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The mission of Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity is to work in partnership with God and people everywhere from all walks of life, to develop communities with people in need by building and renovating houses so that there are decent houses in decent communities in which every person can experience God’s love and can live and grow into all that God intends.
Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to our partner families at no profit and are financed with affordable loans. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments go into a Revolving Fund for Humanity which is used to build Habitat houses for future partner families. Habitat for Humanity is said to provide "a hand up, not a hand out" to those in need of affordable, decent housing. In addition to a down payment and the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor -- sweat equity -- into building their Habitat house and the houses of others.
There are six foundational principles that guide our work:
- Habitat is based upon the teachings of Jesus. While Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization, anyone who is committed to its mission, purposes and principles is invited to participate in our organization.
- Habitat for Humanity is a people-to-people partnership drawing together individuals and communities to build decent, affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity is committed to the development and uplifting of people and communities, not only to the development of housing.
- Habitat for Humanity builds decent and affordable housing in partnership with people who are living in inadequate housing and who are unable to secure adequate housing by conventional means. Habitat selects homeowner-partners based on their need for adequate shelter; their ability to pay for the Habitat home; and their willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat does not discriminate in the selection of homeowner-partners on the basis of race, creed, gender, disability, ethnic background, or any other characteristic protected by law.
- Habitat for Humanity sells all housing units to homeowner-partners with no profit added by means of subsidized or zero interest loans. House payments are used for the construction of additional affordable housing.
- Habitat for Humanity is a global movement comprised of Habitat for Humanity International and national and local affiliated organizations around the world.
- The need for decent and affordable housing is a worldwide challenge, and Habitat for Humanity is a global partnership response. Habitat for Humanity commits to providing significant financial support of house-building efforts in other countries through participating in the affiliate tithe program.
The international Habitat for Humanity movement began in Americus, Georgia, in 1976 with a visionary named Millard Fuller. Walking away from a successful career in law, Fuller, together with his wife Linda and a group called Koinonia Farms, founded Habitat with the conviction that every person deserves a decent place to live. He believed that communities can come together to make this possible for their neighbors in need.
In the early 1990s, a small group of like-minded individuals from the Ellensburg area recognized a need for affordable housing within Kittitas County. A grass roots movement started by these volunteers was the beginning of a formal Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the Kittitas Valley of Washington. In 1993 Ellensburg Area Habitat for Humanity was established as an official affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). The Board of Directors signed, and annually reviews a covenant agreement with HFHI supporting the methods of operation and the foundation principles of the governing organization.
In the summer of 1994, ground was broken for the first affiliate home in Kittitas County. Since that time, the Ellensburg affiliate has built eleven homes and repaired one home as it seeks to provide decent, affordable houses in Kittitas County for people in need. Habitat has found that while a simple, decent place to live provides the basic necessities for a family, it is the hope that it provides which ultimately lifts the family from poverty.
Since 1993, Habitat for Humanity in Kittitas County has grown to include 12 active volunteer Board of Directors, 5 staff members, 3 volunteer office staff, over 300 building and 250 Store volunteers, 20 volunteer committee members, 13 partner families, and a mailing list of over 1,800 supporting individuals and businesses.
Besides having provided eleven homes since our affiliate's first groundbreaking in 1994, Habitat is committed to the development and enrichment of families, volunteers, and communities. Each of the previously built homes has involved over 3,000 volunteer construction hours and nearly 2,500 volunteer support hours. In addition, with the opening of our Habitat Store in 2009, the community at large can purchase discounted building materials, furniture and appliances knowing that the money paid for these items is used to build more affordable housing in Kittitas County. An added bonus is that our Store helps keep usable items out of our local landfill.
In 2009, in an effort to expand its service area to include both upper and lower Kittitas County, Habitat for Humanity/Ellensburg Area changed its name and is now known as Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity.