I believe that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. All individuals regardless of their race, color, national origin, disability, gender and family status should have equal access to decent rental housing and homeownership opportunities.
My staff decided to take a closer look at housing programs in our great city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, to determine what they offered for our clients. Let's discuss Habitat for Humanity and Fort Wayne Housing Authority.
Habitat for Humanity is an international entity. The Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit Christian housing ministry which uses volunteer labor to build simple, decent and affordable homes through partnerships with qualified families living in Allen County. Several of my staff members have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and highly recommended the organization to me.
Established locally in 1986, Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity completed its first home in 1987. Since its inception, it has completed more than 160 affordable homes for families in need throughout Allen County.
We invited Habitat for Humanity representatives to discuss their program and opportunities for homeownership with our clients. It proved to be a worthwhile event, and more than 40 clients and staff attended the presentation. Completed homes are sold to partner families, require a small down payment, and have an interest-free mortgage. Habitat's "hand-up" approach requires homeowners to invest their own labor into building their Habitat house and the houses of others. The volunteer involvement helps to keep the cost of the homes affordable to low-income families. The mission and vision of Habitat for Humanity is parallel with my own: "A world where everyone has a descent place to live." Minimum wage is not keeping up with the rising cost of living, and many workers struggle to afford decent housing. Habitat for Humanity has plans for several new developments throughout Fort Wayne. With so many people living in poverty, this will benefit those who struggle to afford decent housing and seek home ownership. For details related to these programs go to the habitat.org website or the fortwaynehabitat.org website.
Public housing was established by the federal government to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing units are located throughout Fort Wayne, on every side of town. The Fort Wayne Housing Authority (FWHA) administers the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) programs. The mission of the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Wayne is to provide good quality, affordable housing and superior services to eligible members of the Fort Wayne community, and to maintain an atmosphere which encourages self-sufficiency. Public Housing, housing Choice Vouchers, and Tax Credit or Section 42 Housing have different requirements, so it is important to research and choose according to needs. Public housing comes in various sizes and types, including both houses and apartments. For details related to these programs go to the hud.gov website or the fwha.org website.
I have lived, worked, and served in Fort Wayne, Indiana for several decades, and I have seen many transformations of rental properties and homes. Decent housing provides more than just a roof over someone's head. It provides stability for families and children, and a sense of dignity and pride.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee