A California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal:
Community - Entertainment - Human Interest


Weekly issues every Saturday morning and other special articles throughout the week — there's something for everyone. Check out our sister sites Kings River Lite and KRL Reviews & News for bonus articles.

Previous post:

Next post:


Habitat for Humanity Project Comes to Reedley

IN THE June 17 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andHelping Hands,
andLorie Lewis Ham
SECTIONS

by Lorie Lewis Ham

Habitat For Humanity is working on a project in Reedley. KRL sat down with Matthew Grundy, Executive Director and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Fresno County, to talk about the project.

KRL: How long have you been with Habitat for Humanity and has it always been in Fresno?

Matthew Grundy: Since September of 2015. Prior to joining Habitat, I served as both a for profit real estate developer and President of a National tutoring company. habitat

KRL: For anyone who isn’t familiar with what Habitat For Humanity does, can you give a brief description?

Matthew: Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity is a Non-Profit International Christian Ministry that seeks a world where “everyone has a decent place to live.” As the world’s largest private builder, we have helped more than 1 million families—representing 5 million people—improve their living conditions. As a builder, developer and lender, HFH Fresno County has helped 378 families improve their housing conditions in 31 years. We are proud of our entire community who collectively have made this possible by volunteering time, investing talent, and donating financially to help families attain strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable home ownership.

KRL: Please tell us about the project in Reedley. How did Reedley end up with a project?

Matthew: Habitat Fresno is intent in building across our County in areas where needs exist. Reedley residents too are in need of affordable home ownership opportunities. Habitat is currently working to secure land on the corner Buttonwillow and Parlier Avenues for the purpose of erecting seven affordable homes.

habitat

Buttonwillow and Parlier

Currently Fresno County has a shortfall of approximately 30,000 affordable housing units to meet the needs of its residents. Affordable unit shortages cut across resident needs in every City and unincorporated areas in our County. Reedley has always been an area that Habitat has had an interest in partnering with to help families attain affordable shelter. After identifying an ideal target area, Habitat met with City staff to discuss the possibility of partnership.

After some initial interest was expressed on the part of the City, the community at large began to rally around this effort. GAR Tootelian Inc., a longtime friend of Habitat and contributor to the greater good of our community, decided to match every dollar donated to this effort through June 30, 2017, to help us secure the land for this project. We are currently at 42% of our goal. Donations can be made to this project at www.HabitatFresnoMatch.com.habitat.
Businesses aren’t the only ones that have come alongside us to help make this a dream a reality. Reedley residents have been generously donating, while others have called and emailed us consistently expressing their interest in applying for a home.

Reedley churches have also began to rally around the effort. Because the ministry of Jesus Christ has demonstrated by a life of service and love for one’s neighbor, building homes with a perfect stranger is a natural extension of the Church’s call to action.

Finally, the US Department of Agriculture has worked closely with Habitat in ironing out potential homeowner mortgage financing options when the homes are ready for purchase. ‘It takes a village’ and many have (and will) contribute to make this project materialize.

habitat

Finished Habitat For Humanity Home in Fresno County

KRL: How long has it been in the works?

Matthew: We have been in talks with the City since mid 2016.

KRL: What is the time frame?

Matthew: The first step will be securing the land. After the land is acquired, we will need to raise funds for the infrastructure of this project. While this will be a hurdle, we are optimistic that together we, as a community, will pull it off. After the funding is in hand, the project can take 1-2 years to complete.

KRL: How do you pick the families that will be involved?

Matthew: Families can apply through our website at www.Habitatfresno.org or by calling 559.237.4102. We select partner families through a rigorous process based on three criteria. The first criteria that leads to selection is Need, defined by living in substandard living conditions. The second area is Willingness to partner. Instead of a down payment perspective homeowners must put in what we call ‘sweat equity.’ The sweat equity requirement means partner families must work for 500 hours on the construction of their own home. Finally families must have the ability to Repay. While Habitat provides families a low interest loan they still must repay it. As such, they must financially be able to qualify for a Habitat home.

habitat

Habitat For Humanity project in Fresno County

KRL: How can people help?

Matthew: Individuals can help by visiting our website at www.HabitatFresno.org and click the ‘Get Involved’ tab. There one can volunteer or donate to this project. For a limited time, through the GAR match, every dollar donated will be matched through June 30 at www.HabitatFresnoMatch.com.

KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?

Matthew: Habitat for Humanity Fresno County does not believe in giving “a hand out but more so a hand up.” As such, Habitat does not give homes away, but partners with families to help them attain safe decent and affordable home ownership. Habitat operates as both a non-profit builder, developer, and lender of no to low interest loans serving families who are designated extremely low to moderate income levels. Despite what some view as lending/serving a risky client, in 31 years Habitat has had only 1 foreclosure. This speaks to the grace of God working in conjunction with Homeowners who have “skin in the game.” We know that this great work can only be done through a communal effort, which is why we need Everyone to get involved on this Reedley project.

Aside from helping families attain homeownership, Habitat also has a program aimed at investing in existing housing stock. Our Critical Repair, Landscaping, and Random acts of kindness programs all endeavor to improve living conditions for all in need. From ramps and rails built for the elderly or disabled to minor beautification projects, Habitat is excited about loving its neighbors through improving housing in any way we can.

habitat

Ramp

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lorraine BowenNo Gravatar June 18, 2017 at 9:18am

This is such a great organization! My grand-daughter volunteered one summer during her college break, it really opened her heart to the outside world.

Reply

2 FrancesNo Gravatar
Twitter: @AlaskanBookCafe
June 18, 2017 at 1:01pm

This is a wonderful program! Thank you for featuring them.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Twitter ID
(ID only; No links or "@" symbols)

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post:

  • Arts & Entertainment

  • Books & Tales

  • Community

  • Education

  • Food Fun

  • Helping Hands

  • Hometown History

  • Pets

  • Teens

  • Terrific Tales