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If you had to choose between a safe home, nutritious food, health care or reliable transportation what would you pick?

That's a choice one in 10 families in Kansas have to make because they are forced to pay half or more of their income on a place to live. This burden means they're denied the personal and economic stability that safe, decent and affordable housing provides.

When the cost of a home is your family’s future, the cost is too high and that’s something none of us can afford. That’s why Wichita Habitat for Humanity is joining hundreds of Habitat for Humanity organizations across the country for our first national advocacy campaign: Cost of Home.

Learn more about housing affordability challenges in Kansas
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We hosted our first-ever Legislative Build Days in August. 

Policymakers from local, state and federal government joined us to volunteer and learn about affordable housing. Most importantly, they learned how through policies, they can create opportunities for affordable housing and home repairs. They also heard from Habitat homebuyers who shared what life is like when you pay more than half your paycheck for rent.

We thank everyone who participated on Aug. 17, 24 and 31.

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We join with Habitat affiliates from across the country to advocate for policies that promote broader access to safe, affordable homes. We ask legislators in Washington, D.C., to:

  • Invest in mortgage assistance for low-income homeowners at risk of foreclosure due to the pandemic in any future recovery package.
  • Support the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA) as a co-sponsor of this bipartisan legislation.
  • Support the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA) as a co-sponsor of this bipartisan legislation.

Your voice is urgently needed! A letter from Wichita Habitat's Advocacy Chair

Dear Friends,

The current pandemic forces us indoors and we spend many of our hours in our homes.  Yet, thousands of our fellow residents currently live in dwellings where living conditions are hazardous to their health and safety.

As a long-time, volunteer and Board member of Wichita Habitat for Humanity, I and my fellow volunteers have seen many situations here in Wichita where lives are in danger and dwellings are risky for the inhabitants.  We have visited dwellings where the floors swayed as we walked on them.  We visited homes where a child slept in a closet because the bedroom ceiling in his parents’ rental house had collapsed. In one home, four young girls waited hours for the bathtub to drain before they could bathe. We regularly hear of parents and children sharing beds because of a lack of sleeping space.  Overcrowding spreads disease. We have seen asthmatic children hospitalized repeatedly because they are living in a rental house with black mold. We speak with parents afraid for their children as they hear neighbor’s angry voices through paper-thin walls or hear gunshots nightly in their neighborhood.

In one particularly moving situation, a mattress was propped against a dining room wall where a young boy slept under the table during the night and the family ate at the table during the day. Imagine now the young boy is educated at the same table he sleeps under at night.

Throughout the area, there are health care providers, CNAs and LPNs, who finish their shifts at nursing homes or hospitals and come home to their families carrying contaminated clothing where there is no ready access to laundry facilities.  Yes, they can use a laundromat or the apartment complex’s facilities, but where do they store their contaminated clothing?

The is a difficult time for all of us.  Priorities and aspirations are changing. As our economy begins to gear up again and we reexamine our lives, I urge each of you to remember the housing needs in Wichita and surrounding areas.  Make housing a priority and work to ensure that each person has a safe, healthy, affordable place to live. Working together, we can achieve this goal.  Activate your efforts by volunteering, donating and advocating with public officials at all levels of government to make housing a priority.  Safe, healthy, and affordable housing is a goal we can achieve!

Ann Patterson, Advocacy Chair for Wichita Habitat and member of Habitat's U.S. Council Advocacy Committee

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Families who live in safe, affordable housing are healthier. Their children do better in school. They are able to purchase reliable transportation and save for emergencies. Will you join us in raising your voice as we advocate for policies that create decent housing conditions and opportunities for everyone?
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