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Habitat Huron Valley in Washington DC to oppose proposed federal cuts that would exacerbate affordable housing crisis in Washtenaw County

Ann Arbor, Mich., Feb. 14, 2018 – Representatives of Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley (Habitat Huron Valley) are in Washington, DC, this week, warning that proposed federal cuts will worsen the affordable housing crisis facing Washtenaw County and other communities across the United States.

The budget proposed by the White House this week would drastically cut—and in some cases entirely eliminate—funding that communities use to finance the development of new affordable homes. Habitat Huron Valley uses funding from the Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) to cover costs of building and renovating roughly 19 houses each year in Washtenaw County. The White House budget proposal would eliminate those funds entirely.

Habitat Huron Valley joins more than 340 Habitat leaders, volunteers and homeowners from across the country in Washington, DC, this week to advocate for affordable housing. In meetings with federal representatives, Habitat Huron Valley is calling on Congress to set aside the flawed budget proposal and instead work to prioritize solutions that will end the affordable housing crisis.

“There is no question that we are in an affordable housing crisis,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford. “More than 18 million families are paying more than half of their paychecks on their housing. Leaders in cities and towns across the country are sounding the alarm, because even middle-class workers like teachers can no longer find housing that fits their budgets. We will make sure those voices are heard in Washington this week as we meet with members of Congress.”

 

About Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley
Established in 1989, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley has built or renovated over 200 homes in Washtenaw County. Habitat homeowners qualify for an affordable mortgage from Habitat, make a $1,000 down payment, and put in at least 250 hours (per adult household member) of “sweat equity” building their home. Habitat has expanded to provide home improvement projects to low-income families in neighborhoods we already target, providing over 500 such projects since 2011. For more information, visit www.h4h.org.

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The Van Hoose Family’s Story

Several years ago, Christina Van Hoose watched Habitat Huron Valley build a home for a family living down the street from her childhood home.

“At that time, I had the same idea as many others, that Habitat for Humanity gives away houses,” Christina said. “Wow, was I mistaken. In 2016, I enrolled in a Home Ownership Education class, where I gained a wealth of knowledge on various homeownership programs for low- to mid-income families.”

A widowed mother of two sons, Christina spent four years rebuilding her credit score and financial status. After many denials for a traditional mortgage, Christina finally received an approval from Habitat Huron Valley.

“This opportunity for homeownership is more than a dream come true. It is truly a blessing from God,” Christina said. “Not only has this experience strengthened my faith, it has also been a significant teachable lesson for my sons. Being in this position has offered me an opportunity to lead by example.”

Christina’s two sons, Emmanuel, 14, and Cameron, 8, are “dedicated to their studies and devoted to maintaining academic excellence, which is reflected by their honor roll achievement recognition,” according to Christina. The two are also involved in extracurricular activities, such as the Mentor 2 Youth program, and enjoy sports, like football and basketball.

“They enjoy playing as well as being spectators of all sports,” Christina said. “From time to time, they are able to get me involved to participate, I’m actually pretty good!”

An Ann Arbor native, Christina graduated from Huron Hills High School and attended Washtenaw Community College, where she earned an Associate of Arts degree in criminal justice and liberal arts. She then earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminology and later a Masters of Science in sociology from Eastern Michigan University.

“For the last 5 years, I have been employed as an internal accountant specialist for the nation’s largest LP gas company,” Christina said. “In addition, I am actively involved with the PTO for both Emmanuel and Cameron’s schools and volunteer with the Mentor 2 Youth Program.”

In their spare time, the family of three “love to spread the word of God and enjoy helping others in any way possible, from volunteering in the community to random acts of kindness.

“I thank you Habitat for Humanity for partnering with my family,” Christina said. “May God bless you ALL for everything you do.”

Renovations on the Van Hoose Family’s home was funded by Full House Sponsor Adient, a long-time partner of Habitat Huron Valley. Adient, formally Johnson Controls, has sponsored 16 houses since 2010 with nearly $210,000 in lifetime sponsorship funds and more than 350 employee volunteers each year to help renovate or build houses in Washtenaw County.