The goal of Habitat is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the face of the earth by working in partnership with people in need. Using volunteer labor and donated funds and materials, Habitat builds or rehabilitates simple, decent houses and sells them to low-income families at cost, but with no interest added.
Habitat is a people-to-people partnership, which joins all of us together regardless of race, nationality, religion, or socioeconomic status. That partnership begins with the homeowner families (partner families). Habitat is not a giveaway program, but a joint venture in which those who benefit from the housing ministry are involved in the work at various levels. They help with the construction of their own home, as well as the houses of their neighbors.
Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County
In 1994, in response to the demand for affordable housing in Bergen County, NJ, Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County was born. Our mission is consistent with that of our parent organization: to provide decent, affordable homes for hard-working Bergen County families.
Since our founding, we have built and/or renovated over twenty homes: two in Teaneck, four in Hackensack, six in Englewood, two in East Rutherford, two in Waldwick, one in Garfield, two in Oradell, and five in Little Ferry. We have over 75 family members residing in Habitat Bergen homes. We have partnered with corporations, community groups and churches to provide much-needed renovation work to existing homes in Bergen County. In addition, we have partnered with other not-for-profits to build food pantries and homes for homeless, teenage mothers. Each year we tithe a part of our fund-raised dollars to our sister affiliates in other parts of the world where dollars are a precious resource. The opportunities that have been presented to our affiliate have given us pause to consider the desperate need of our neighbors in this otherwise very wealthy county.
We are not alone in our concern or our work. To date, over 7,000 volunteers have donated almost 200,000+ hours toward our mission.We sponsored a home in Veracruz for a Jimmy Carter Work Project and volunteers from Bergen County took part by helping to build and be a part of that important work.
In 2006, in response to the tragedy in the south, Habitat Bergen built four homes locally and shipped them to the south. Again, our volunteers traveled, this time to Lafayette, Louisiana to complete the construction of one of the four homes we contributed to those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Working in partnership with another not-for-profit in 2011, we renovated an existing building in Garfield, New Jersey. The building currently houses five teenage mothers and their babies. In October 2013, we completed Habitat Bergen's first LEED-certified project in Oradell. The project consists of two duplexes - four 3-bedroom homes that now house four families. This project was unique for Habitat Bergen as it required special attention to design energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, etc. to qualify for the silver-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.
In January 2013, Habitat Bergen launched a multi-phase response -Repair, Rebuild, ReStore - to help families in Little Ferry and surrounding areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy. This response includes a range of services that address both the short-term and long-term need for safe and decent housing. Habitat Bergen's team of generous volunteers has already completed numerous homes and we currently have a backlog of homes requesting our assistance.
How We Do It
Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, Habitat Bergen builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat Bergen houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable, no-interest loans. The homeowners' monthly mortgage payments are recycled into a revolving fund that is used to build more houses.