Legislative Build Days offer a new learning experience

By Kathy Lefler/Communications and Marketing Manager

While we build and repair homes but we also know that policies that support affordable housing are vital to our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. With that as our focus, we hosted three Legislative Build Days and invited policymakers to volunteer with us and learn about our work.

We welcomed legislators from the state capitol, Wichita’s mayor, vice mayor and a city council member, a Sedgwick County commissioner and staff from U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall’s office. The build days were held Aug. 17, 24 and 31.

Volunteered in Rock the Block

The time they shared volunteering helped us complete Ramon and Pabla’s home that is sponsored by the Wichita Catholic Diocese. The affordable home is in our Rock the Block revitalization neighborhood. They painted – inside and out. They also installed window blinds, weather stripping and finished up the little details that make a house a home. Our staff and core volunteers were on-site, making sure everyone had what they needed.

“This is an incredible organization that works to expand home ownership opportunities to folks in our community.”

Mayor Brandon Whipple

After volunteering, we gathered for a Lunch and Learn. This provided an opportunity for Wichita Habitat staff and members of our Advocacy Team to tell policymakers about Rock the Block and its impact on families and the community they serve. We also shared about the new Land Bank and the effects of redlining on our city. It also provided an opportunity to advocate that funds from the American Recovery Plan Act be allocated to support affordable housing programs, home repair for low-income homeowners and the Land Bank.

Learned about the impact of our work from future homebuyers

The highlight of the day, however, was when future homebuyers shared about their journey to Habitat homeownership. Shabana, who just purchased her home, talked about how our financial literacy program was life-changing for her. As a devoted mom of three boys, she said she often relied on credit to purchase things her sons wanted but didn’t really need. Now, Shabana told us she is more careful in her spending and relies on a budget.

A Habitat mortgage means money saved

Ramon said that he is paying $1,350 to rent a house for his family. When he purchases his Habitat home in October, his monthly mortgage will be less than half that amount. In addition, his home will have a fenced-in backyard where his children can play. He also is looking forward to the community of new neighbors. There are four more Habitat homes on his block and everyone knows each other after building each others’ homes.