Habitat for Humanity Is Offering a Helping Hand

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While we applaud Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature for taking action on the budget, the proposal to abolish redevelopment agencies would eliminate affordable housing funding for Habitat for Humanity in the East Bay and across California. We use this key source of support to revitalize blighted communities, help drive the East Bay economy and change lives for hard working families. These funds, along with local donations and the hands-on work of thousands of volunteers each year, have built nearly 300 affordable homes. In turn, our Habitat homeowners help sustain the economy by paying property taxes and reducing reliance on state and local social services.

Habitat for Humanity East Bay uses this funding to create jobs by employing plumbers, electricians, engineers and architects. Redevelopment funds also allow us to leverage additional non-government funding to support our housing program.

Habitat for Humanity offers a hand-up, not a hand-out. Habitat homebuyers purchase their homes at cost and invest 500 hours of sweat equity as their down payment. They receive training on budgeting, money management and home maintenance. Habitat's model of true affordability and homeowner education has kept our foreclosure rate below 2 percent, far below the national average.

We support redevelopment reform that lays the foundation for an efficient system of affordable housing production. There must remain a mechanism for funding that enables the development of affordable housing and helps eliminate the sub-standard housing conditions and high rents that plague many areas of the East Bay.

Janice Jensen President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity East Bay

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