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- A New Roof Over Old Memories: Checking in with Paul through the Veteran Repair Program
Paul first moved into his Loveland home in 1965 after serving for two years in the US Army. He was in the 34th Armor at Fort Knox. "I spent the whole two years down there," Paul said. "I got lucky." Paul has been retired since 1991 from GM, where he worked as an assembler. "I loved it, you were doing something different every day." Paul grew up in the very neighborhood that he still lives in today. It's also the same neighborhood where he met his wife of 62 years. "We played softball and went swimming in the ponds," Paul said. "Next thing you know we just started dating." The two of them shared this home together until she passed away. When Paul needed a new roof and gutters on his house, he reached out to Habitat for Humanity Greater Cincinnati. Paul's repairs were funded by the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. Paul heard about our Veteran Repair Program through his sister. She also partnered with the Repair Program to replace her aging roof. His sister told him to give us a call, and Paul says he's so thankful he did. Paul says his "gutters had pinholes all the way through here and when it rained real hard, from one end to the other you could see the water just dripping out of the bottom of the gutters." He describes having leaks inside too that would come down the wall and pool in his basement. Untreated, water damage can have devastating consequences for a house and can lead to safety risks for residents. Habitat for Humanity's repair team fixed the damage, tore off his old shingles and gutters, and replaced them with new ones. "They really did a good job. It's been really good," said Paul. "I didn’t know how I was going to get a new roof and gutters put on." Paul has too many memories in his home of almost 60 years for him to leave. "Everybody came to this place," Paul said. When he and his wife moved in, their house became the hangout spot. "All the family would get together. My family would get together Christmas Day and [my wife's] family would come Christmas Eve." There were 13 children in his family and 12 in his wife's, so his family gatherings were big. Together, the two families made two softball teams and they would play against each other frequently. Paul told us they used square rocks as bases and that he has fond memories of their games. Today, he still enjoys rooting on the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. Paul remembers growing tomatoes with his wife in their yard. "I used to plant me a little garden out here," he told us, pointing to a space in his yard. He said that his wife got all of their plants from a local shop. "[The plants] grew all the way to the porch, and we had tomatoes all the way up to November." His dad loved tomatoes, so he canned tomatoes for both his and his wife's families. He told us, "You miss all that stuff once it stops." We left Paul sitting on his porch where he told us he spends a lot of his time. "I come out here and sit. They told me I should give up my coffee and I said 'ain't no way.'" Paul has no plans to leave his house or neighborhood, so he's grateful he gets to stay in his home, surrounded by memories of his wife and family. "I'll probably die right here... Habitat is really nice," said Paul. "I'm really appreciative of what they did."
- A Decade of Homeownership: JaQuanna and Zhyaire
In January of 2012, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati dedicated a newly rehabbed home in Over-the-Rhine to a hardworking mother and her daughter. Now, more than ten years later, JaQuanna, 40, and her daughter Zhyaire, 22, still call their place on Elm Street home. Their journey to homeownership started when JaQuanna opened a fortune cookie that read: you will be involved with humanitarian work. She had no idea what that meant until she drove past a Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati billboard. When she got home, she searched up Habitat and was connected with our homeownership program. JaQuanna has worked for Cincinnati Metro for 17 years. There, she works as a coach operator, clerk, and a training specialist. But her work doesn't stop there. On the weekends, JaQuanna is a wedding and event planner. Zhyaire also dabbles in multiple fields. She is the owner of a small bakery called Zeeza's Sweets, makes music, loves to dance, and is currently in school to be an esthetician. She told us that her love of baking developed in their kitchen. She says that her friends used to call her cupcake girl because of how much she baked. And, with a bonus room on their third floor, they were able to create a music room for Zhyaire to practice and create her own work. Jaquanna said, "we had plenty of space and the house provided that for us." Their home, with all its space, has been a place for them to foster their passions and careers. "I was dancing all around this house. I taught myself how to flip here," said Zhyaire. Since moving to the home, JaQuanna married her long-time partner, Kymisha. Kymisha is an urban farmer master gardener in charge of 82 gardens. She leads workshops on gardening, cooking, and healthy eating here in the community, and the whole