How did you get involved with Benton Habitat?
“I was a small time continuing donor, maybe $50 per month, and was approached by and an old board member, Tom Wirth, about joining the board. Having been involved with food programs in Linn and Benton counties, social services has always been an interest of mine. Growing up in single parent household, subsidized food and housing was relied upon. I have distinct memories as a kid feeling like we received a handout and nothing more. You get enough to ensure you survive– basics, nothing else. Habitat feels different. Habitat gives partner families an opportunity to be part of the improvement in their life, not just on the other side as a hand out. A hand up builds strength, and that’s what we do.”
What are your goals as Board President?
“I would like to see Benton Habitat be a bigger player in affordable housing in the county. Rental housing, while a necessity, is not what affordable housing is all about. Home ownership and long term, stable housing is the key. We put people into homes and give them a purpose—I want to grow that and highlight the importance. I want our organization to have a stronger voice in the conversation. We are not a service; we are a partnership for people to gain ownership in their home. Stable housing, stable home.”
What should everyone should know about Benton Habitat?
- We are starting to have bigger, longer term strategies to build communities, not just singular homes. We are no longer a builder, we’re a developer. Engineering and developing small communities for people to grow and prosper.”
- People don’t want to get out of Habitat homes —they want to stay in! We are not a pass through towards stable housing.
- If you have property that you are thinking of selling or donating—we want to talk to you.