Closets for a Cause – Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis

Saint Louis Closet Co. is open for business and that means Closets for a Cause is back in action! The next nonprofit who will benefit from our giveback effort will be Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis. All funds raised will go to the nonprofit’s mission support which directly builds Habitat houses.

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis builds homes, community, and hope with the help of the good people in St. Louis who share the belief that everyone deserves a decent place to live.

In this spotlight, we had an opportunity to interview Harper Zielonko, director of resource development at Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis:

What is it like for Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis to be a part of Closets for a Cause?

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis is thrilled to partner with another local organization, Saint Louis Closet Co., throughout May. It is through local partnerships like this that Habitat is able to continue providing opportunities for homeownership to the hardworking families in our program. Together we can continue building hope, building homes, and building communities here in the Greater St. Louis region.

What area will this donation assist in your organization?

In fulfillment of our mission in 2020, we will have 17 homes under construction in two St. Louis neighborhoods, with the possibility of additional builds should time, funding, and permitting allow. We are also planning a total of seven two-story homes in The Gate District. We will begin construction on three homes in early spring, with two to follow in summer, and the final two homes will begin construction in fall. We expect all of these homes to close in 2021.

How long has Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis been in St. Louis?

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis was established in 1986, so just under 35 years.

Can you expand on the work that your organization provides?

We build safe, affordable housing for first-time homebuyers who are currently living in substandard housing conditions. Half of renters in the St. Louis region are cost burdened and too many people in our community spend a disproportionate amount of their income on rent, leaving little left over for childcare, medical needs, and education. Statistics show that more than half of all St. Louis rental units are occupied by people who pay more than 30% of their income toward rent. They may live in overcrowded, unhealthy, and often dangerous conditions. It’s no wonder that we receive over 5,000 calls a year from people interested in homeownership.

What is the most gratifying part of your job?

Seeing a homeowner sign the papers on their affordable mortgage and knowing they own a home. A home that will provide them with the financial security and access to the economic mobility everyone deserves. Each of these homes will provide a new beginning for families in our community struggling to make ends meet. Affordable, permanent housing is a pivotal first step toward greater economic and social stability, which benefits us all. It’s truly the most gratifying thing Habitat can be a part of.

How many people does Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis help a year?

We anticipate closing on 17 houses this year, providing direct housing to 60+ people. We will also provide education and financial literacy classes to over 100 people throughout the year.

Is there anything you would like to add?

A common misconception about Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis is that we give away homes. Habitat does not give homes away for free. In addition to paying an affordable mortgage, our partner families put in 350 sweat equity hours on the build sites and in our ReStores, go through an extensive financial literacy and home maintenance class, and their children have access to tutoring and college prep programming. Our partner families work so hard for this opportunity and it’s an honor to work alongside them.

The biggest kicker to take away is that any money donated to HABITAT SAINT LOUIS, will STAY HERE IN ST. LOUIS. None of the funds we receive are ever sent to our parent company (HFHI). We receive less than 5% of funding from HFHI, so to build locally we need folks to donate locally.

Thanks for sharing, Harper!

Closets for a Cause

Each month, a percentage of our gross sales will be donated to a local charity. Through Closets for a Cause so far, Saint Louis Closet Co. has donated a combined total of over $6,600 to Stray Rescue of St. Louis and the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis. Follow us on social media @stlouisclosetco and sign up for our newsletter to follow along with each month’s charity!

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