family is often involved. JaQuanna told us that this passion started in the backyard of their Habitat Home: "The home here started her passion in the backyard with the fruits and vegetables, with her green thumb, which evolved into the community." JaQuanna and her family have seen their neighborhood grow, change, and flourish throughout the years. Over-the-Rhine is very walkable, and JaQuanna says that they all take advantage of this. Growing up, Zhyaire was able to walk to school and connect with her community. They also have direct access to the street car, which helps them save on gas and reduce their carbon footprint. "We love just being right down here," she says. From F.C. parades, workout classes at Washington Park, and events at Findlay Market, JaQuanna loves the events and liveliness of their area. "Just being in the community and right here in the heart of everything has been wonderful." JaQuanna is only the second person in her family to become a homeowner. She looks forward to passing the house down in her family. Although Zhyaire recently moved out and is planning a move to Texas for school, JaQuanna makes sure that she knows where home is. "I always tell her, you can always come back home. Go explore the world, but you can always come back home. And this is where home is." "I feel like the main goal was stability," said Zhyaire. Since moving in the house, she graduated high school and started her business. JaQuanna has gotten married and advanced in her career. "Everything that I wanted from this house as far as stability, travelling, [Zhyaire] growing up here… everything we've been able to accomplish. So, moving forward, we're just enjoying it," says JaQuanna Pre-pandemic, JaQuanna volunteered her time with Habitat. She hopes to once again get involved with Habitat, aiming to work with and inspire future homeowners. JaQuanna and her daughter look back on the Habitat homebuying process with fondness, remembering all the people that supported them and all the hard work they put in. JaQuanna hopes that more families can go through the same process. To potential sponsors, donors, and volunteers she says "please help a family out. [Owning a home] has been so great and rewarding, one of the best things that has happened to me and my family."
- Preserving the Past to Secure the Future: Mike's Experience with the Veteran Repair Program
Mike has lived in Dayton, Kentucky his whole life. He reminisces about growing up with his seven brothers in a two-room home just down the street. From his seat in his living room, he can see the High School where he graduated. Now Mike, his wife, and their Bichon dog live in a two-story, 100-year-old home that also holds special value to the family. Mike’s parents spent the second half of their life living in the home. Once they passed away, Mike and his family moved in. “I have lots and lots of memories in this house,” says Mike. Mike, a U.S. Army veteran, reached out to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati’s Veteran Repair program when he discovered water pooling behind his walls. He worked with Habitat to repair the badly damaged roof and gutters that were causing water to enter the house. With help from the program, Mike was also able to install new handrails on the porch stairs to increase the home’s safety. Funding from The Home Depot Foundation made these repairs possible. “We were so happy about [the Veteran Repair Program]. Wow, I mean—unbelievable.” Mike says that people frequently contact him wanting to buy his home to rehab it. He says, “if we moved from here to somewhere else it's going to double the price we pay for this, you know, it's really silly. I’m going to stick it out here until I croak.” Now with the completed repairs, Mike doesn’t have to worry about having to choose between moving or living in potentially unsafe conditions. “I’ve lived in Dayton my whole life. […] It’s really nice around here. We have a very good relationship with our neighbors. We help each other out. We love it here,” says Mike.
- ENQUIRER MEDIA NAMES HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF GREATER CINCINNATI WINNER OF THE TOP WORKPLACES AWARD
Cincinnati, Ohio, June 13, 2023 - Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2023 honor by Enquirer Media Top Workplaces. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage LLC. The confidential survey uniquely measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few. “Earning a Top Workplaces award is a badge of honor for companies, especially because it comes authentically from their employees,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “That's something to be proud of. In today's market, leaders must ensure they’re allowing employees to have a voice and be heard. That's paramount. Top Workplaces do this, and it pays dividends.” "To be recognized again as a Top Workplace based on employee feedback from all levels of our organization is an honor," says Erin Flynn Director of Human Resources at Habitat Greater Cincinnati. "We are incredibly proud that our team has created a workplace that people want to be part of. Continuing to cultivate a culture of inclusion and support allows us to further our mission to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter."
