For the last thirteen years, Joe Van Gogh has raised money for local Habitat for Humanity affiliates (Wake, Orange, and Durham counties in North Carolina) with our seasonal Home for the Holidays blend (donating 50¢ from every 12oz bag sold).
Habitat for Humanity of Durham’s mission is to bring people together to build communities, homes, and hope. Since 1985, they have helped more than 400 families in Durham achieve their homeownership goals. But the Triangle has experienced a period of rapid growth, which means turning Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has an affordable place to live into a reality has not been without challenges.
“Affordable housing is a growing issue everywhere, but in Durham especially as some of these larger businesses and companies move in,” says Lindsay Tomlinson, Director of Development & Advancement at Habitat for Humanity in Durham, NC. “It’s a very strange dichotomy to see some of our existing Habitat homes right beside million dollar homes.”
Communities aren’t made of buildings, though. They are made of the people who live in them—and finishing building a home and handing the keys to a new owner isn’t the end of the process. For many, it’s just the beginning.
“Since we're not focusing on just one home, we're building a whole neighborhood out of the ground from scratch,” Tomlinson explains. “So we have put educational tools in place for all of our homeowners to learn financial literacy, simple repairs, conflict resolution… services [like our Good Neighbors program or the Critical Repairs program] that connect neighbors in a way Durham Habitat hasn’t before.”
Beyond building physical solutions, Habitat is also working on solving some of the underlying systemic issues that have made affordable housing unattainable for so many in Durham, such as redlining or exclusionary zoning. They advocate for anti-racist housing and land-use policies at the local, state and federal levels with the goal of increased racial equity in homeownership.
“Homeownership is a way to help level the playing field and help folks who have historically not been able to purchase a home be able to build wealth for future generations,” Tomlinson says. “We’re also looking at ways to get rid of certain deed restrictions and being able to provide tools for homeowners to have wills put into place so that they are able to pass this wealth off to the next generation.”