As a valued member of our Habitat Saint Louis community, I want to personally share with you some very big news.
A few months ago, I let you know that Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis had listed its headquarters building at 3763 Forest Park Avenue. Today, I wanted you to be among the first to know that the building has been sold!
Here you will find a press release which explains the sale of this property. It was a decision many months in the making. We carefully considered all offers submitted so that we could make the most of the strong commercial real estate market and leverage this valuable asset. The offer we accepted empowers us to further our mission and continue building much-needed affordable housing in our community.
The money we will receive from the sale of the building is not a windfall. While it certainly puts us in a better position to grow as an organization, it is not a substitute for your continued investment in our mission. Every year, more than 5,000 people call us looking for a way out of substandard, overcrowded, overpriced housing…and how many of those people we can help is directly tied to the support we receive from friends like you. Please continue to share generously with Habitat Saint Louis so that we may, in turn, help hardworking, low-income families gain greater stability by building and then purchasing a home they can afford.
The new owner of the building has graciously allowed us to rent the property for up to a year while we relocate all aspects of our operations including the ReStore, the construction warehouse and, of course, our administrative offices…so for now, it’s business – or, in our case, mission - as usual! I will continue to keep you updated through Habitat Happenings and via email as our plans progress.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 314-371-0400. Thank you for your faithful support and for sharing our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Whether you have held a hammer on the build site, wielded a pen to write a check and make a financial contribution - perhaps even both -- Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis would not exist without you! Today, I am asking you to help us with another valuable resource – your voice.
State Senator Andrew Koenig of the 15th District has introduced Senate Bill 285, which would modify the Neighborhood Assistance Act by changing the cap on the Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credits and by repealing the Development Tax Credit. Additionally, the Affordable Housing Tax credit cap for investments in affordable housing activities would be reduced from $10 million to $7 million per fiscal year. The Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit cap would be reduced from $16 million to just $5 million per fiscal year. (Sections 32.100 to 32.125)
What does this mean for Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis?
Frankly, it could be catastrophic.
Our organization benefits greatly from our participation in the AHAP tax credit program, which allows donors who make qualified contributions to our organization to receive a significant tax liability benefit in exchange for their generosity. It encourages donors to give a larger contributions and gives Habitat Saint Louis an extremely effective incentive to present to donors who have significant tax liabilities. As an example, AHAP tax credits supported the startup, full rent and related expenses for operating ReStore Des Peres – an invaluable income stream for Habitat Saint Louis as well as a resource for affordable building materials for the DesPeres community. Just last year, ReStore Des Peres took in more than 5,000 donations and diverted 6,000 tons of usable materials from landfills. The facility provides full-time employment for 10 people. Imagine if those tax credits hadn’t been available to make the dream of ReStore Des Peres a reality. Over the past three years, tax credit allocations of almost 2.5 million have supported $4 million in donations to Habitat Saint Louis. We rely on the program for much needed funding to build housing for deserving, hardworking, local families who simply want to raise their families in a safe place they can afford.
Contrary to popular belief, Habitat Saint Louis isn’t rolling in money.
In fact, we run a very tight ship, with 86 cents of every dollar going directly to program costs, and just 14 cents going to administrative and fundraising costs. Part of the reason we are so effective in keeping costs down is because we have been able to leverage the AHAP tax credit program to encourage larger donations from qualified donors. We cannot lose this resource and continue to build as many homes in our community.
We need these tax credits…the families who turn to us for hope need them, too.
I am sharing all of this with you because you can help. Please use your voice to tell your State Senator how vitally important these tax credits are in creating affordable housing for families teetering on the brink of poverty. If you are not sure how to contact your Senate representative, please click on this link to locate your Senator and his or her contact information.
Regardless of how you contact your State Senator, we are deeply grateful to you for using your voice to help us preserve this much needed source of income, which benefits affordable housing in our region. If you do contact your Senator, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the date of your contact and the method (phone, email, letter, etc.).
People are what make Habitat Saint Louis a life-changing resource for low-income families seeking opportunity for greater social and financial stability through affordable homeownership. Thank you for your careful consideration of my request. And please – if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Chief Executive Officer
Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis
As 2016 comes to an end, we’d like to look back at some of our favorite moments that happened, on and off the build site!
10. Maintenance Reviews and Maintenance Refresher workshops began for all of our homeowners. Habitat Saint Louis’ construction crews are meeting with homebuyers before their 1 year anniversary of closing to go discuss maintenance information. Each homeowner does a 2 hour walk through of their home with construction before closing to go over how everything works -- HVAC, plumbing, electric, windows, cleaning, and overall maintenance of systems.
