Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Putnam Habitat Chapter Begins New Initiative

Putnam County Habitat for Humanity has been selected as one of only 55 affiliates nationwide to participate in Habitat for Humanity International’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. The focus: improving housing conditions while partnering with other community organizations to provide services that enhance the overall quality of life across struggling neighborhoods. As part of the first phase, Putnam County Habitat officials will receive special training on how to revitalize targeted neighborhoods through a variety of housing solutions and community development efforts.

“We are very excited to have been selected to be one of only 55 affiliates in the first “working group” of this new initiative of Habitat’s. I surprised our staff and Board of Directors last week with the news and everyone is ready to do all they can to support this venture! I’m looking forward to sharing this news with all of our partners across the county,” said Pam Ealey, Put Co Habitat for Humanity Executive Director

“The affiliates selected to take part in the first phase of the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative are a select diverse group so that we can learn how NRI will work in as many different affiliate situations as possible,” said Larry Gluth, senior vice president of Habitat’s U.S. and Canada area office. “We’ll take lessons learned from this first phase and incorporate them as the program expands over time. The Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative adds another dimension to our mission of providing families with decent, affordable places to live.”

Through the initiative, Habitat for Humanity will work with other community organizations to determine the projects that will be carried out locally. Habitat services may include new house construction, rehabilitation of vacant and foreclosed properties, house repairs for low-income homeowners, and weatherization to make houses more energy-efficient and affordable.

As Habitat for Humanity transitions through the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, officials say they will be able to make a larger impact in Putnam County at all levels of housing issues. In the next few months, PCHFH will begin determining which programs to proceed with initially that will create a solid foundation to build upon. The Board of Directors will also begin the process of selecting one particular neighborhood in our community; to approach residents with the idea of the NRI program and how together, with others' support, the community can partner to improve the neighborhood.

“As part of the 'working group' we will share insights and feedback to Habitat International that will be used to develop the program and help Habitat affiliates participate in the NRI program,” said Pam Ealey. “This is a two to three year process, and while each of us care deeply about housing issues across our county we won’t be ready to jump in and start working just yet. I do promise to keep the media informed and our website updated, so the public will know as we become prepared to take on those projects”