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Luke Ferris

Seeking to put God's love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

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Luke Ferris

Luke Ferris

Stories change the world and change lives. As the Habitat for Humanity of Kent County Communications Specialist I desire to share these powerful stories with you. 

Zhelle and Edward Baker were lost. Drug addiction and unalterable external circumstances left them in poor housing conditions. These conditions impacted their family by being unable to thrive and barley survive. The Bakers began to make positive changes in their lives to alter their poor living conditions. These decisions included applying for homeownership at Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. Unfortunately, the Bakers were denied from the program because their total income was too large. Yet they continued to press on in hopes of a better future. Then it happened. Edward Baker had a stroke and was unable to work. How could Zhelle provide for their family and find a stable and safe place to live? They decided to apply for homeownership with Habitat Kent again and were accepted. But the Baker's unstoppable determination would be needed throughout the build process and into homeownership. Discover the rest of the Baker's journey in the video above as we congratulate them as the 2014 Homeowners of the Year. 

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         When Haiti was struck by an earthquake in 2010, 1.6 million people were displaced from their homes and many families began to build homes on vacant land north of Port-au-Prince. That's where Habitat for Humanity came in. To assist these families, Habitat Haiti developed manuals to help them navigate Haiti’s land tenure laws and gain clear title to their homes. 

        Habitat for Humanity of Kent County will celebrate reaching $1 million of cumulative giving to international housing and relief work with a visit from Claude Jeudy, national director of Habitat for Humanity of Haiti.

        More than 30 local churches, organizations and businesses that do work in Haiti have been invited to participate in the celebration, which will take place 4:30 to 6 p.m. April 19 at Roosevelt Park Community CRC, 811 Chicago Drive SW. The event is free and open to the public. Jeudy, who has devoted his career to economic development in Haiti, will speak at 4:30 p.m. Under his leadership, Habitat Haiti has served more than 50,000 families.

        As part of its covenant with Habitat for Humanity International, each of the approximately 1,500 Habitat for Humanity local affiliate organizations throughout the United States and Canada tithe a portion of the unrestricted donations they receive to support one of Habitat for Humanity’s 70 international affiliates. After 32 years, Habitat Kent is the first Michigan affiliate to provide more than $1 million in support of affordable housing throughout the developing world. The donations equate to 300 homes for low-income families throughout the world, many of which are living in extreme poverty.

         In addition to operating under the familiar Habitat for Humanity model of enabling homeownership for low-income families, Habitat Haiti offers innovative programs that are tied very closely to the community’s needs. These unique challenges include high unemployment, gender inequity and navigating the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that occurred in 2010.

        Haiti’s unemployment rate is estimated at over 40 percent. To stimulate the country’s economy, Habitat Haiti employs and pays wages to would-be volunteers, who build more than houses. Habitat Haiti also performs a broad scope of work to improve the infrastructure of the neighborhoods in which it works such as digging drainage ditches and wells to ensure a community has clean water.

         Habitat Haiti also recognizes the complicated relationship between gender equality and economic development. The affiliate has equipped 2,000 women in Haiti in small business development and home maintenance. Habitat Haiti also assembles and gives out tool kits to families that have skills but lack the resources to improve their own housing.

Join the Facebook event at: http://on.fb.me/1arskUX

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          I can remember being a young teenager raking leaves in my parents backyard with my brother. It was a cool fall Saturday and once again I was doing chores instead of what I wanted to do—watch football. But we made the most of the chore time and talked about our lives while making leaf piles across the yard.I still remember my brother pouring out to me all of his dreams of being in the military. He shared how he wanted to be in the Navy and to be in a special forces unit. Unlike most high school sophomores, my brother's dreams weren't wishful thinking. Somehow in his voice and demeanor I knew he was going to make it. From that Saturday onward my brother's determination never altered. After more than 7 years of applications, military school, injuries, tribulations, and challenges my brother is currently beginning his deployment with a special forces unit in the Navy. I couldn't be more proud of him. He overcame obstacles to reach his goal, not for his self-glorification, but to save American lives and lead men courageously. In honor of my brother I'm giving to our Habitat Veteran Build. The Habitat volunteers and veterans show the same determination I see in my brother. I want to honor my brother by helping his fellow servicemen. 

You can donate in honor or memory of a serviceman or veteran at: https://habitatkent41685.thankyou4caring.org/donate

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HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF KENT COUNTY

CONTACT US
616-774-2431
425 Pleasant Street SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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