9 Things to Donate When You Are Renovating

Are you getting your house renovated? If you are trying to refresh your home and bring in some new positive energy along the way, we would like to suggest you donate items to the Habitat for Humanity. It will make all the difference to your community.

You might consider some of the material trash, but we might be able to use this and help people in need. In addition, together we are going to help the environment by not just shifting goods to the landfill, but reusing all the material. You do not even have to worry about moving furniture and building materials since a lot of Habitat ReStores offer pickup. How convenient is this? 

Things You Can Donate

Let’s see what items you can donate to our Habitat Broward ReStore

  • Sinks, toilets and bathtubs

As these are probably the first to go from your home while renovating, you could donate them to us instead of moving them to the landfill. Our ReStore accepts white or off-white sinks and bathtubs with no staining and chipping. 

  • Kitchen cabinets

Are you remodeling your kitchen? You can donate kitchen cabinets once you decide to replace them. The cabinets ought to be in good condition – please ensure the drawer pulls are functional. Also, keep the drawers and doors together when donating.

  • Furniture

Every Habitat ReStore might accept different donations, but usually, they accept furniture like sofas, chairs, dining tables, filing cabinets, coffee tables, dressers, bed frames, end tables, and bookshelves. Make sure all furniture is undamaged, without any tears and stains.

Furniture

  • Doors and windows

Someone else might find your internal and external doors very useful. Please make sure they are clean and undamaged. Sliding glass doors and windows are also welcome, but check for holes or cracks in the glass and make sure seals are in place before donating. We do not want anyone to be hurt if the glass is unstable and breaks. 

  • Working appliances

Consider donating refrigerators, stoves and washing machines. You can donate appliances if they are clean and in good working order. 

  • Lumber

If you wish to donate building material such as lumber, you can. However, the lumber you donate is required to come without exposed nails and screws since these can pose a safety hazard. Make sure wood has no ripped or sharp edges. Check the requirements with the nearest Habitat ReStore before you donate.

  • Tiles and wood flooring

Donate clean, undamaged tiles and wood flooring with no visible nails and screws. Find out about the requirements in your local Habitat ReStore before donating.

  • Lighting

You can donate light fixtures to us. They are often in great demand. Light switches, switch covers, and wiring can also be donated thus reducing your construction waste. 

  • Door handles and cabinet knobs

When you redecorate your home, you might opt for replacing door handles and cabinet knobs. If this is the case, you can donate them to Habitat ReStores. Make sure the fixtures are in good condition. Additionally, it would be best if all parts are placed and donated together. 

Renovating your home is a great way to bring a breath of fresh air in your life. In addition to this, you could help others by donating some of the items you would otherwise just get rid of. Instead of sending them to the landfill, think about donating to Habitat ReStores. 

When we sell the items that you donate, the money helps families build nice and affordable homes. You can be part of a process that helps whole families create independence, stability and a better future.

If you don’t know where to donate or if you have any questions, visit the support page to find out about other ways to donate to Habitat for Humanity

Before and After Closing on a House Tips

Have you found a suitable home for you and your family? Have you decided to make an offer on a house and the seller has agreed to sell the house to you? Have you been pre-approved by a lender? If yes, then congratulations, this is great news! 

Although it is a great future step for you and your family, you should be aware of a few issues you have to take into consideration before and after closing on a real estate you have set your eyes on. 

9 Tips Before Closing on a House

Many people wonder what to do before closing on a house. Listed below are several things you should pay attention to before closing on your new home:

1. Apply for a mortgage loan

Before applying for one, do research on rates and lenders. The best way is to ask for a referral from your friends or colleagues. Making a list of rates and lenders is a good idea – check lenders’ ratings by going to the Better Business Bureau. 

2. Get your house appraised

Your lender will hire an expert to appraise the value of the home because the amount you are paying cannot be higher than the value of the home and the collateral. 

3. Get a home inspection 

Although most lenders require this, it might be one of the most useful things to do before closing on a house. If an inspector comes across any issues, you can then easily ask the seller to fix them.

4. Keep your job 

Changing a job could introduce a change in your debt-to-income ratio which may affect the credit approval. In addition, there is the inconvenience of additional paperwork.  

5. Don’t go on a spending spree or open new credit lines

You should know that this could also impact your debt ratio and the final credit approval.

