The primary method of ministry for most of Lexington Habitat for Humanity's history has been partnering with families in need of decent housing to build a new home.
Our vision is that everyone has a decent place to live. We do that by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.
One of the things we have learned in 28 years of ministry is that a decent place to live is not limited to the structure. It includes the street, the neighborhood and the community as a whole. Having a decent place to live includes safety, affordability, health, relationships, happiness and hope.
When we say everyone should have a decent place to live, we mean everyone. Last year we moved beyond strictly homeownership and began serving our community with Love Your Neighborhood projects, including street clean-ups which improve visibility and therefore safety.
Home preservation projects include clean-up, but also minor exterior repairs, which improve the safety and quality of the homes. Critical home repairs are on the horizon to offer homeowners help with structural issues affecting safety, health and energy efficiency.
When someone asks how many houses we have "built," our response is that we have served:
■ More than 400 families with homeownership.
■ 30 families with home preservation.
■ A family with critical home repair.
■ Hundreds of families with neighborhood clean-up.
■ Thousands of families by providing referrals to other services
■ Tens of thousands of people who buy low cost goods at our ReStore.
■ Tens of thousands of people by providing volunteers with a way to improve and serve their community
■ The entire city by working to make it a better place to live through our direct housing ministries, but also by the infusion of millions of dollars in products and services and hundreds of thousands of property tax dollars paid every year by our home buyers.
Everyone is not limited to Lexington. On World Habitat Day, the first Monday of October, Habitat for Humanity International joins the United Nations and organizations around the world in raising awareness, educating and mobilizing individuals and communities to take action on the current global housing crisis. Housing is central to ending the cycle of poverty.
Today, 1.6 billion people live in inadequate shelter around the world; about one in four live in conditions that harm their health, safety, prosperity and opportunities. Estimates are that an additional 3 billion people, about 40 percent of the world's population, will need access to housing by 2030.
This translates into a demand for 96,150 new affordable units every day, 4,000 every hour. Lexington Habitat for Humanity also responds to international needs and has served 325 families outside the United States by tithing more than $1 million to support Habitat International's global housing ministries.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells us to love our neighbors and that our neighbors are anyone in need. And every one of us is in need. We learn about those needs by building relationships. We meet those needs by loving each other in the unique way that each of us is called.
At Habitat for Humanity, we love our neighbors by working to ensure that everyone has a decent place to live. That is why we bring people together not just to build a house but to clean up streets, repair homes, divert usable materials from the landfill and create a positive impact in our community.
We have been able to serve Lexington because this community is compassionate and generous. Thank you for joining us on this journey.