home is everything
The 2021 Impact Report
Seeking to put God’s love into action, Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.
A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
From our President & CEO:
With each fiscal year, we find ourselves in the interesting position of having our time divided between calendar years - almost like our fiscal year comprises six months of the past and six months of the present. While this notion is a bit mind-muddling under normal circumstances, it has been even more so with COVID-19 in our midst.
During the first half of fiscal year '21, - while we were still in the unforgiving 2020 - everyone continued with the process of defining what, exactly, the new normal would be. We had to face new and difficult logistical questions - like how do we build a house using volunteer labor with only a few volunteers on-site? And how do we keep those volunteers safe? Or how do we provide our homebuyers with an affordable product when lumber and other construction material prices are through the roof?
With your support, along with the support of our community, we did not succumb to these new challenges - but instead allowed them to build our resolve and carry us into 2021 and through its first six months. With your help, we persisted and ultimately prevailed.
Together, with your combined financial contributions and volunteer time, we completed Celestin & Marie's home - something they had been waiting for for five years. We alleviated critical home repair issues for 13 households in our community, ranging from simple HVAC replacements to a complete home renovation totaling more than $150,000. Our 64 homeowners, whom you have continued to support, made it through with zero defaults or late payments on their mortgages due to COVID. Our ReStore had the most successful year since it began in 1993, helping to offset our reduced donations.
We've been living in unprecedented times, with our realities changing from day to day. But with those changes, I know some things are constant. For one, there is, and continues to be a need for affordable housing and critical home repair in our Greater Matthews community. The pandemic only continues to amplify that need.
The other thing I know though is that you, our supporters, and volunteers will continue to be the foundation we can build upon as we move into the future.
Home means a lot to me and my children. For me, if you don't have a home, you have nothing.
-Marie, GMHFH Homeowner
152 of you gave over 5,000 hours of your time on the construction site, in the ReStore, or by serving on a committee.
Through our collective effort in New Homeownership, Critical Home Repair, & Affordable Mortgage Servicing,
felt the safety and security that only a safe, decent home can bring.
this fiscal year
provides a lifetime of:
for Marie and her four sons.
By continuing to pay their affordable mortgage, 63 GMHFH homeowners contributed to the accessibility of affordable housing by continuing to pay their habitat mortgage.
partner families defaulted on their mortgage due to COVID-19 and zero homeowners are past due on their mortgage payments.
partner families finished paying their mortgage in full.
was contributed back into the local property tax base by our current mortgage holders.
Thanks to your donations, purchases, and volunteer hours, our ReStore set a RECORD-BREAKING year for total sales!
kitchen or bath deconstructions were completed - giving those items new life in another home.
donations of gently used appliances, furniture, housewares, and other items were made.
of usable materials were diverted from landfills through the ReStore.
volunteers gave their time and their talents volunteering over
hours in the ReStore.
"I don’t know how to express myself, to say thank you. This is just so amazing, they just bought us an American dream. This is not the end, but just the beginning of the journey."
The advantages of quality, stable, and affordable homeownership are powerful: it improves educational, health, and economic outcomes, among many others, for both families and communities.
For Celestin, his mother, and his three brothers, owning a home is the family's first opportunity to build stability for their future. The family emigrated to the United States after spending 17 years in a refugee camp in Rwanda. From there, the family bounced around different apartments that were out of their price range and were too small for their family.
Their Greater Matthews Habitat home has changed all that. After a life of moving from place to place, never having the opportunity to plan for their future, Celestin and his family are finally able to put down roots.
Celestin's brother, Innocent, says the whole thing feels both like a dream and a dream come true. "I never thought we would have a home…I thought we were going to be looking forever, but God has a plan for us...It’s a long story from where we were in Africa, it was a really bad place…a really bad place. We didn’t have no house. Of course the war, it was always moving around, moving around. We never had a place, or peace, so we could stay in one place. So finally we got here…but we didn’t know nobody-we met a lot of people. You know, they help us to get our dream – and that’s you – the Matthews Habitat."
Celestin and his family helped build, and purchased, the 114th home built by Greater Matthews Habitat - our second ever two-story home. Celestin and Marie were accepted into the program in 2017 and were the final family on our waiting list for a home.
Thank you to the sponsors of Celestin and Marie's home!
