Prior to becoming a member of the Board of Directors I learned that Habitat for Humanity Santa Cruz County is an independent and locally operated affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. During the past twenty years volunteers and families have built more than 30 homes in the community. The Habitat program is not a giveaway program. Habitat homes are purchased by families who make a down payment and pay a monthly mortgage. Mortgages are provided to the new homeowner by Habitat for Humanity Santa Cruz County at 0% interest. However, to build new affordable homes in the county, Habitat must purchase suitable properties (or have property donated) and fund the building of the house with upfront money. Habitat can only fund these projects with the support of contributions from people who care to help.

This unique approach to providing affordable homeownership is based on the following:

• Homes are built with mostly volunteer labor
• Homes are built with donated funds
• Homes are constructed with donated materials
• Homes are sold at cost to qualifying families
• Mortgage payments are reinvested to help fund the construction of future Habitat homes

In addition to first time affordable home ownership. Habitat for Humanity Santa Cruz County has an education program whereby partner families attend workshops on budgeting, conflict resolution, home maintenance, repair and landscaping. These workshops aid families to start to acquire the skills that will enable them to establish a foundation upon which they can gain economic stability and build a brighter future for their children.