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.
This Year's Partner Family Is The Elmore Family!
Crystal Elmore loves living in Champaign County, where she has lived for over 21 years and raised four wonderful children. While being a mother of four doesn’t often mean much free time, Crystal does carve out some time to watch renovation and interior design shows, and she loves “the peace” that being at home, surrounded by her family, offers. Crystal holds home daycare and foster-care licenses, and as a licensed esthetician and nail tech, Crystal likes to spend time practicing and developing her craft.
Crystal was motivated to apply to be a Habitat homeowner after her sister built and moved into her own Habitat home in Georgia. She saw being a Habitat homeowner as an opportunity to “build self-esteem, self-worth, and a sense of belonging.” Crystal is excited to have her mom, sister, and children over to her new home for dinner, since her family has witnessed her past struggles, and they know that owning a home has been a dream of Crystal’s since her dad’s passing. “This was the last family discussion before his passing---my dad owned homes and buildings, and he used to wake us up some mornings extremely early to take us to help him do things like paint, lay flooring, and change door knobs. As our family gathered for my father’s last time, his words were ‘If I can’t get through to all of you, I hope I get through to one or two of you….own your own home!’
Crystal is hoping that her children see and experience first-hand what good can come from being persistent, determined, dedicated, and hard-working. “I hope that it (being a Habitat homeowner) instills within them and motivates them to be the change they wish to see and know that if they believe, they will achieve whatever they put their minds to. I have two mottos: If you change your mindset, you can change your life….and if you believe, conceive, then you will achieve.”
Crystal has enjoyed her Habitat experience thus far, and her favorite part has been meeting the all the generous volunteers, donors, and staff members and seeing them working towards a common goal. She feels very grateful for everyone helping make “the American Dream of home ownership” come true. Says Crystal, “I want to say ‘thank you’ for giving me such a lifelong, memorable, and treasurable 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.