Focus on the Upstate 115 - Habitat for Humanity Greenville - 8/5/18

Focus on the Upstate
Sunday, August 5th
Monroe Free, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greenville, describes how the Upstate’s local chapters of the world’s third most recognizable non-profit focus on helping the poor build wealth and financial security and stability through affordable home ownership.

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to focus on the upstate a program dedicated to informing you about organizations that serve our community. And how you can get involved with him. Here's your host Chris Evans. Good morning and welcome to focus on the upstate my name is Chris Evans today my guest is Munro free. The president and CEO of habitat for humanity of Greenville. Welcome and room growth thank you for having me Chris as my pleasure. Habitat for humanity I'm guessing. Is a name that my idea audiences going to recognize it set it in fact we're talking before the show he told me it's one of the most recognizable not for profit named in the world. Then that's a writer is recognize there's good for years goes to third strongest nonprofit brand in the world. He it is certainly helped the Jimmy Carter was the spokes first Welsh rabbit that but. Habitat. There's been about 78 countries around the world there's about 14100. Habitat affiliates in the US. A lot of people most people ought to know a little bit about habitat not a lot of people around and to have volunteered at some point they're relied on habitat. I'm glad to hear that so that's fair to say an international organization. Throughout and and do you run the biggest local chapter that's exact so. I'm gonna ask you anyway he even now with all the name recognition did you have the first question that a normal as people. We choose just to give you a chance to introduce yourself to the people who may not be familiar habitat. What do you do and could he do it for. That's that's the right question and that's what's important move the first question. An answer is who who do we do are far and the answer to that is we serve Sam ways to earn less than 80%. A Bay Area median income area median income as determined by a key. The federal government. But angry vote count me that's low sixties spend varies a little bit every year. My bud who we serve people of families who were earning under 80%. From the vast majority of our families. Are under 60%. That's just veterans where we can go up to as much as 8080%. So we serve those family so it's it's doing what what that historically as men call the working poor. There are people who have a low wage jobs so it's people who were the C and I is that hospitals say it's people who are our work in the down. As cashier's it's a work in an hour with people who cut our hair that Erica Meier at least that the a walk in haircut places so you know it's it's people who who work Harden who were determined that. To have a good life further and further Fram mind but they just don't earn as much. Enough wage. To be able to purchase a home own their own that I hear they're not eligible far the traditional home mortgage. The people Mike Rowe might do a show about it. And it's significant threat so fair to say and generally speaking low income families. Low income families who is who we serve remote we do is we try to build strength and stability. In self reliance. And today's families through affordable homeownership. So what affordable homeownership remains. Is that they can there be paying less than 30% of their income which is the definition of affordable. So their pay and under 30% of their income we guarantee that all of our families will be doing that. So grim we build houses volunteers who work for us build houses. So we build new houses and we also do repair and whether his nation jobs. Home fans on those families that are earn low wages. Who have above limited and con so we war pare some money who lives on a home that I own. Most of those will be saying your new citizens all right standards so that's so we do may we build new and Rory repair. When you talk about repairs are you talking about major repairs minor repairs what what's the degree of. Last service. Now I guess in the major miners and their aren't an eye of the beholder there's just that I think most of our repairs are going to be under 5000 dollars we will do a few every year that. Ideas how. Some. Of our ground programs allows us ago to about 20000 dollar so. May have met most about the vast majority will be under 5000 dollars gadget. There are any number of organizations. Around the country and around the world that. Work with with low income families to provide affordable housing. What is it that sets eight despite not having the name recognition test for the habitat does what is it that sets habitat apart. Well who habitat who believes is that it through the vehicle. Of affordable homeownership. Is that that that is the key to the transformation and by that that we we meanness that. Affordable homeownership changes of families cash flow so. They say just picked green below average three bedroom Reynolds right at a thousand dollars. So. Habitat Paymah house payment mortgages and taxes included last year woo boy it's 438. Dollars. So a family whose best say they're not pay an average just paid say their pay and 7800 dollars. And suddenly they're paying 438. Dollars. They vase have a 30400. Dollar cash. Flow changes two positive prepared in their family. And that means that they can afford Madison's it means they can afford extracurricular. Further children. It means all sorts of of advantages for that family that most of us know don't think about and so their cash flow changes but at the same time