9. We had another great Executive Build day where many executives had the chance to build a house and build their business contacts, too. For those who are not familiar with our Executive Build, it is a unique build day opportunity for CEOs and other executive-level business associates to join together to build lasting connections while helping build a stronger St. Louis community. We’re already looking forward to 2017’s Executive Build day!
8. Hop House was such a great 3rd party fundraiser during St. Louis Craft Beer Week! Partnering with Stay Connected, Saint Louis Hop Shop, Rockwell Beer Co., Earthbound Beer and Byrd & Barrel to raise awareness about the importance of safe, affordable housing was a blast. Add the delicious beer and food, what more could you ask for?
7. Kurt and Brenda Warner helping two of our deserving homebuyers get a completely decked out home before Christmas was amazing. We’d so grateful to keep partnering with the Warner’s and we’re thankful they still think of St. Louis as part of their home.
6. Our Volunteer Appreciation lunch at Element was so much fun! Honoring all of our dedicated volunteers to a delicious meal, while learning more about them was a heartfelt moment for sure.
5. This September, homebuyer Sharon completed her 30-year mortgage five years ahead of schedule! She's never missed a payment, nor was she ever late. Hearing how becoming a homeowner impacted her life and her family’s life gives all of us here at Habitat Saint Louis warm and fuzzy feelings.
4. We had an amazing time at Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria for their Giveback Tuesday event this past month! Each month, Katie’s Pizza & Pasta donates 100% of their profits to a charity of their choice. We’re so grateful to have partnered with them and even more grateful that Home Buy Design matched Katie’s donation!
3. Ground breaking in Hazelwood, Missouri definitely was a memorable moment in 2016. We’re so excited to be building in Hazelwood for the first time and look forward to building more homes in the Hazelwood community come 2017.
2. KMOV Home 4 The Holidays was another one of our favorite events of 2016! We were blessed with great weather and amazing partners to help build homebuyer, Fornisha, and her family a new home in 10 days. Yes, in just 10 days, we built a home. How amazing is that?!
1. Turning 30 years old was a wonderful moment and achievement for us in 2016! Many of us here at Habitat Saint Louis think about all the families (almost 400), all the volunteers (thousands upon thousands), and all the amazing donors who have kept the dream of affordable housing and community activism alive in St. Louis.
We hope you had a great 2016 and we hope your 2017 is even better!
Last September, Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis welcomed a new AmeriCorps member, Jenny, to the team. After a year of hard work and service, Jenny shared her experience about working with HFHSL.
HFHSL: What made you decide to join the AmeriCorps, and more specifically, why did you choose Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis?
Jenny: AmeriCorps was something new to me. I was actually making a move to the area and was looking for a change in professions. After some searching in the area for positions in non-profit I came across AmeriCorps. I needed to do a bit of research on what AmeriCorps was and in that process found a position at Habitat Saint Louis. It sounded like a great opportunity for something new!
HFHSL: Have you ever volunteered with HFHSL before your AmeriCorps service?
Jenny: I have never volunteered with Habitat anywhere before but had always wanted to have the experience.
HFHSL: What was one of the most challenging experiences you faced during your service with HFHSL?
Jenny: I would have to say the biggest challenge was doing tasks that I never thought I could do. I came to Habitat STL with no construction experience. It took time to learn how the construction site operates and to feel confident that I was capable of any of the tasks at hand. I also wanted to make sure tasks were done correctly. For example, I was asked to cut some 2x4 material that was overhanging in the stairwell with a reciprocating saw. The challenge for me was doing so without cutting a floor joist (very important not to cut!) while also being on a ladder. I tried to let someone more experienced handle the tasks but they challenged to do it myself, and I did! It can be easy to get in your own way when trying something new.
HFHSL: What was one of the most rewarding experiences you faced?
Jenny: I would have to say the most rewarding experience was having a family build day at Fox Haven. I was able to have my family come out and enjoy the Habitat experience. The best part was they got to work alongside our homebuyer. It was important to me that they met her, got to know her, and worked alongside her that day. They loved hearing her story and valued being able to work on the house for her family. They still asked how she is doing and hope that the baseboards and flooring they installed are still holding up!
HFHSL: What will you miss the most about being active on the build site?
Jenny: I am really going to miss the awesome volunteers that I had the pleasure of getting to know and learn from onsite every day! It was fun to both teach and learn from our volunteers and share in their experience of Habitat. I plan on continuing to volunteer when I can so hopefully I won’t miss it too much!