6. Making deposits into your account 

This can be beneficial to the whole process. However, make sure to prepare all the documents in connection with the deposits, as your lender could ask for these.

7. Check the title to your future home

Are you sure that the seller is the owner of the house you have decided to buy? It is better to pay a title examiner to ensure there are no other owners of your future home. 

8. Be aware of the closing costs 

You could expect these costs to be around 3% of the cost of the home, but you will get a precise list of all the fees a few days before closing.

9. Prepare a homeowner’s policy

The lender requires a homeowner’s policy so it is best to have it prepared. In addition, you might have to pay the first year’s premium in advance. 

Things to Do After Buying a House

Now, the question we could ask ourselves is what to do after closing on a house, and what are some problems that occur when closing on a house? Once you have become a homeowner, you should consider focusing on some of the listed activities:

1. Copy all documents and keep them safe

You sign a lot of documents when buying a house. Since you might require some of them in the future, take care of them well.

2. Change the locks and/or update keypads that (un)lock the doors

This is just a reminder since you probably do not want any unexpected visitors.

Change the locks andor update keypads that unlock the doors

3. Notify companies and people about your move 

You should probably first contact the United States Postal Service to make sure the important mail is delivered to the right address. Additionally, one of the things to do after buying a house is to change the address on your documents. 

4. Inspect the water heater 

You could adjust the temperature of the water on your own and make it perfect for you and your family.

5. Think about an energy audit 

This is especially useful for older homes since they could be energy-inefficient. 

6. Do research on tax deductions and discounts 

Focus on the ones that are available in your area, city, and state. 

7. Be prepared for mortgage payment changes 

This is advised because (adjustable) payments could change at any time. 

Being a homeowner is a great experience and you should be proud of it. However, when you enter the process of buying a home for the first time, it is essential to be careful not to ignore some important aspects that could slow down the whole process and cause a lot of stress. If you make sure to avoid potential obstacles, you will soon be able to enjoy the new home and your safe haven. 

Broward Habitat Restore Made Hurricane Shutters Affordable for Hundreds

Recycled Aluminium Shutters Fly out Restore Doors

Habitat for Humanity of Broward provided close to 300 families with hurricane shutters at cut-rate prices in the days leading up to Hurricane Dorian. Now, those same families have the security of knowing they are prepared the next time a hurricane approaches. These shutters are an investment that will serve them for years to come.

The Broward Habitat Restore, located at 505 West Broward Blvd, was able to serve hundreds of customers who lined up out the doors to purchase heavily discounted recycled steel and aluminum shutters. Those shutters were made possible, thanks to donations by homeowners and shutter companies, and all proceeds will benefit Habitat’s mission to provide homes to low-income families in need of affordable housing.

broward habitat restore made hurricane shutteres affordable“With housing and cost of living costs so high in South Florida, many families do not have the discretionary income needed for new shutters or impact windows,” said Nancy Robin, CEO and Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Broward. “Through our ReStore, we are able to help them get the protection they need at an affordable price, while also helping low-income families obtain shelter—also at an affordable price. Thank goodness Dorian missed us, and thank goodness hundreds of families are now prepared for the next storm.”

Robin went on to say demand had been so high for shutters that the ReStore’s warehouse was almost completely empty. “We thank our residents and suppliers in advance for sending unneeded shutters our way. Our Habitat trucks are happy to come pick up these donations, and by directing them to our ReStore, they not only save families, but also save tons of material from our landfills.”

Help victims of Hurricane Dorian

The Broward Habitat ReStore is a convenient location to donate items needed in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Donations of listed supplies will be directed to victims of the hurricane and can be made at the Habitat ReStore at 505 W Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. Store hours are Mon-Sat 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Items needed/accepted:

  • Canned goods and can openers
  • Mosquito spray and sunscreen
  • Disposable diapers
  • First aid items
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Flashlights and batteries

All ReStore sales support Habitat for Humanity of Broward’s efforts to ensure all Broward residents have a decent place to live. For more information on Habitat Broward, please contact Thor Barraclough at Habitat for Humanity of Broward (954) 817-2208

The Affordable Housing Homeowner: It’s Not Who You Think

Who Lives in Affordable Housing?
The topic of affordable housing may evoke memories of past public housing failures. However, data has shown that these fears are unwarranted. Below are a few myths we hope to dispel about the people who live in affordable housing.

“People who live in affordable housing don’t work.”