their cash flow changes there dude parable to develop some well played develop that the way. Most Americans develop well through the equity in their home so late to literally become homeowners as I pray that mortgage. Now they can't access the equity fully until the sixteenth year of owning a home. But they develop that equity so what if they had there as they get older sell out our if they have some money to retire wrong night and that's the way most of Americans develop their well so. It it changes a family's cash flow it changes their now well position and that that is transform Dave now then there's all sorts of other side affects the families help gets better we build our hat our homes to earth craft standards. There are all sorts of health benefits to this town can. Airtight home that that we build. They're you know children's self esteem changes as they live and on nice house and on nice neighborhood. Number one reason families or mothers tell us that they want to cajon I habitat council safety for their children many of our families come from very difficult neighborhoods. We hear families say that my house were shot and Terry my apartment were shot and two of those kinds of things so they move into a safe neighborhood. And that becomes. All all of that together becomes transformed their firm the family breaks at generational poverty and pain. You mentioned that you're you're houses are built to earth craft standards what does that mean someone from the well earth craft is saved from an environmentally friendly birth certification. It's actually has a real strong a southern component because some of you from humidity issues things are right. More sure issues are unique to the south but this earth craft is very strong and so it's it's a very high level it's it's not quite the lead standard. But it in some ways it's better in residential book were banned lead standards but leap over its very high standard that we have to me we have to have our house inspected. To make sure we made their blue green standards. Got you. This homeownership process for the the low income families that she serve. Is it any different from the the the process that that somebody with a hiring come my idea but you go to a banking alone neither the real estate agent EU shop for houses. And I does that differ. Thank you for answering that question because that's a critical element to what we do. We do we want to have sustainable homeownership we want them to succeed as homeowners. Many of our families this the first time anyone in their family has ever owned a home. So where our families first of all I have to do 200 hours of sweat equity I waved me net they're out their swing and hammer where volunteers at a luncheon we have laid literally helped build our own wow. And so they learn some some skills and and and doing that. But they come I also have to go to Tony six hours of classroom where we talk about insurance and we talk about mortgage. How wished I had had these two debates 26 hours before I became a homeowner right Kara many years ago Q. But that it's Iran that we give them an education. And that and and so it it's a very intensive program. The other thing I think that's different is pets are family sometimes get in trouble for my loses a job where you have that you announce some money gets sick. Who had a situation. Just in the last few weeks were warmer homeowners can tourists. And then they were had always paid on time never late payment never missed a payment. They've just been the perfect kind of mortgage for for our organization. And she came and and she was like. Just like maker payment she apologized and she was in tears and she said I'm so sorry sir but I had to have a medical procedure done. And I had to write my check up front and that was for 400 dollars Richmond I didn't hats and mines the payment in certain that the size of the house plan and I'm so sorry and she was you know upset how might this up I'll figure out some of their. And we were able to work with our friend we have much but more flexibility because where the mortgage company we have more flexibility. Then the typical mortgage company you're estimate all sorts of regulations. To stay in business so that's the other thing happens but Chris ninety between ninety and 94% of our families pay on time every night. And our foreclosure rate over 35 years as point 47%. That sounds really good. But I think there's some banks are Beirut proud of them yet mass rose especially the past and our ten years yourself who exactly it was a quite right now if you're talking about sustainable. Housing you know making sure the people can stay in their houses and I've heard a number of economists and financial advisors give the advice that. If you have any kind of debt. You should rent before you own because there's a liability. A certain amount of risk in noting you know something goes wrong with a rented place. Because the landlord and gets taken care of you if you own the plays it's up to you to to handle that. How does that advice applied or not to add to that came with that you serve. Well it there applies directly because. Our our families who we hold them to us tighter standard in most financial institutions and that their conduct and cameras show passed a Miette less than 41%. But because you're the mortgage holders of mortgage order and but what we do is we can work with them. To get the debt down gotcha and pursue these are families this last year that average time and our program must 22 months for many of those families that's 22 months much of that was spent. Getting their debt in order key. And we helped them put a plan together put a budget together we helped them get some assistance at