New Year, New Strategic Plan

The new year brings a struggle to write the correct year on documents and to keep new resolutions. At the same time, our minds also turn to new ideas and strategies for accomplishing our work. Many will embark on a strategic planning period.

Live from HOMES!

Greetings from northern Michigan, where our collective of construction experts have gathered at the 8th annual HOMES Green Building Summit!

A Day On, Not a Day Off

“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Keeping your Identity Safe Online

Despite the widespread knowledge that our identities and data may be easily compromised by our password habits, many of us are still making mistakes when it comes to how we generate passwords for our many online accounts. Many of us use easily guessed passwords with minor variations, we use the same passwords over and over, and we put our passwords in unsecure locations – like the sticky notes found on desks or word documents saved on our desktop. People who have bad password habits are at greater risk for having multiple accounts breached.

The Good Forever

en·dow·ment  noun

1.     the action of endowing something or someone.

2.     an income or form of property given or bequeathed to someone.

Guest Blog: Saginaw-Shiawassee and Dow

Today's blog is the third of our three award winners of the Dow Chemical Company's blog contest, conducted in September. 

Dow’s Human Element, helping us take it from good to great! 

Volunteering, the ReStore, and You

Many people believe that the only volunteer opportunities in the ReStore are retail positions. While most of the volunteer positions in the ReStore are in fact related to retail, there is also a great need for people to take up volunteer positions that are technological that help support the ReStore and subsequently the Habitat for Humanity mission. These positions are great for Millennials and technologically savvy folks, specifically because these are things that they do every day.

A Home for the Holidays

As we enter the holiday season, celebrate Giving Tuesday, and prepare for the Advent season, we wanted to share a homeowner story to show why the work we do is so important. Happily, we had a successful Habitat story right in our own office. Antria Daugherty joined our staff in August as Executive Assistant, and she was willing to share her story and the impact that her Habitat home has had for her and her family.

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.

Giving Tuesday: Give Back for the Holidays

If you know about the holiday gift giving season, then you probably also know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday: the days Americans get a jump on their holiday shopping. If you know about these two shopping days, you might continue to add to the list and include Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is an innovative way that philanthropy tries to remind folks that during the holidays there are people and organizations in need. Amidst the holiday shopping frenzy, please don’t forget to give to the issues that are important to you in the community, state, nation and world.

Habitat Helping Veterans

This week, we are reminded to take a day and reflect on the sacrifices of the men and women who serve our country. We are told to honor our heroes, and to thank them for their service. Here at Habitat, we are also reminded of the ways that we are able to give back to those who have given so much of themselves.

Winter is Coming…Is your home ready?

Whether you love it or hate it, winter weather will be here before we know it. With the fun parts of winter (hot cocoa! The holidays! Sweaters!) also comes the dreaded parts…higher energy bills, slippery pathways, and difficult driving conditions. We can’t make the snow go away, but we can help you save some money and energy in your home with some home prep tips from our Sustainable Building Specialist, Thom Phillips!

Raise your Voice for Affordable Shelter with Habitat Michigan

What I love about the mission of Habitat for Humanity is that people join together in action. People of all race, faith, ethnicity, profession, politic, income, and background join together as one in service to their neighbor and as advocates with purpose. It is when we join together and build relationships toward a common goal and mission that people focus and work productively in peace and harmony.

Taking Control of your Credit

People often ask, “How can I raise my credit score?” The reality is that getting a credit score above 700 can be difficult, but knowing the factors that affect a credit score, as well as how to maximize the traits that improve a score, can assist a financial coach to help consumers raise their credit score fast. These factors are credit mix, amount owed, payment history, length of credit history, and recent applications.

Improving the Credit Mix: Credit diversity makes up 10% of your score

Celebrating AmeriCorps: They're One in One Million!

Since the first class of members started in 1994, over 980,000 people have served their communities through the AmeriCorps program. This month marks the start of a new class year for AmeriCorps members, and with this new year over 1 million members will have served!

A World Where Everyone Has a Decent Place to Live

Yesterday, Monday October 3, we celebrated World Habitat Day. Designated in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly, World Habitat Day is a day to re-dedicate ourselves to our mission of helping people access adequate shelter.

Guest Post: Grand Traverse Region and Dow

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. 

Skydiving and Homeownership: Not as different as you'd think

The Habitat Michigan team is back in action this week, refreshed and mostly recovered from our annual Affiliates in Motion conference and Annual Awards Banquet last week. Thank you to all the affiliates, presenters, exhibitors, sponsors, public officials, and everyone else who made the week so special! A special congratulations once more to all of our award winners and honorees.

AIM Day 2

Good morning, Habitat friends! We are kicking off day two of AIM, and it's been a great conference so far. Yesterday we welcomed over 250 friends to the Lansing Center, and we've still got more to come today. Our Exhibitors are here and ready to mingle, and our silent auction items from the Prison Build program and St. Johns High School Wood Technology program are garnering a lot of interest.

Welcome to the 2016 Affiliates in Motion Conference!

This week’s blog is coming to you live from AIM! AIM, or the Affiliates in Motion Conference, is a three-day conference held annually for affiliates across the state here in Lansing. It is a chance for staff, volunteers, board members, sponsors, and exhibitors from all of Michigan’s 65 affiliates to come together and network, share information, and celebrate the achievements of the year. This year is an even bigger event than ever: we have combined our AIM conference with our Annual Awards Banquet, now in its 20th year!

9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance

Americans all over the nation will be coming together throughout the next week in remembrance of the September 11th attacks. Since 2009, Congress has designated this day as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, and numerous organizations—including the Corporation for National & Community Service, corporate foundations, and many state and local volunteer agencies—will come together to implement one of the largest days of charitable service as a positive way to pay tribute to the lives transformed on that day.

A Labor of Love

This weekend marks the unofficial end of the summer: Labor Day weekend. Soon teachers and students will head back to class, the weather will begin to turn, and in the Habitat Michigan world, the summer build season begins to slow. While we take a long weekend to relax, catch up with family and friends, or work on those to-do lists we’ve been putting off, we should take some time to reflect on our personal labors.

The Habitat for Humanity Michigan Fund – Lending Services That Help Build Homes and Dreams

Did you know that Michigan is the only state in the country with a Habitat for Humanity organization that has its own mortgage company? To date, The Habitat for Humanity Michigan Fund services just under 4,000 mortgage loans at a value of more than $160 million. The Fund provides economical, professional, and compliant mortgage services to support Habitat Affiliates in building homes and putting God’s love into action.

Fact or Fiction? Tackling your Frequently Asked Questions

At Habitat Michigan, our staff frequently hears similar questions as we travel across the state. With Habitat for Humanity operating in 65 communities across Michigan, nearly 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in over 70 countries, it’s no wonder we have volunteers and donors like you wanting to understand more about the organization you support. Part of Habitat Michigan’s role is to help educate our state on the work of Habitat and advocate for decent, affordable housing in the state.

Growing Hope in Huron Valley

On a hot, muggy afternoon, Crystal Kinard shows off her vegetable garden.

“This year, the only the thing that isn’t growing so well is my collard greens,” she remarks, pointing to a short, dark green, leafy plant. “I did broccoli again, and this year I added some lettuce.”