Habitat for Humanity of Spartanburg loves building. Building homes. Building stronger families and neighborhoods. Building a more connected and supportive community.
To do all that requires focus and cooperation. And while we believe deeply in our mission and have scores of success stories that underscore the impact of our unique model, we believe just as deeply that helping individual families is a team sport. That’s why we are proud to be partners with a number of local organizations and nonprofits that are working to build a stronger, more prosperous community for everyone. From the Northside Development Group to the United Way of the Piedmont, we try to complement other organizations whenever and wherever possible.
The United Way of the Piedmont has been working toward an ambitious goal of moving 2,000 local families on the path to financial stability in 2,000 days. Launched in 2016, this groundbreaking, collaborative initiative surpassed its goal of 2,000 in less than 900 days.
Access to affordable housing is a critical component of the effort. The Financial Stability Task Force’s Opportunity Housing work group is focused on identifying and implementing “a set of strategies that will collectively contribute to increasing opportunities for, knowledge of, and access to housing for people at/below 120 percent of area median income in the City and County of Spartanburg.” Those strategies include increasing the number of quality, affordable housing units, and creating a Housing Trust Fund.
Though the term “Opportunity Housing” may be new to some, the concept dovetails perfectly with Habitat for Humanity’s mission. The term refers to “the ability of all residents to live in quality homes and thriving neighborhoods with access to jobs, good schools, healthy food options, medical centers, and transportation.” Households spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs are considered cost burdened.
To be sure, ensuring there are enough units that meet the definition of opportunity housing and also fall under the 30 percent income threshold for every low-income family in our community is a tremendous challenge. Making significant progress will require local government, the business community, private philanthropists, churches, as well as local foundations and nonprofits to collaborate, combine resources and pool their collective expertise.
This collaboration doesn’t happen naturally or easily. That’s one of the reasons addressing generational poverty is so difficult: while no one organization or entity has the resources or bandwidth to tackle the range of issues that keep people mired in poverty, getting everyone in the same room and on the same page requires intentional effort. It requires patience and building trust.
We don’t have all of this figured out in Spartanburg. But some of the most rewarding work we do at Habitat for Humanity involves supporting and complementing these larger community-wide initiatives. We are extremely grateful for the leadership our friends at United Way of the Piedmont have provided in building a more financially stable community, one family at a time.
We will continue to do our part by providing resources that increase access to affordable “opportunity housing” in Spartanburg. We invite and encourage you to join us in this impactful work. If you’re looking for a way to make an impact, use our contact form, volunteer to work on a Habitat home, or consider making a financial contribution today. You will be directly helping a local family improve their financial stability.