- Increased Independence for Deborah with the Aging in Place Program
Deborah built and bought her home with Habitat over 20 years ago. She reached out to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati's Aging in Place Program to make modifications to her home to help her live safely and independently in her home as she ages. For Deborah, being able to age in her home means that she will be able to continue to be surrounded by her community and the support systems that she built over 20 years. Deborah says, "my neighbors [who also own Habitat homes] have been so delightful since we moved in and got connected here. We actually call each other 'sister-neighbor-friends', and that’s what makes it so good here. We just really kind of bonded and have a kind of kinship. It’s so good for me to have that because I’m an only child. I’m just here, but not on my own because they have become family." Deborah is even the godmother to one of her neighbors' children. With the Repair Program, Deborah was able to convert her bathtub to a walk-in shower, move her washer and drier from the basement to the first floor, and remove a dangerous tree. She says, “it has really given me advantages to be able to maneuver in my home to be able to function better in my home. The shower was hard to get in and out of⎯and then you have that fear of slipping. Now it’s just easy to go right through.” “The new location of the washer and drier is excellent because I don’t have to wrestle the laundry up and down the stairs and worry about falling.” Deborah noticed the huge tree in her backyard started leaning over her neighbor’s houses. She knew it needed to be taken down, but when she got a quote for removal it was over $8,000. “I had so many frightening thoughts every time I saw on the news trees falling on people’s houses. It’s just beautiful the way that Habitat extends this opportunity because I wouldn’t have been able to afford that.” “After all the modifications I was able to make with Habitat, I will be able to stay in my home for much, much longer. The main things that I needed to get done to keep me in my home and to not be limited are complete⎯and it’s a great thing. […] that peace of mind is just wonderful,” says Deborah. When reflecting on her Habitat journey, Deborah says, "it’s a beautiful thing to be a single, African American woman with your own home. There are things that I could say that were not great in my life, but look where I am now and all the wonderful things in my life. And Habitat has always been there for me." Learn more about our programs.
- Juneteenth Community Cookout
Monday, June 19, 2023 12:00pm-4:00pm 6409 Simpson Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45224 (Crutchfield Park) Free Register here. Sign-up to volunteer here. Juneteenth Community Cookout
- Meet Harry & Darnell: Repair Program
“Next week is my 92nd birthday. I’ve lived in this house 18 years […] we aren’t going nowhere,” says Harry. Harry, a veteran, and his wife, Darnell got connected to Habitat for Humanity’s Veteran Repair Program through the Council on Aging. Their home had major water damage from a plumbing leak and roof damage. After a bad experience with a previous contractor, they were able to repair their home with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati. “It has just been a blessing, blessing, blessing. We are so grateful. Some of the work we probably couldn’t have gotten done without Habitat,” said Darnell. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati helped to repair the roof, replace a leaky toilet, and replace the damaged drywall, exterior water spicket, and leaking chimney. These repairs were made possible with support from The Home Depot Foundation. “It takes a lot of pressure off. You know, walking in there and seeing the big hole in the ceiling. It was leaking for a long time. When we went in the kitchen we had to have buckets catching the water,” says Harry. “They stopped the leaking and replaced the drywall.” “We have a lot of family and we’re the house that everyone comes to. So having the kitchen done made it so much better. This is just a family home, and we entertain all our family. This is where everyone gathers,” says Darnell. The couple says that the repairs will help them be able to stay in their home as they age. “We will absolutely be able to stay longer. I mean doing the roof, that’s a lot. That’s a lot of pressure taken off of us. Like Harry said, we aren’t going anywhere. But we’re happier now that we know some of the things we needed fixed are complete and we didn’t have to struggle to figure out how to pay for them,” says Darnell. The couple says that they have built a great community on the street over the 18 years they lived there. They all look out for each other and help with things like bringing in the garbage cans and shoveling the snow. “I love to plant flowers in my yard. I have some neighbors who also like planting. We split and trade plants,” says Darnell. She is excited to have a working spicket to water her outdoor flowers. Darnel says, “for Habitat to have programs like this, Aging in Place and the Veteran Repair Program, it is a beautiful thing. For a lot of seniors, we get our little check and that’s ok, but it’s the extra things that you have to do. For Habitat to come in and do that extra work is great. We explained [the program] to our neighbors, all seniors, and they were really excited too.” For more information about the Veteran Repair Program click here.