HFHSL: What advice would you give to future AmeriCorps volunteers with HFHSL?
Jenny: My best piece of advice is to be an open book. There is so much information and skills to learn if you really want to. That also applies to all the volunteers and staff that you will work with as well. Everyone has something to share and it will truly make a difference in your experience if you make the time to listen.
HFHSL: What role did your tenure as an AmeriCorp volunteer play in your professional development?
Jenny: This experience was very important to my development, both personally and professionally. AmeriCorps gave me the opportunity to try something totally different than I’ve ever done before. But it also offered an opportunity to apply the skills I did have in a very different setting. This experience also opened my frame of thinking and the possibility of how to use the skills I learned on the job site in any area of my life. I think this experience of also giving my time and service is something everyone should take advantage of at some time in their professional journey.
HFHSL: So, what's next?
Jenny: As my term was coming to an end I was really hoping to find a way to continue working with Habitat Saint Louis. I really considered a 2nd term with AmeriCorps as well. Luckily, there was a position open in the Family Services Department. After some discussion with staff it looked like a great fit for me and the previous experiences I had had before AmeriCorps. I started in August and am well on my way to learning more about the wonderful families that we are able to help through our mission at Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis.
Whether it’s at your home or at the office, saving electricity and cutting the cost of energy just makes sense. Here’s 13 ways to shrink your carbon footprint and expand long-term savings from the Electrical Connection.
1. Start at the Beginning: Get an Energy Audit
You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so select an Electrical Connection member to visit your home or workplace and develop an energy-use profile. Learn where you are using energy inefficiently, potential solutions and your projected payback period for investing in energy-saving steps or products.
2. Office or Home: Lighten Your Lighting Load
In a typical office building, lighting accounts for up to 40% of the energy consumed and greatly adds to heat load. In a home, it accounts for about 10% of energy consumption. Many businesses still use T12 fluorescent lamps even though new T5 and T8 fixtures create the same amount of light with up to 30% less energy. New residential lighting technologies, such as light emitting diode (LED), can cut energy use by up to 75%. Of any energy-use renovation, lighting equipment upgrades produce the fastest payback – typically less than three years.
3. When The Party’s Over, Turn Out The Lights
Turn off incandescent lighting whenever a space is not in use. If a space is not being used for 15 minutes or more, turn off fluorescent lighting. If it will be used sooner, leave fluorescent lights on.
4. Have Energy Star Appliances Play A Leading Role
In the typical home, powering major appliances, media equipment and miscellaneous smaller plug-ins account for roughly 20% of the energy bill. To cut costs, invest in Energy Star-rated appliances, which are a minimum of 15% more energy-efficient than conventional models.
5. Look Into LED Lighting
While light emitting diode (LED) technology, which uses microchips to create illumination, is not totally new (think digital watches) it is relatively new to task and environmental lighting. Since LED (and even-newer organic LED) fixtures can produce up to five times more lumens per watt than incandescent bulbs, LED is finding its way into under-cabinet kitchen and shelf-mounted lighting, task lighting, recessed can light and outdoor pathway lighting.
6. Schedule Some Time With A Programmable Thermostat
Set your thermostat back 15° for eight hours and you are likely to cut your annual heating/cooling bill by up to 15%. A programmable thermostat can do it automatically on a pre-set schedule – while you sleep or while your home is vacant during the work week. And, don’t believe the tale that setting the thermostat back makes your heating/cooling unit work harder when it is re-engaged, negating energy savings. Actually, when your home drops below its “normal” operating temperature, it loses energy to the outdoors more slowly in winter, gains energy from it more slowly in summer.
7. Monitor Your Personal Computer
The fact is that when a computer starts up the initial energy surge is less than the energy used when the computer is left on for extended periods. If you won’t be using your PC for 20 minutes, darken the monitor. If you’re not computing for two hours, turn off both the monitor and the CPU. The on-off action will not shorten the life of the PC.
8. Wrap Your Home In An Energy Shield
Keep the heating/cooling energy you are paying for inside by sealing it from the ambient air outside. Caulk, weather strip, insulate and air-seal with thermal-break windows and insulated doors to curtail drafts. Optimize results by paying attention to moisture control and ventilation.
9. Heat Pump Perks
In moderate climates, heat pumps are an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Because they move heat rather than generate it, heat pumps provide up to four times the amount of energy they consume. If you heat with electricity, a high-efficiency heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use in winter by up to 40%.