times. But who we work with them to get their debt down. And we will not allow them to divert through going to habitat home until they're dead is an order. But we don't just write you off but rusher a you have debt problems many of our families have school bit. Many of them is that medical debt. It seems like low income families would be more likely to have those kinds of debt. They absolutely do and some have not gotten in trouble on bend with. Ben moved a payday loans which is a skirt on Internet user and and and they they're there of the payday loan folks are taken advantage of them we can help them we have a couple of credit unions have reveals. The Carolina for the show's lands SE telco that war with our families and get that term debt payday loan taken care of those kinds of things. So we do a lot though but that is a huge issue for homeownership. As we've mentioned habitat for humanity as a as a large amount of Britain name recognition all over the world because you serve. All over the world and I literally all over the world and my guess is that people who were familiar with the name habitat for humanity are going to associated more with places like. Africa or Asia or in Haiti things like that. Talk about the nature of your local chapter in serving people in this area that might not fit into the same scenes are scattered. Well I think them habitat international terrorism that we're. Just so blessed to be a part of that from the truth is we're our every local affiliate not just have a staggering blow. Is it about who is autonomous. And so we have to raise our own support we have our own border directors that my decisions about things locally. And we support international work we have a team that's gonna Guatemala the last two years and are going to Guatemala again this year to build homes down mayor Lego in January or February. So we knew some things to work there with international they help us since Mars they have some relationships like come and we get all our Valspar pine tar all of our houses is given to us free because. Have that on national has worked out the relationship there are so we get some advantages shift from from habitat international. They provide some great training etc. but. We are autonomous. Here enduring goal we can do things a little bit different tomorrow but what we do here in green moved. We build new houses Louis last year. Twelve families went into new homes new mortgages. And then and 26 families were had their homes repaired we're in the process of doubling that number. But we don't know we'd set our own path here at the pin and angering. Have a tag Greeneville. It it's it's. This program is called focus on the upstate and it's not uncommon for me to have organizations in that have Greenville in the name. Do you just serve people in the city of green pillar of the county of Greenville forty branch out. Well with the exception of the city of Greer were weakened servants Barbara cannon we are just in Greenville but there is a habitat Spartanburg good lab data and Anderson that was my next question. I'm wondering would there. Habitats and we collaborate we work together we worked that habitats Spartanburg and have a tegra mobile to house together and Greer. Two years ago are with me and I've via. So we we work together but all of us are autonomous. Catcher the web sites is you habitat Greeneville dot org. And I noticed on there that you have something called habitat model I think you kind of touched on that before but elaborate on that idea. Well that the habitat model is prudent move that. Families are prepared as a first step we don't just. Find a family roommates crop financial qualifications I have to go to your programs so their bread and their their prepared. That idea of affordable homeownership changes. Changes a family's. Cash flow and changes their world position I think their their the heart of the matter about. Habitat is there's there's two ways about Fannie keen about people who are. And then blowing comer arm of what we typically call poor. There are two ways thing that that you help one is that you help them by changing dim that you change their attitude to change their habits shoot all those kinds of things and then the other way to think about helping and is by giving them assets. And habitat. Bullies both are important there are some things that most families in need to learn. Some habits like good habits they need to develop. I'm many of our families never have known how to put together a budget those kinds of things. But what really drives habitat has who we put assets in their hand. And the room are the founder of habitat the theological round of habitat that have a wrote a famous quote he said. Poor families that don't need charity they need capital and so homeownership the capital to asset if you will have go home a home that they own. Really we believe that that can be made the impetus for great I'm great transformation the other piece habitat model. Is that we do we're volunteers now we have a staff. But volunteers build our house as volunteers to help us selects a family's all those were deeply. Indebted to. The volunteers about we get him almost 30000 hours last year from volunteers. But the unique thing about that it's. A volunteer. And the homeowner that the other person who's being helped and the person who is helping. They get to know each other they work side mass SATA on the on the bill site and half at that believes that in itself that developing. Dubbed a relationship between the haves and the have nots as we commonly talk about it. That relationship development. Is absolutely. Critical. In our community at large that when we build a relationship when we get to know each other