August 31, 2010
Yep, like it says. The ReStore will be closing at noon Thursday and Friday this week, so if you were planning to stop by, make sure you come by early! The ReStore will be open regular hours on Saturday, September 4th. Happy shopping!
August 26, 2010
LouFest is this weekend! If you'll be there, make sure to stop by the EcoZone - a special area within the festival - to say hi to the ReStore. We'll be there along with other local organizations committed to conservation, recycling, and clean energy. Hope to see you there!
August 24, 2010
Our weekday crews (Monday Crew, Wednesday Crew, and Friday Crew) play an integral part in the build process by helping our construction staff and weekend volunteers stay on schedule. Are you available on Mondays or Fridays? If so, our Monday and/or Friday Crew can use your help! Visit our Weekday Crew page for more details on how to sign-up today!
August 23, 2010
A NEW and IMPROVED Special Events Committee is launching on September 1st! We've got some big plans for 2011 and so we need all hands on deck. In addition to our annual events like our Trivia Night and Golf Tournament, we've got some new events for 2011 and we'd love for you to help make it happen!
If you've come to a meeting before (or just thought about it), now is the time to step up! Our next meeting is September 1st at 5:30 PM at the Habitat offices (3763 Forest Park, between Vandeventer and Spring). Hope to see you there! Have any additional questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 23, 2010
Are you interested in taking our construction leadership classes, but Tuesday nights do not work with your schedule? Well, we have answered your prayers. For the first time ever, we will host construction leadership training classes on Saturdays at Forest Park Community College. That is right! In just as little as two Saturdays you can complete all six Habitat construction leadership classes.
Registration is now open! Visit our Construction Leadership page for details on class listing and a link to online registration at Forest Park.
August 23, 2010
HFHSL CEO Kimberly McKinney spoke with KDSK and Art Holliday on Friday. In case you missed it, see the video below!
August 20, 2010
We are happy to welcome our first AmeriCorps VISTA members to Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis! AmeriCorps is a national service program that provides thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to meet critical community needs. Our two VISTA members are Alyssa Curran and Carolyn Amacher.
Alyssa is the AmeriCorps VISTA-In Kind Acquisitions Coordinator. She will work on helping the affiliate to develop a formal commercial in-kind program. Carolyn Amacher is the AmeriCorps VISTA Neighborhood & Grant Outreach Coordinator. She will work on streamlining our grant application and compliance process and developing a neighborhood association in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood. Please welcome them when you see them around the office and at events.
August 16, 2010
Part of the excitement of the ReStore is that you never know exactly what you’re going to find! However, we’re equally excited to now consistently carry two new high-quality products: Amazon Select recycled paint and Tekno-Step laminate flooring.
Tekno-Step is a floating laminate flooring system with glue-less interlocking panels over a thin pad. These 8mm panels are made in Austria and every package reminds you that the contents are “manufactured exclusively from timber which is the product of domestic (Austrian and German) forests managed on the basis of permanent sustainability.” The producers are mindful of the future of your floor as well as their forests. It comes with a 25 year manufacturer guarantee.
The laminate flooring just arrived last Thursday, and by Friday morning several volunteers were already at work installing some of it in a meeting room at the Habitat office. By late afternoon, the space was transformed! Check out photos of our volunteers in action.
The ReStore currently offers Chestnut from the Classics collection at $42 per box (25.802 sq ft). We will reorder based on customer interest, so come in soon to see all the samples and tell us what you think!
August 14, 2010
Did you see Show Me St. Louis last week? In case you missed it, you can check out the video below!
August 13, 2010
Join us Wednesday, August 18th at 6:00 p.m. in the ReStore to learn about rain barrels.
Come by the workshop and you can watch and learn for free, or leave with your very own rain barrel for just $50. We offer pre-made barrels or supply the parts, tools, and assistance for you to make your own. An RSVP is not required to attend the workshop but will help us make sure we’ll have enough supplies to go around. Please email email@example.com with your name and the number of rain barrels you’re interested in.
Want more scoop about rain barrels? Read our blog post about our last rain barrel workshop with more details.
August 13, 2010
Interior Designers and chefs, check this out!
Elizabeth renovated her kitchen for just $500, and used a sink from the ReStore in the process! Read the post on the kitchn, a blog by Apartment Therapy. Make sure you check out the photos too!