Some fear that people who live in affordable housing are in a state of absolute poverty or do not have jobs. However, Habitat homeowners are valuable employees who work right here in Broward County, including pre-school teachers, bank tellers, social workers, legal aides, and tourism and service professionals such as servers and bartenders. Most people living in affordable housing are hard-working service personnel.

If they work, why do they need affordable housing? More than half of Broward’s workforce earns less than the area median income. People we come across every day struggle to keep a roof over their heads. When the employees mentioned above spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, it limits their ability to cover necessary expenses such as food, education, insurance and clothing. It is especially hard to save any money for the future under these circumstances.

The United Way’s ALICE Report (Winter 2017) describes heads of households who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed. According to the ALICE Report, of Florida’s 7.5 million households, 14.5 percent earn below the federal poverty line and another 29.5 percent are ALICE. In 2015, out of 673,870 total heads of household in Broward County, a whopping 44 percent were in poverty and within the ALICE threshold parameters.

“People in affordable housing are all minorities.”

ALICE and poverty-level households exist in every racial and ethnic group in Florida. In fact, white households make up the largest number of households living below the ALICE threshold in the state, at 26 percent. There were 1.7 million white households both in poverty and at or below the ALICE threshold in 2015, compared to 1.5 million Asian, black, and Hispanic households in poverty and the ALICE threshold.

“People looking for affordable housing are just looking for a handout.”

Affordable housing is part of state and federal efforts to ensure hardworking Americans have shelter for themselves and their families. Habitat for Humanity does not simply give people homes. These future homeowners participate in an extensive pre-qualification process, attend a year of homeownership classes, make a modest down payment and pour a minimum of 300 hours of “sweat equity” into the construction. This earns them a zero-interest mortgage, payable over 30 years.

At Habitat for Humanity, we believe that everyone should be able to achieve his/her highest potential. Affordable housing makes that possible for people who work hard and deserve a decent place to live. Healthy, happy, engaged citizens are the result of affordable homeownership through Habitat.

 

 

 

Contact Your Elected Officials: Proposed House Budget to Zero Out SHIP

Call to Action
Proposed House Budget to Zero out SHIP
No money at all for FY 2018-19, other than funding for hurricane recovery, has been allocated. SHIP (State Housing Initiative Partnership) dollars help Habitat make mortgages more affordable. Supported by the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund, the Florida House proposes eliminating these dollars and continuing to diminish housing resources….leaving a smaller allocation for hurricane relief only.

Florida House of Representatives

Email or call your representatives in the Florida House of Representatives. You can find your House members here.

 

Email:

Dear Representative ____________:

The residents of Broward County, including our workforce, our elderly and special needs populations, need affordable housing. Our employers and our economy need affordable housing. We thank our Senators for a budget that uses all the housing trust funds for housing; no sweeps.

We urge our House members to stop sweeping the housing trust fund monies and join the Senate in using all the housing funds for housing. Please help your constituents by speaking up in favor of using housing funds for housing – we are relying upon you.

 

Florida Senate

Email or call your Senator. You can find your Senator here.

 

Email:

Dear Senator ____________:

The residents of Broward County, including our workforce, our elderly and special needs populations, need affordable housing. Our employers and our economy need affordable housing. We thank our Senators for a budget that uses all the housing trust funds for housing; no sweeps.

We urge the Senate to hold firm to its position; we will encourage our House members to stop sweeping the housing trust fund monies and join the Senate in using all the housing funds for housing. Thank you for helping your constituents and the communities you serve by using the housing trust funds solely for housing.

Working Families Can Achieve the American Dream – With Our Help

An Important Message from Nancy Robin, CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Broward

It is now up to the Florida House to support affordable housing and end the historic sweep of millions of dollars from the housing trust fund. Senators, Representatives and We the Citizens have the opportunity to say, “Stop!” to protect the American Dream of homeownership, and to keep a roof overhead for the cashiers, health care workers, servers and others who are working hard to build a future in Florida.

For many of us, owning a home of our own is the American Dream. Historically, homeownership has been the path to economic security and upward mobility, particularly for low income and minority families. The American Dream is being shattered, however, by rising home prices, low wages and broken promises by the Florida Legislature which has failed to fully fund the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund.

The benefits of homeownership are numerous. Compared to renters of the same age, race and income, children of homeowners perform better in school and graduate from high school and college in greater numbers. Homeownership results in better health, reduced crime and increased civic engagement.

