Frontdoors Magazine May 2019 Issue

Page 34



Repairing homes, reviving communities Catie Richman | Contributing Writer

THE STORY Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona has been serving Maricopa County and parts of Pinal County since 1985. A locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, the nonprofit envisions a world where everyone has safe and secure housing. In fact, more than 1,100 homes have been built or renovated by the organization since it was founded. “Habitat is probably most known for building affordable homes. But over the years, we’ve learned that affordable home repair is also important for families that want to stay in their homes, or maybe don’t need a new home,” said Dusty Parsons, director of marketing and communications. “So we’ve expanded our

portfolio to include affordable home repairs. When you do that in one area, it becomes neighborhood revitalization or stabilization.” Repairs can range from minor to major, including landscaping, painting, roofing and even window replacement for energy efficiency and to help lower electric bills and make houses more affordable to maintain. “It’s a huge economic impact to a family to make some of these repairs,” said Jason Barlow, president and CEO of the organization. “It can also have a health impact. By fixing these homes, kids are healthier and going to school more regularly. And parents have a lot more cash in their pocket.”

THE CAUSE Directly south of downtown sits one of Phoenix’s first suburbs, Central City South. The community has deep roots, with many multigenerational families living in the same houses their parents and even grandparents lived. With an average family income of around $20,000 per year, the neighborhood falls below the poverty line. 34  FRONTDOORS MEDIA | MAY 2019

“Our mission is bringing God’s people together to build homes, communities and hope. That’s why this Central City South area fits so perfectly, because it’s not only homes — it’s a larger community,” said Barlow. “A lot of hope is needed down there because residents tell us they felt like it’s ‘the land that time forgot.’” Over the past decades, Central City South residents

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