- Habitat for Humanity of Ohio Awarded $25 Million for Workforce Housing and Training Initiatives
CINCINNATI, OH (January 6, 2023) – Habitat for Humanity of Ohio has been awarded $25 million as part of a larger American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) spending package that was signed into law today by Governor DeWine. The funding will bolster a statewide effort by Habitat for Humanity including locally with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati to address the shortage of workforce housing across Ohio and provide repair services for elderly and disabled homeowners. The Habitat for Humanity network is uniquely positioned to address emergency housing needs on a statewide level. With the introduction of the Aging in Place program in June 2022, Habitat Greater Cincinnati is prepared to increase repairs for low-income homeowners in the Greater Cincinnati region. Furthermore, Habitat for Humanity is not just a builder, but a developer, making the organization ‘shovel ready’ to put the one-time APRA funding to good use. The recent ARPA allocation for Humanity for Humanity of Ohio is the largest award in the country for the international nonprofit housing organization. The funds are slated for the following purposes: $15M for new home construction to include rehabs of existing homes $9M for a critical home repair program for seniors and the disabled $1M for the creation of a statewide Habitat for Humanity apprentice program “The Ohio legislature understands the struggles of Ohioans to find affordable and available housing, and they are committed to finding real housing solutions in the next general assembly,” said Ryan Miller, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Ohio. “We are grateful our lawmakers see this one-time investment of ARPA dollars will lead to a long-term investment in communities and people throughout Ohio. We also look to build upon our 20-year relationship with our friends at the Ohio Department of Development as we partner with them on this important Habitat housing initiative.” “We are grateful to our state representatives who continue to champion the work of affordable homeownership in our community. These funds will accelerate our strategic plan and will help families in our community achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter,” says Joe Hansbauer, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati. About Habitat for Humanity of Ohio Habitat for Humanity of Ohio is a statewide 501(c)3 organization whose main purpose is to increase the capacity of Ohio's 44 Habitat for Humanity affiliates to build simple, decent homes in partnership with families in need of affordable housing. Across America, individuals and families struggle to find affordable places to live. Habitat seeks to remedy this injustice by providing families the opportunity to realize their dreams of homeownership on terms they can afford. Habitat was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all. They welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and serve people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion. Located in Columbus, Ohio, Habitat for Humanity of Ohio provides services to affiliates through resource development, advocacy, and training. About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati (http://habitatcincinnati.org/) is a non-profit Christian housing ministry that seeks to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. Since 1986, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati has built, renovated, or repaired more than 680 homes throughout a nine-county region including Hamilton, Butler, Clermont, and Warren counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn and Ohio counties in Indiana. It has also contributed to building more than 1,000 homes globally in Cambodia, El Salvador, Kenya, and Nepal. Habitat is dedicated both locally and globally to construct, rehabilitate and preserve homes; advocate for fair and just housing policies; and provide training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. ###
- Sade's Story
Habitat Homeowner since 2021 | West College Hill, Cincinnati Sade purchased her West College Hill home from Habitat in 2021. We had a chance to check in with her a year later to hear how she and her family are doing in their new home.
- Bank of America Awards Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati $45,000 To Expand Affordable Home
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation recently awarded Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati (HFHGC) a $45,000 grant as part of its broader initiative to support Ohio’s long-term sustainability by advancing economic mobility and social progress by focusing on the needs of the community. HFHGC will use the funding to continue to create affordable homeownership opportunities in Greater Cincinnati. “We partner with Bank of America build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter said Joe Hansbauer, President and CEO of HFHGC, “This support from Bank of America allows first time homebuyers to partner with Habitat to build and buy a home that is affordable.” The grant is part of the nearly $700,00 in grants that Bank of America has provided to local nonprofits this year. HFHGC was part of Bank of America’s second round of grants in 2022. This round was focusing on economic mobility and social progress through investments in affordable housing, community revitalization, the arts and the environment. These grants are part of the Bank’s commitment to responsible growth as it works to improve the financial lives of individuals and families. Philanthropic and volunteer investments play a key role in this effort to build thriving communities. “Addressing community needs through our philanthropic investments is just one way we deploy capital to help build a more sustainable community,” said Mark Ryan, President Bank of America Cincinnati. “We’re honored to partner with nonprofit organizations like Habitat Greater Cincinnati across the Ohio Valley that are helping to advance economic and social progress, in particular for vulnerable populations.” ### About Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter at @BankofAmerica.