Owning a home also allows one to build assets and save for the future. This is especially true for low income and minority families. Habitat homeowners tell us that buying a home proves to their children that, with hard work and perseverance, dreams really can come true.

Sadly, homeownership is far beyond the reach of the vast majority of our hard-working, low-income households. Over half of Broward County’s workforce falls into the low-income category, earning wages below 80% of the area median income. Compounding this crisis is the cost of available rentals, which are unaffordable to 85% of median income earners.

Florida lawmakers have the power to help more low-income families find a decent place to call home by ensuring 100% of the Sadowski housing trust funds are used solely for affordable housing programs. We are very encouraged that the Florida Senate has passed a bill which preserves housing trust funds for their intended use and stops the diversion of what, since 2003, totals more than $2 billion…dollars swept from the trust fund for purposes other than affordable housing. (Note: Broward also has the distinction of contributing far more to the fund than it receives—an estimated $80+M over the last five years.)

It is now up to the Florida House to support affordable housing and end the historic sweep of millions of dollars from the housing trust fund. Senators, Representatives and we the Citizens have the opportunity to say, “Stop!” to protect the American Dream of homeownership, and to keep a roof overhead for the cashiers, health care workers, servers and others who are working hard to build a future in Florida.

Go to www.myfloridahouse.gov and www.flsenate.gov to find your legislators. If you agree that everyone deserves a decent place to live, then tell them you support preserving 100% of the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund for affordable housing. Urge them to stay committed to this goal. Contact us at info@habitatbroward.org for more information.

Civil Rights and Humanity: A brief story depicting Habitat for Humanity’s connection to the Civil Rights movement

 In celebration of the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we took a look back in the history books and found a heartwarming connection between Dr. King, the Koinonia Farm, and our Habitat for Humanity founders, Millard and Linda Fuller.
 
The story begins with a gentleman by the name of Dr. Clarence Leonard Jordan (1912-1969), who cofounded Koinonia Farm in 1942 in Americus, Georgia. Jordan had received support from local residents until the summer of 1956. It was in this year that segregationists organized a boycott after Jordan backed the attempt by a black member of the community to enroll at the University of Georgia. As a result,  Koinonia supporters were forced to seek alternate ways to market the farm’s products, and then on January 14, the farm’s roadside market was set on fire, causing nearly $7,000 in damage. Unfortunately, the attacks did not stop there; four days later, another building on the farm was burned to the ground, and arson was attempted on the barn of a sympathetic neighbor. 
 
Frustrated and disheartened, Dr. Jordan wrote a letter to Dr. King to seek insurance advice. He explained that the farm’s insurance had been “canceled so much that we have exhausted every source we know.”
 
Dr. King responded with words of encouragement and a referral to an Atlanta-based insurance agency that could possibly help Dr. Jordan and the Koinonia community. Here is an excerpt from Dr. King’s letter written on February 10, 1957:
 
“…You and the Koinonia Community have been in my prayers continually for the last several months. The injustices and indignities that you are now confronting certainly leave you in trying moments. I hope, however, that you will gain consolation from the fact that in your struggle for freedom and a true Christian community you have cosmic companionship. God grant that this tragic midnight of man’s inhumanity to man will soon pass and the bright daybreak of freedom and brotherhood will come into being.”
 
Enter the Fullers, who visited Koinonia in 1965 after recently leaving a successful business and affluent lifestyle in Montgomery, Alabama, to begin a new life of Christian service. While there, Jordan and the Fullers developed the concept of “partnership housing,” in which people in need of adequate shelter would work alongside volunteers to build decent houses. These houses would not be built for profit, and no interest would be charged on the loans. In addition, building costs for each home would come from “The Fund for Humanity,” which would also be used to build more houses. Money for this would come from house payments, fundraising, and no-interest loans provided by supporters.
 
After Koinonia laid out 42 half-acre house sites with four acres reserved as a community park and recreational area in 1968, people all over the country donated capital to start homebuilding. Thus, Habitat for Humanity was born.
 
On this January 15, Habitat for Humanity thanks Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the guidance and support he gave to Dr. Jordan and the Koinonia Community. He believed that every person deserves equal rights, and this is an ideal we strive to uphold each day as we help families achieve their dream of homeownership.
Sources: Stanford University: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project

Defining Affordable Housing