August 11, 2010
Thanks to Alive Magazine for including us in the Where We're Needed Now story by Amy DeLa Hunt and Alive's 2010 Charity Guide!
Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis
Thanks to high-profile volunteers from Jimmy Carter to Jimmy Kimmel, you already know Habitat for Humanity builds houses. You probably don’t know much about the local affiliate’s role in revitalizing neighborhoods, keeping construction materials out of landfills thanks to the ReStore and supporting its partner families with workshops on finances, parenting and home maintenance. And though volunteers are a big part of Habitat’s work crews, partner families don’t get homes “for free.” They pay affordable mortgages and contribute a minimum of 350 hours of sweat equity toward their new digs.
Why You’re Needed Now: In their quest to find a home, more than 1,000 families a year apply to Habitat for Humanity St. Louis.
Roll Up Your Sleeves: The crews swinging hammers and paintbrushes are the stars of the photo ops, but Habitat offers plenty of volunteer jobs that won’t leave you paint-speckled and saw-dusty. Be the photographer, work in the ReStore, enter data in the office, provide child care to homebuyers during workshops or serve on a leadership committee—individual opportunities go far beyond construction. Learn more at volunteer orientations August 14 or September 11. Habitat also welcomes groups to get involved through sponsoring a build day, participating in team-building sessions or working in the ReStore or warehouse.
August 10, 2010
Thanks to Tom Bratkowski who sent the letter below to the editor of the Post-Dispatch. It was printed in the August 7th issue of the paper.
North St. Louis doesn't need McKee's plan
As a lifelong resident of Old North St. Louis, I have seen truly remarkable and inspiring events spearheaded by the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance, Habitat for Humanity and many financial backers and volunteers who support these efforts.
On July 29, The Crown Square historic commercial and housing development adjacent to the famous candy and ice cream store was dedicated with the reopening of North 14th Street. Twelve days earlier, the Old North Grocery Store and Cooperative opened just one block away on St. Louis Avenue and North 13th Street. The 13th Street Community Garden is adjacent to the store and is producing locally grown vegetables through the dedication of many volunteers.
A few weeks ago I attended the Phase One completion of seven new homes constructed by the staff and army of volunteers of Habitat for Humanity. These homes are compatible with the existing streetscape. It is an added advantage that the homes will be submitted for the platinum-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification of the U.S. Green Building Council. Habitat's Phase Two of this housing development is underway.
After witnessing many years of deterioration, it has been heart-warming to see these substantial neighborhood investments taking place in just a few months.
The rest of North St. Louis must continue to rebuild based on a model of a close-knit series of mutually supportive neighborhoods where the residents help to plan for their futures one family at a time and one home at a time, together with rebuilding the aesthetic, social, cultural, commercial and recreational institutions that define cohesive urban living.
The massive $8 billion grand plan offered by Paul McKee no doubt will continue to be argued at one judicial level or another for years to come. In the meantime, the many scattered sites and buildings held by Mr. McKee's companies will continue to deteriorate. As I look out my window, I can see a McKee building that is on the verge of collapse.
I don't see any reason for the financially strapped city or the state to support the McKee plan with a gigantic load of tax-increment-financing support and special legislation.
Grass-roots efforts in many neighborhoods, such as those recently pursued in Old North St. Louis, will provide much smaller but very sustainable and interlinked urban development plans.
Tom Bratkowski • St. Louis
August 09, 2010
To ensure our build is successful, we need individual construction volunteers for Saturday, August 14 and August 21! This is an OPEN PLEA! An Open Plea means that we waive the orientation requirement for build days listed as open plea. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old and willing to work a full day. If you are interested, please sign up online today. Please note that some of this work may require heavy lifting and work at elevated heights. For more information, and to sign-up to volunteer visit our Individual Construction Volunteer page. Make sure you read the Q&As for detailed information.
NOTE: ALL construction leadership, including volunteers completing field days for Forest Park, should register to volunteer with Jacinta Witherspoon and NOT via the online system. Thanks and we hope to see you on the build site!
August 03, 2010
Habitat among largest homebuilders in St. Louis
by Rick Desloge - firstname.lastname@example.org
It took a housing bust to create the situation, but Habitat for Humanity now is one of the largest homebuilders in St. Louis.
The nonprofit, which builds homes for the poor, took out 24 of the 72 new home permits issued last year in the city of St. Louis. Through the first six months of this year, Habitat received 17 of the city’s 29 new homebuilding permits.