good things happen. Well let's seems like as good an opportunity is any debt Apatow asked a bounce. Volunteer opportunities in and out other ways that people cannot can donate to you have tech Greeneville. Well that's thank you for asking now and then and a volunteer opportunities between now and then the year error are Manning waved we kick off our our fall bill Cezanne and August. And will be building through the end of the year. There are many opportunities and fuel go to our website you can sign up. To volunteer. You can Collison had 6726335672633. Driver and and have grown men here about the opportunities. To volunteer. And they're not just stand on the bill side though that's a lot of it we also can't ever need and volunteers to help with our family post selection and and Sam Sam my preparation may also use a lot of volunteers and our restores. So a lot a lot of ways the volunteer. Obviously restores are very important to us than that revenue from Murray's storage since last year might enough money due to pay for four houses. And this year actual burn go for re stores as staff there to generate enough revenue for our Simon houses. So when people can donate their stuff serve when you buy a new couch give Leo couch to us we take everything except closing. So that's but that's a way you can kind of help and obviously financially. Take we have about building materials just like everybody else. It's so if you can help us financially it might trigger a difference for our fans such an. And again the way to at least get that ball rolling is to go to the web site on the web site habitat Greeneville dot org. That you mentioned the restore which is actually one of the main things in order to talk to you about her. We just that is fascinating conversation so far so tell us about the restorers I understand you recently. Opened a new one. We did we opened a new restore home Woodruff road Carol route across the street from may ace hardware. All I. If I'm. So who would do we have us a second store manager over to ice her opening switch to a and now now I think actually there are our friends around swimming and enough customers I think their rise afternoon that the justice they have with that there but that the new more than we have one wade Hampton Hampton point. Whoever is the over the next door to the Wal-Mart superstore their own wade Hampton. So we boy we have those two stores come and people donate we pick up items we have treks around and saw six days a week picking up items out in the community you can also bring them to the stores spread. People donate to us we resell it and that's a great great great source of revenue for habitat and I seem to remember location on Rutherford road it has that looters had closed that an aggressive early location that what we took Chris we had a store further our own wade Hampton and we took to rest for Rhoden and needed the other room one on wade Hampton and we combined it into. What I should be and I'll buy low it's actually very large store these great deals where. So re story itself tell us what it is you get is dealing there. Well people that we donate to us and wean down sometimes fix up a little bit it's sometimes pretty straight out on the floor. Amway reseller news just opened to the public to resell. Nom and those monies go directly to the ministry. Helping families of through affordable homeownership. It's that's a huge part of what we do were open six days a week Japan our our stores are just. Are great places to give DO book when you get a deal here also helped write and my friend. That people seem to really respond. To being able to brigades sent them help themselves in that same time help another family intact. So I gather like a lot of the sort of or resale stores charity stores that that she goodwill Sumter and Ari that things like that. But but also you guys have building materials. Is that right people who handle and we do have a lot of bill which is not something he usually see it does and that's that's exactly right that's part of why do you make of what to make if you go. I have to our restores you say probably about 40% of the four floor space is there have been some kind of building materials. We actually have a new flooring. We have some new mattresses and we have. New rugs we have some new staff but most of our stuff the vast majority of our stuff is is used and not. But still in good shape and the only thing we don't have room that's different than miracle hill which is a very ministry good which is a great organization. We don't so close and so round we leave that to them and we. They're given that surround the building products but also furniture and appliances. Well and in those other stores that takes up a lot of floor space is at clothing so absolutely and picks up a lot of work. I'm Bob Bennett and organizations that had to restores it didn't clothing. And I'm OK that's your that's intense. Now I imagine so so once again the web site habitat Greenfield dot org you can find more information their about restore. I droughts volunteering or donating your money your your time. And you can also as Munro mentioned calls a 672. 6335. And get their ranks that's right inherited down last time he's had 672. 6335. Munro freed president and CEO of habitat for humanity of Greeneville has been my guess they think you very much. Thank you dress that's been great to be revered you you have a great a way of carrying on conversation and I'll bring you very much it's my pleasure. I'm Chris Evans and this has been focused on the upstate. You've been listening to focus on the yet state with Chris Evans if you would like more information on today's topic. Email Chris at C Evans at intercom. Dot com did.