What if this world was a perfect place and everyone had the resources to provide for their families in the best way they saw fit?
What if there were no layoffs?
What if there was no homelessness?
What if every child knew the comfort, safety and warmth of a room of their own and a backyard in a safe neighborhood to play in?
What if every parent knew the feeling that comes with the peace of going to bed each night knowing their families were safe, happy and cared for?
What if each and every one of us could be guaranteed that our families … our children … were guaranteed a chance at a successful future?
What if every person in San Antonio had a home to live in?
What if this was a perfect world?
Well, the reality is the world is not perfect, so there is no way that each of the above scenarios can be true for everyone. But, the positive is that we can work toward this. That is why organizations like Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio exist. We exist in some way, shape or form to do our part to slowly inch toward that perfect world.
In my job here at HFHSA, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know some of our hardworking families. I’ve been able to visit with them and learn more about their lives and what brought them to Habitat.
I’ve had mothers tell me of living in homes so small that one room served as bedroom, family room and dining room for a family of four.
I’ve had a father tell me with tears in his eyes what it feels like to sleep with a knife under his pillow because he feared for the safety of his family.
I’ve heard children talk of being cold at night because the winter wind blew through cracks in door and window frames.
I’ve had a small boy tell me his mom couldn’t let him play in his yard because there were gangs in his neighborhood.
I’ve met families who wanted out of the homeless shelters they were living in – not because they didn’t want to provide for themselves, but because situations beyond their control had led them there.
As a parent, I can sympathize. However, I don’t truly understand what they are going through. I’m lucky that my children do not have to live in those situations. And, luckily, each of the above families can now say the same. Each family worked very hard in their partnership with Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio and now own an affordable house they call home. In fact, in its 33-year history, HFHSA has assisted more than 600 families in building their homes. By year’s end, that number will reach 628. However, there are many, many more families in San Antonio who could benefit from HFHSA.
There is a continual need in San Antonio for decent, affordable homes available to people and families without adequate resources. In Bexar County alone, approximately 1 out of 6 families live below the poverty line, with barely enough income to buy daily necessities, much less the income needed to be able to afford their own home or even a safe rental. San Antonio has the second highest rate of poverty housing for any major US city. We have the highest percentage of low income homeowners and low income renters living in physically deficient homes – many without even adequate plumbing, or electricity.
The families served by HFHSA earn between 25 and 60 percent of the area median income. On average, our families earn about $20,000 per year. So, as you can see there is a need!
Again, the reality is the world is not perfect. We can’t make it perfect, but we can make great strides toward perfection by helping make it better for many families who just want a chance to better their lives.
Explore our website to learn more about our mission, the benefits of homeownership, how you can be involved through volunteering or financial support and to read about some of the families who have built their own Habitat homes..
By Shelly, Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio Staff