According to St. Louis Business Journal research, among the 12 largest St. Louis homebuilders surveyed this spring, only six sold more than 24 homes locally last year.
“Last year was a meltdown, but if you’re a builder now, and you’re in business, you’re probably going to stay in business,” said Sean Flower, president of Flower & Fendler Inc. homebuilders, as well as the Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri.
This phenomenon is not just local. Trade publication Builder Magazine placed Habitat at No. 8 in a May report on the homebuilding industry, with 5,294 new homes in 2009 and revenue of $1.4 billion.
Nationwide last year, there were only 554,000 housing starts, according to Builder Magazine. It was only the second time since 1945 that single-family home starts fell below 1 million.
This year Habitat plans to build 30 new homes in the city; 17 of those are under construction in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood near Crown Candy Kitchen and 13 more are planned for the JeffVanderLou neighborhood. Habitat has a goal of building 50 homes a year by 2015.
The organization plans to keep building only new homes, avoiding the kind of rehab projects that some Habitat organizations around the country have done.
Habitat affiliates operate under guidelines from the national organization based in Americus, Ga., but each is responsible for raising its own funding.
For Habitat St. Louis, that means Courtney Simms, director of development for the organization, has to find more sponsors to keep up with increased funding needs.
“We need our corporate, faith-based and individual support to provide the $2.9 million to get the homes built,” Simms said. Habitat has raised about two-thirds of that total so far in 2010.
Simms works with Anheuser-Busch, Commerce Bancshares and dozens of other companies that make donations to Habitat. While the organization uses volunteers and donated time from trade workers to keep costs down, it gives preference to volunteers from sponsor companies.
Those volunteers work alongside homebuyers, who are required to put in 350 hours of sweat equity helping build their homes.
Jeff Campey, who works in purchasing at Anheuser-Busch, and his children had been volunteering with Habitat for eight years, and he became a crew leader on a house when Anheuser-Busch became a corporate sponsor last year. He’s one of four crew leaders at a home in Old North St. Louis who reports to a volunteer house leader on the building project. Since Anheuser-Busch got involved earlier this year, 60 employees have donated their time to help on construction.
“There’s something for anyone who wants to volunteer, even the mechanically challenged,” Campey said. Habitat’s staff inspects the work during the week and prepares a list of tasks for volunteers to tackle when they return.
Habitat also strikes deals with various homebuilders, material suppliers and trade unions to drive down building costs. Habitat St. Louis spends $167,738 to build each home, including material costs, soft costs such as infrastructure improvements, and staff costs, supplies, tools and permits, Simms said.
To keep mortgages affordable for buyers, Habitat discounts the price and gives qualifying homebuyers mortgages with zero interest.
This year the organization’s three-bedroom homes will sell for $132,000 and four-bedroom homes for $138,000, Simms said. The average mortgage payment is $425 a month, including taxes, insurance and a $15 major repair fund.
Habitat sells the mortgages at a discount to CitiMortgage, which services the loans. Habitat then uses proceeds from the sale to build more houses.
The homes are among the more energy efficient available, because the organization does not want to saddle homeowners with unaffordable utility bills, said Kyle Hunsberger, Habitat’s director of construction.
A cluster of homes under construction in Old North St. Louis are all fully insulated and include high efficiency furnaces, tankless water heaters and optional fire sprinkler systems. Where possible, they are made with easily recyclable materials.
“These are 100-year homes,” Hunsberger said while standing under a natural light solar tube in a 1,275-square-foot, three-bedroom house in the neighborhood.
Getting approved to buy one of the homes is a lengthy process. Applicants must have an income in the range of 25 percent to 50 percent of the median income in St. Louis.
For a single person, that translates to earning $14,250 to $23,750. For a family of four, the range is $20,350 to $33,950. In addition buyers are required to attend workshops on finance and budgeting and on home maintenance and repair.
Simms said there’s no shortage of people who want the homes. Habitat takes applications until the number reaches 1,000 then goes to work reviewing and processing the paperwork. Some of the homes under construction this year already have been sold, but at 1,000 applicants for 30 homes, an applicant has a 3 percent chance of being accepted.
August 02, 2010
Set your DVRs now! Show Me St. Louis will be featuring the ReStore on this Friday's episode. Tune in to hear more about going green while helping Habitat. Show Me St. Louis airs at 3PM on KSDK.