10. Plant Trees With Purpose
To block solar heat in the summer but let much of it pass in the winter, plant deciduous trees adjacent to your home. To create continuous shade or block wind, plant dense evergreens. Tree shading and evapotranspiration (how a plant moves and releases water vapor) can reduce surrounding air temperatures by as much as 9°. Also, shade your air conditioner and boost its efficiency by up to 10%.
11. Give Your Home Systems A Break, Too
Before leaving for vacation, unplug “energy vampire” appliances that even when turned off still suck electricity. Likely candidates are your coffee maker, media and computing equipment and rechargeable toothbrush. All told, energy vampires drain an estimated 1/12th of the average household’s annual electric budget. Other tips: set thermostats beyond normal range; turn off lights; turn down the water heater; and, especially in summer, draw shades to minimize heat gain.
12. Go Solar – Home or Office
Solar isn’t science fiction anymore. Manufacturing efficiencies combined with emerging technologies such as thin-film, make solar photovoltaic (turns sunlight into electricity) and solar thermal (sunlight heats water) systems increasingly cost-competitive with traditional installations over the long term.
13. Get The $$$ You Deserve
State and federal government wants to reward you or your business for being energy savvy. There’s an array of renewable energy tax credits, tax deductions, investment incentives, purchase rebates and the like. Capitalize on the financial assistance you’ve earned.
To learn more, visit electricalconnection.org.
On behalf of the Home Builders Charitable Foundation (HBCF), 2016 HBA President Kim Hibbs of Hibbs Homes presented a $15,000 donation to Harper Zielonko, development relationship manager for Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis (HFHSL).
The donation will be used to support Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis’ 2016 build program. The funding will play an integral role in helping HFHSL reach its goal of building and rehabbing 26 homes throughout St. Louis City and County. HFHSL is constructing 17 new homes in the north St. Louis City subdivision of Lookaway Summit and five new homes are under construction in Hazelwood. HFHSL will finish its building season by rehabbing four properties throughout St. Louis County.
The HBA is a local trade association of nearly 600 member firms representing the residential construction industry. The Home Builders Charitable Foundation, the HBA’s charitable arm, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing assistance to people or organizations with special shelter needs.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis (HFHSL) is a winner of their 2016 Indoor airPLUS Leader Award!
Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis is being awarded the Indoor airPLUS Leader Award for the second year in a row. Previously awarded as a small builder, HFHSL is the first recipient in the new Affordable Builder category. HFHSL has been a strong advocate for improved indoor air quality for many years and regularly provides education and training to the volunteers and organizations that work on their homes. Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis also highlights their Indoor airPLUS partnership by displaying the program logo on signage and collateral materials at special events and by participating in conference presentations describing their construction process.
The EPA created Indoor airPLUS to help builders meet the growing consumer preference for homes with improved indoor air quality. Indoor airPLUS builds on the foundation of EPA's ENERGY STAR requirements for new homes and provides additional construction specifications to provide comprehensive indoor air quality protections in new homes.
"We are very honored to receive this award because it validates the commitment our affiliate has to building the best home possible in partnership with our homebuyers and volunteers," said Kyle Hunsburger, Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis' Director of Construction.
Construction specifications include the careful selection and installation of moisture control systems; heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems; combustion-venting systems; radon resistant construction; and low-emitting building materials.
A builder must first design a home to earn the ENERGY STAR label — the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. The result is a home that is significantly more energy efficient than a home built to minimum code, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To earn the Indoor airPLUS label, the builder then adds additional home design and construction features to help protect qualified homes from moisture and mold, pests, combustion gases, and other airborne pollutants. Before the home officially earns the Indoor airPLUS label, it is inspected by an independent third-party to ensure compliance with EPA’s rigorous guidelines and specifications.
To learn more about the 2016 Indoor airPLUS Leader Awards or the Indoor airPLUS Program, click here.
Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis has announced that it is publicly listing its property and buildings for sale as of Monday, July 11, 2016. Newmark Grubb Zimmer has been retained as a broker agent.
The property is located at 3763 Forest Park Avenue in St. Louis. It sits on 1.5 acres and consists of multiple buildings ranging in size from 10,750 SF +/- to 25,600 SF +/- with a total of 52k +/- SF and 342 +/- feet of Forest Park Avenue frontage. The property houses Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis’ Administrative Offices, ReStore Forest Park and a Construction Warehouse. It is just east of the Cortex Innovation Community and Washington University Medical Center complex and across from IKEA.
Newmark Grubb Zimmer has set a 30-day call for offers (with no list price) ending Friday, August 12, 2016. The listing does not obligate Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis to sell.
Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis Chief Executive Officer, Kimberly McKinney offered, “In a continued effort to be good stewards of the organization's assets (whether that asset is a donation or, in this case, our building), Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis is exploring a relocation that would allow the organization to maximize the value of real estate occupied since 2002 in order to further our mission to provide decent and affordable housing. All Habitat Saint Louis functions currently operating on Forest Park Avenue - the ReStore, the Construction Warehouse and the Administrative Offices - will continue to operate during this time of due diligence. If a relocation is deemed to be appropriate, all three functions will continue to operate in a new location.”
“Given the exciting, new commercial development around us, we have an obligation and responsibility to move forward and determine what our assets are worth,” emphasized Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis Board President, Marc Hirshman.
Mike Carlson, Executive Managing Director-Principal of Newmark Grubb Zimmer added, “Habitat for Humanity’s current site, being right on Forest Park Parkway, is truly the last premier redevelopment site in the corridor that connects BJC to SLU. Then of course, in between you have CORTEX, the CWE and IKEA. This is the hottest area in St. Louis for multifamily and commercial real estate in general. We expect extremely high interest from possible buyers.”
For media inquiries, please email Maxine Goldstein or by phone at 314-578-1719. Questions regarding the listing should be directed to Mike Carlson at Newmark Grubb Zimmer, firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-628-0438.
Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis (HFHSL) is a not-for-profit, ecumenical housing ministry working in partnership with individuals and communities of all faiths to improve housing conditions and provide safe, decent and affordable housing in St. Louis City and County. With nearly 400 homes already built or rehabbed, HFHSL is one of the leading housing developers in St. Louis. HFHSL regularly ranks among the top Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the country. HFHSL donors, volunteers, and partner families work side-by-side to build or rehab homes ensuring that every deserving family in St. Louis has a decent place to live.
In addition to a down payment and a 30-year affordable mortgage, each HFHSL homebuyer invests 350 sweat-equity volunteer hours into building or rehabbing a home and attending life skills classes. Homeowners are teachers, healthcare providers and returning college students determined to achieve homeownership and create a legacy for their families.
HFHSL’s two ReStores sell new and reusable construction and home remodeling supplies. The mission of the ReStore is to provide additional financial resources to HFHSL; expand opportunities to serve a broader base of the community by providing low-cost materials; and provide good stewardship of sustainable resources within the St. Louis MSA.
Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis: Building Homes, Building Hope, Building St. Louis.
For a PDF version, click here.
Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis' architect is retiring, again!
After decades of a successful career in architecture, Art Stauder did the remarkable - he opted to start a second career. For the past 15 years, Art has faithfully served Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis (HFHSL) by generously volunteering his time and skills to design attractive, affordable, and sustainable homes for deserving families.
Art has logged more than 12,000 volunteer hours and his drive and concern for ending substandard housing (homes that are unsafe and unhealthy for residents) has resulted in his direct involvement in the construction of more than 280 homes for hard-working families residing in the greater Saint Louis area.
Art began volunteering with HFHSL as a Construction Committee member before taking on the position of Volunteer Staff Architect in 2000. Art’s role at HFHSL is a vital one - he is the only architect in the organization. Every blue print and every house plan for the past decade and a half have been a product of Art’s unwavering commitment to transforming our community.
He designs each home with the family’s best interest at heart – from making sure that our green building techniques help our families save money to creating simple, yet beautiful designs that complement the architectural styles of the neighborhoods in which they will be built.
Throughout the years, the ability to grow the reach of our organization’s mission and adapt to changing industry standards has been possible because of Art’s continued support and vision. He does everything with our partner families in mind. Each blue print is hand drawn (that's right! Art does not use a computer) with incredible precision and detail so that homebuyers and volunteers on the construction site can easily follow the plans when they are building the home.
Art has helped our organization provide no-profit mortgages to first time homebuyers by designing homes that are cost effective, energy efficient, and volunteer-friendly to build. Since 2008, he has designed the houses to be built to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum standard; incorporating green attributes that reduce utility and maintenance costs for our homebuyers.
Additionally, the house designs meet the EPA’s Energy Star and Indoor airPlus requirements, reducing indoor air pollutants, allergens, and contaminants which has helped many of our homebuyers reduce their medical costs.
Art’s work and dedication to HFHSL are an extension of his faith and family values. Through his volunteer service, Art has helped transform our community, strengthen the local economy, and ensure future generations have the opportunities they deserve.
We have been so fortunate to know Art. And we are so grateful for the impact he has had on St. Louis neighborhoods and families. He has forever left his mark on the landscape of the city and on our hearts.
We will miss you Art!