- Welcoming Tracy Wells as VP of Development and Communications
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati (HFHGC) is pleased to welcome Tracy Wells as the new Vice President of Development and Communications to help create, preserve, and advocate for affordable homeownership opportunities in Greater Cincinnati. Tracy brings over 20 years of strategic fundraising and resource development experience to the organization. “Tracy is a great fit with the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati culture. She has the desire and skills necessary to lead in the delivery of the fundraising goals outlined in the five-year strategic plan to serve a family a day by 2027,” says Ed Lee. Tracy joins HFHGC from YWCA where she served as Vice President of Development for the last 5 years. She was named one of 40 under 40 by the Business Courier in 2013, was a part of Leadership Cincinnati Class of 36, and Leadership Northern Kentucky Class of 2005. Tracy says, “It is an honor to join the Habitat Greater Cincinnati team. Creating affordable homeownership opportunities is a critical part of building strong communities. It is a privilege to work alongside generous people and to create opportunities for them to partner with future homeowners to build a better life for themselves and their families.”
- Announcing the next President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati (HFHGC) is pleased to announce Joe Hansbauer as the next President and CEO advancing the organization’s efforts to create and preserve affordable homeownership opportunities in Greater Cincinnati. Hansbauer brings more than 14 years of experience as an executive nonprofit leader, most recently as President and CEO of Findlay Market. During his nearly ten years at Findlay, Hansbauer demonstrated incredible visionary leadership boldly growing the market to include new programs, partnerships, and revenue streams—tripling the operating budget. “After considering a strong pool of qualified candidates, our diverse hiring committee unanimously agreed that Joe was the clear choice. With his demonstrated visionary leadership, connection to the Habitat mission, and commitment to the local community, Habitat Greater Cincinnati is well positioned to achieve its strategic goals and excel in the future,” says Amanda Hill, HFHGC Board Chair. Hansbauer began his career at Accenture as a consultant specializing in change and systems management. As a young professional, he helped to organize a Give Back Cincinnati trip to Habitat for Humanity of New Orleans in response to Hurricane Katrina. Hansbauer described the trip as a pivotal moment when he realized the opportunity for a “profession with meaning”. This experience was the impetus for Hansbauer to leave Accenture and jumpstart a career in the social sector with the founding of UGIVE.ORG, an online platform with a mission to catalyze, excite, and empower the next generation of volunteers. "I am thrilled that my path is coming full circle through this opportunity to once again further the Habitat mission of a world where everyone has a decent and affordable place to live.” At Findlay Market, Hansbauer developed Findlay Kitchen, an 8,000 square foot incubator kitchen, from concept to operational. Today the project generates a net profit of $75,000 annually and supports more than 80 food businesses—80% women, immigrant, or minority owned. “I'm very excited to step into the role of President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater Cincinnati. Through Ed's leadership, the organization is one of the healthiest and most respected Habitat affiliates in the country. I look forward to engaging in Habitat Cincinnati's vision to serve a family a day by 2027 and leveraging the MacKenzie Scott gift to accelerate affordable homeownership in the region,” says Hansbauer. Joe Hansbauer will succeed Ed Lee, who led the organization for over 12 years during which HFHGC has grown in its service to local families, building an organizational infrastructure that is more innovative and sustainable. Lee will continue his legacy as a champion for affordable homeownership in a new role as Vice President of Resource Development Transformation at Habitat for Humanity International. “It has been an honor and a privilege to partner with the Greater Cincinnati community to create and preserve affordable home ownership across the region. I look forward to Habitat Greater Cincinnati continuing the push towards a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” says Lee.