The Issue: Blighted Neighborhoods in Need of Rejuvenation
According to a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, the condition of a neighborhood influences its residents' perception of home values, and anticipated increases in value can lead to more investments in home-improvement projects. When neighborhoods improve "curb appeal" with improvements such as landscaping or roof repairs, home values can improve by up to 15%. In addition to the economic benefits of higher property values, including the potential for drawing new businesses and jobs, neighborhood-improvement projects can have a ripple effect, with more families wanting to move into the community and improved investment in the neighborhood.
The Campaign: Providing Gift Cards for Home Improvements
Donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Habitat for Humanity to beautify neighborhoods in need of revitalization. Habitat for Humanity's Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative aims to partner with residents across the U.S. to transform their communities through creating simple, decent and affordable housing. In line with this initiative, Habitat for Humanity will provide $50 gift cards to low-income homeowners as part of its Curb Appeal program. With these gift cards, residents can purchase flowers and shrubs at a local garden store or buy paint to rejuvenate their home exteriors. Working outdoors can help neighbors get to know each other and inspire other homeowners to revamp their homes, helping boost property values throughout the neighborhood.
As part of the Curb Appeal program, Habitat for Humanity takes photos of the original and improved houses. After three months, a panel of volunteer judges will determine which homes have improved the most. The winner and runner up will receive an additional award and local recognition for their hard work.
Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 with the goal of building homes in partnership with families across the country in need of affordable housing. Since then, the organization has grown into a behemoth of goodwill in more than 70 countries, bringing housing financing to villages in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, promoting sustainable building and energy efficiency, and responding to overwhelming need during natural disasters.
But the organization is best known for its home-building projects. When Habitat for Humanity builds a home, it enlists the help of the family who will be living there. They dedicate their time and sweat to completing the project alongside volunteers, neighbors, donors, churches, and other supporters, engendering a spirit of renewal and fellowship. Once they move in, families pay a no-profit mortgage. Their mortgage payments go into a revolving fund that promotes the construction of more homes. In 2009, Habitat launched the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, whose holistic community development approach promotes construction, repair, and rehabilitation of affordable housing in partnership with low-income families in markets hit hard by foreclosures. To date, Habitat has helped build and repair more than 600,000 houses and served more than three million people across the globe, welcoming people of all races, religions, and nationalities to partner in its mission as a nonprofit Christian housing organization.