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About Flatirons Habitat for Humanity
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Understanding Habitat for Humanity

One of the goals for the annual Boulder Green Home Tour is to raise money for an incredible local nonprofit. This month, we have an interview with Julie Baxter, the Communications and Community Relations Director for Flatirons Habitat for Humanity. We truly appreciate her input and hope this article can shed some light on what the organization really does for our community.

 

We at Flatirons Habitat for Humanity are thrilled and truly grateful the Boulder Green Home Tour has again chosen us to receive a portion of proceeds from this year’s event.

The fit is perfect. Home is what we’re all about, and we work hard to think green in all of our construction. In fact, we build all of our homes to LEED Platinum standards. Why? Because it is one more way to help hard-working families achieve strength, stability and self-reliance. We keep homes affordable for our partner families, and building to the highest energy-efficiency standards is just one of the ways we do so.

 

For those unfamiliar, our model is one of ownership. Flatirons Habitat partners with families in Boulder Valley School District and Broomfield who earn between 30 and 60 percent of area median income. They  join us and our amazing volunteers to construct their homes, and then pay an affordable mortgage that never exceeds 30 percent of their income.

Those partner families, who contribute hundreds of hours to construction of their homes and the homes of their neighbors, along with myriad volunteers, are our lifeblood. We build on volunteer labor and we need compassionate people who are passionate about affordable housing to make our model work.

Whether they have spent years on a construction site or never picked up a power tool, volunteers of all backgrounds are welcome to build with us. Volunteer power fuels our efforts and is key to our homes being affordable for families.

Affordability is at the root of all we do. The vision of Habitat for Humanity International, of which we are a local affiliate, is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We contribute to efforts across the country and world, but our hearts lie in Boulder and Broomfield counties, where rising prices and growing populations are putting the dream of homeownership out of reach for many.

Stable housing is a key to success, and ownership is a key to to stability. Studies show kids have fewer health issues, do better in school and take their education further when they grow up in an owned home. Studies show parents are healthier and take their education further, and are less likely to be victims of crime if they live in an owned home. Studies show homeownership leads to greater engagement in community issues and greater neighborhood stability.

We know those things at Flatirons Habitat, too, because we’ve seen them happen for our partner families.

Take Brenna, who was working two jobs and trying to build a better life for her daughter after leaving an abusive marriage. Now a college graduate enrolled in law school, she has remarried and her daughter and toddler son -- born after Brenna married a high school acquaintance with whom she reconnected during construction of her home -- are thriving. All that positive change started with her Flatirons Habitat home. And that home will now serve as a starting point for another family, since Brenna is attending law school out of state and sold her house under Boulder’s permanent affordability covenant.

But many other families in Boulder are in need of affordable housing.

Flatirons Habitat is working hard on that front, too, with plans to double our building capacity by the end of our current fiscal year and to grow it even more aggressively in the next fiscal year.

We will hit our 25-year anniversary and our 100th family served in 2018 and look forward to many more milestones in the next 25 years. But we can’t reach those milestones without community support. We hope leaders and their constituents see the value of diverse residents who can afford to live in the places where they work, where they grew up, where their kids go to school. We hope they see the value of a place to call home and believe, as we do, that together we can make home a reality for many more people.

Thanks to the Boulder Green Home Tour for sharing our belief in home and for supporting our work.

Julie Baxter is communications and community relations director for Flatirons Habitat for Humanity. To learn more about Flatirons Habitat, go to flatironshabitat.org.

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