DOW and Habitat for Humanity: Providing a Better Life for Homeowner Partners - Together

The Dow Chemical Company wanted to celebrate HFHM's 20th Annual Awards Banquet by giving away $20,000. We proposed a blog contest, focusing on the impact of Dow products on the families who we serve. Periodically, we will share the entries we received. This week's blog post is from one of the three contest winners.

For most of us, home is not just where we hang our hat, but a special sanctuary that provides us warmth, solace, and stability. As an employee of Genesee County Habitat for Humanity (GCHFH), I am most grateful for the opportunity to provide members of my community with, not just shelter, but a quality built, energy efficient home that improves outcomes for families in every stage of their lives. A great example of the benefits of an energy efficient home grew from a conversation I had with Habitat Homeownership Program Partner’s Brad and Becky, about their home of over 15 years. Brad had been battling cancer, and his prognosis was terminal. Both knew his time here was not long, and as we talked, they reminisced about their experience with (GCHFH) and the joys they have had in their home, from the first sweat equity hours filled, to raising their children in the house they built together. Their home was the one that the kids came to hang out at; it was the warmest in the winter and the coolest in the summer, a safe, comfortable environment for not only her children, but those in the neighborhood as well. 

As the conversation shifted to the future, Brad shared how he was more at ease knowing Becky would not have to worry about high-energy bills with our hard Michigan winters, because their home was built using energy efficient products from DOW. The simple and hard-won peace of mind which Brad found – in a time of immense personal hardship – stands as a vital testament to the power of DOW’s support for Habitat’s home building mission, and the simple and quiet dignity that homeownership partners are able to attain though it. I left their home that day touched by the couple’s frankness, in such a trying time and proud of my work at Habitat for Humanity, an organization that strives to cultivate partnerships, like the one with DOW, to better the world in which we live.

When one thinks of Habitat for Humanity, typically the first thought is, with support from the community, Habitat is helping another family in need. While this is true, the thought of who those partners are is not taken into consideration.  As part of Habitat for Humanity, I have pride in the quality of homes we build for families in need. The availability of many DOW products has provided over 60 families in Genesee County, with an energy efficient home with which to start a new life, grow, and retire in, without the burden that comes with high-energy bills. The partnerships with volunteers, churches, community organizations and most importantly with building product suppliers, such as Dow, are really what makes these positive communities affect happen.

Thanks to Dow’s longstanding support of Habitat for Humanity, GCHFH has been able to incorporate energy efficient DOW building products in our home builds since our affiliate was founded in 1990. We understand the responsibilities placed upon us, we provide a housing solution for our homeownership partners in need of a hand up, we are providing a commitment to their overall well-being. With partnerships such as DOW, we can focus on a holistic approach to homeownership, which combines, education, community, health, safety, and construction practices that include products providing the best energy solutions in the field. We have been able to utilize all DOW has to offer, with energy-saving products like STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation in the Great Lakes Superior Walls LLC basement systems, GREAT STUFF PRO™ Insulating Foam Sealants, in all our residential, mixed/use new homeownership, and rehabilitated programs.  This partnership allows us to provide affordable, sustainable houses for low-income families in communities throughout Genesee County, and for that reason when I hang my hat at my home, I am grateful for another day of making a lasting impact on families in the community where I live, and thankful for the partnerships that make it all possible.

Juan Zuniga
Genesee County Habitat for Humanity