Message from the Executive Director
In Virginia, one in eight households spends more than half of their income on housing. Because of increased housing costs and growing income inequality, everywhere you look – cities, towns, rural communities – the stability that home should bring remains out of reach for far too many families. Blue Ridge Habitat for Humanity knows that safe, decent and affordable housing solutions play a critical role in helping families create lives filled with possibility, and progress. Many of our neighbors live with the constant burden of uncertainty, stress, and fear. That should not be – and it does not have to be.
Habitat is experiencing unprecedented growth over these last few years and we are using that growth to improve the overall housing outlook in our region:
- We are impacting the lives of many more families through our home construction and expanded critical home repair programs
- We are emphasizing our support for, and partnerships with, local Career Technical Education programs, such as JHHS, Dowell J Howard, and Triplett Tech
- We are learning more, and getting even more involved in, housing-related issues as we co-chair the recently formed Housing Coalition of the Northern Shenandoah Valley. We are elevating housing affordability as a top issue of concern in our locality
- With the incredible support of the community, our ReStore is having tremendous success, which helps us sell discounted home improvement products to the general public, reduce tons of waste from our landfills, and create jobs
Because of your creative investments in us and several new, exciting initiatives being launched, Blue Ridge Habitat is significantly impacting the housing deficit in the communities we serve. But, to continue to do so, we will constantly have to break new ground when it comes to confronting housing-related issues. Luckily, we have the tools all around us to do so. Our community is strong, and the assets are there. We just need to work together to truly see those assets, harness their power, and work together to make positive, transformative generational change.
This past year, we changed our name to be more reflective of our service area. Habitat for Humanity International requested we expand our territory by incorporating Shenandoah County’s existing Habitat for Humanity affiliate. Our singular goal is to increase capacity to serve more individuals in this region, which is our home. In August 2018, we officially celebrated the expansion and began the rebranding process. As Blue Ridge Habitat for Humanity, our service area now includes Winchester, Frederick County, Clarke County, and Shenandoah County. In other words, we support the I-81 corridor from Cross Junction to New Market, VA. In fact, we are looking to begin construction on our first house in Mt. Jackson in the spring of 2019 as we build four additional houses in the Winchester area.
We have been successful only by working alongside the community to help families access the tools they need for a better tomorrow. Hammers and nails are the tools we use to build homes. Sweat equity, affordable mortgages, volunteerism, and self-empowerment are the tools we use to create change in people. In the course of uniting around improved housing for all, we can work towards even broader impact at the sectoral and societal level.
Inclusion, innovation, and inspiration are the hallmarks of our work. At Blue Ridge Habitat for Humanity, the need inspires us but the solution drives us. Your continued generous support will help us break new ground in 2019 and beyond.
Matthew T. Peterson, M.A., CVA
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