Habitat USA and Habitat International are ecumenical Christian housing ministries that seek to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness worldwide. Everywhere we work, Habitat builds new relationships and a sense of community as well as new housing. Habitat also improves the local community by putting property back on the tax rolls and by adding life to older neighborhoods Through volunteer labor, careful management, and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent homes so they are affordable for low-income families currently living in substandard housing. Houses are sold to these partner families at cost, through no-interest mortgages. Each family's house payments go into a revolving fund to help pay for the construction of other houses. Construction of Habitat homes is a cooperative effort between volunteers and the future homeowners. This reduces the cost of the home, increases the pride of ownership, and fosters the development of positive relationships.
Our University's Chapter works with the Champaign County Chapter of Habitat to end poverty housing right here in Champaign. Since starting in 1992, the students have sponsored and helped complete approximately 17 houses. When not working on a house, the students fundraise and plan events and volunteer projects to connect with local Habitat families, and raise awareness about poverty housing. During spring break we also send trips to different states to build with Habitat.
MEET OUR CURRENT PARTNER FAMILY
For the past four years, Tiffini Young has worked at Carle Hospital as a Certified Medical Assistant in the Pediatric Special Needs department, a job that she enjoys since she loves being around kids. It was at Carle that Tiffini first found out about Habitat for Humanity, through a co-worker who was a Habitat homeowner herself. With the encouragement of her friends, family, and coworkers, Tiffini applied to the Habitat program and was soon accepted.
When Tiffini was in the 4th grade she moved to Rantoul from the Chicago suburbs and that is where she currently lives with her four children, ages 11, 6, 5 and 4. When asked about her kids she describes them as “pretty cool”, “a class clown”, “bossy…thinks she is Mom #2”, and “super sweet.” She has enjoyed raising her children in Rantoul, but Tiffini is looking forward to purchasing her new Habitat home in Urbana where she will be so close to her work. She is excited to make the transition from renter to home owner, saying “I have always rented, since I was old enough to start renting places on my own. The kids and I are very excited to have a home of our own.”
Along with being a mom and working full-time Tiffini is also a second-year student at Parkland College. She has very little free time but when she does, Tiffini likes to spend quality time with her family, friends, and kids. When asked about who she would invite to the first dinner at her new house, Tiffini would choose to invite her parents and co-workers, who have been her cheerleaders, motivating and encouraging her throughout the Habitat process.
Says Tiffini “I greatly appreciate everything that everyone (friends, volunteers, sponsors) has done, and will continue to do to help me and my family. We greatly appreciate it and we are going to enjoy this experience. I did not really realize before how much time people take out of their lives to help us build. It really is a wonderful opportunity!”
Habitat grew out of the dedication of two visionary men: the late Clarence Jordan, founder of Koinonia Farm, a cooperative community; and Millard Fuller, a young millionaire who decided to give away his fortune and spend his life in Christian service. Together they recognized the desperate need for decent housing among the poor of southwestern Georgia and envisioned the partnership that became Habitat for Humanity International. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has grown rapidly and now includes more than 1400 U.S. affiliates in Habitat USA and over 100 projects in 30 other countries sponsored by Habitat International. Over 100,000 Habitat houses have been built. In December 1991, Habitat for Humanity of Champaign and Piatt Counties (HHCPC) became an official affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Our UIUC Student Chapter began that Spring of 1992, and became an official chapter with Habitat for Humanity International in March of 1993.