"We simply couldn’t allow the homeowner to keep living this way- it wasn’t safe for anyone to be living in this home."
critical home repair
It was unlike anything we’d undertaken as an affiliate: an entire home rehabilitation. Our Critical Home Repair program is designed to address manageable-sized, individual home repairs that are affecting the health and safety of homeowners and their families, but present too much of a cost burden for limited-income families in our neighborhood to handle on their own. One home would have a roof leak, another a plumbing issue.
But this house was far beyond our one project approach – if we did one project at a time, it would take years. Among other things, the home needed a new roof, new electrical wiring, new insulation, a new water heater, and a new HVAC unit along with ventilation repairs. We knew we had to help this elderly, visually-impaired, member of our community. We simply couldn’t allow the homeowner to keep living this way- it wasn’t safe for anyone to be living in this home.
Our CHR team developed a scope of work for the project and got going right away. But before the project even got off the ground, we realized that the initial list of repair items was just a fraction of what needed to be done to make this home safe and secure. With every swing of the hammer, a new hazard seemed to appear. We found asbestos in the walls, realized the roof decking was rotted, the laundry floor was falling through, the crawl space was flooded and filled with debris – the list just kept growing. Almost immediately, our scope of work quadrupled in scale. Ultimately, we had to take the interior of the home down to the studs and rebuild everything.
What started out as a 90-day project extended into 6-months. We had no idea when we started that we would essentially be building a whole new house. While the delay was unfortunate, the end result was nothing short of a miracle. With the help of our dedicated Building Committee volunteers and subcontractors, we were able to completely transform and rebuild this home. We were able to walk away from this project knowing that a member of our community would get to live out their life safely in their own home.
This project challenged us all. To say there were obstacles along the way is an understatement, but Greater Matthews Habitat is committed to being able to give families the fresh start they need to build more secure stable lives. This house, and the work that was ardently done, serves as a testament to that commitment.
*To ensure the family's dignity and privacy, we have opted not to use their names.
Our country continues to grapple with a long history of racial injustice that cannot be ignored. Acknowledging the history of systemic racism that members of our Black community and other communities of color experience is an important part of the work that Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity does.
Discrimination in housing policy and opportunity – particularly against Black Americans – has been one of the most insidious forms of racial injustice in our nation's history and it is one of the chief drivers of racial inequities that persist today.
Therefore, it is our responsibility to understand that history, and it must inform our work going forward. We must, throughout our work, do a better job of connecting issues of racial and social injustice with historic barriers to affordable housing and working to eradicate those barriers.
As we reflect on the whirlwind of our last fiscal year, we also look towards our continued growth into this current one - all made possible through you, our committed Greater Matthews community. We have big plans for this next year and wanted to share a few highlights, as well as let you know how you can continue to support the work we all value.
New Home Construction
For the first time in three years, we reopened applications for our homeownership program and are excited to partner with two new families. We plan to begin construction on the first of these two homes this fall.
Critical Home Repair
Our CHR program continues to accept applications and has expanded into Mint Hill, allowing us to serve even more members of our community and ensure the safety and security of more limited-income families.
We are eager to bring back our volunteers programs to their pre-COVID numbers and have plans for even more opportunities both on the construction site and in our ReStore.
Our ReStore hit a record year for sales, which means a record year for impact. We expect to continue that momentum into the future with increased community partnerships and opportunities for growth.
it takes everyone
Everyone deserves a decent place to live - and it will take everyone to build that vision. Habitat approaches housing in a holistic manner, and with a variety of ways to get engaged. There is a place for everyone in our work. However you join us, you move us forward, empowering families in the Greater Matthews community to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.
Habitat relies on the generosity of our donors. Every gift, large and small, is leveraged along with grants, donated resources, and volunteerism to invest in the building of affordable homes and the completion of necessary repairs.
Make GMHFH part of your annual philanthropy and encourage your professional and faith communities to invest in our community with you.
Habitat is the work of many hands. Whether they're getting dirty on the construction site, volunteering in the ReStore, or helping out on a committee, everyone has a role to play in building a better community.
Before Habitat lifts a hammer, we need public policy that supports affordable housing. We need regulations that keep ownership housing affordable by helping us acquire land and build efficiently. We rely on a system that supports housing for everyone, and for that, we depend on advocates to raise their voices.
Thank you to our FY '21
Partners and Board of Directors!
The Grace & Hope Foundation l The Canopy Housing Foundation
Board of Directors