more than just the physical front door to their new home. They’re unlocking their fullest potential.” That’s a sentiment that resonates with Grant Thornton, whose purpose is to help people reach their full potential today so they can build a better tomorrow. So, it is with a shared sense of purpose and tremendous pride that Grant Thornton serves as Habitat for Humanity’s accounting firm and relishes the opportunity it has to play a small part in helping Habitat continue its tremendous work.