With its first resource store on the brink of its fifth-year anniversary, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley has a second store ready to help families build and furnish their homes.
While promoting its motto “A hand up, not a handout,” the organization celebrated the opening of the new ReStore on Jackson Road in Ann Arbor on Saturday. ReStores collect and re-sell building materials, furniture and household items to the public at a fraction of the original cost. The stores also function to raise awareness about the work of the organization.
Habitat for Humanity, which works on improving housing internationally, was founded in 1976 and established its first ReStore in 1991. All proceeds from the Huron Valley ReStores are put toward the construction and renovation of affordable housing in Washtenaw County.
Sarah Stanton, executive director of the Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley, said the organization operates as “a contractor, a realtor and a bank, all in one” for the families it assists.
“We buy a property, work to improve it, help the family move in and hold a zero-interest mortgage for them,” Stanton said.
The Huron Valley branch has worked on more than 100 houses in the Washtenaw County area since its founding in 1989. The Habitat for Humanity volunteers put in upwards of 2,000 volunteer hours per house, according to Stanton.
Vic Whipple, a longtime Habitat for Humanity volunteer who oversees the Huron Valley ReStores, said the organization is always on the lookout for new volunteers to aid its mission to help local families.
“I really, really enjoy working with Habitat for Humanity because … of the ultimate cause, which is to eliminate low-income housing and helping people get into affordable housing,” Whipple said.
The opening of the second ReStore occurred two days before World Habitat Day — a commemorative day designed to give visibility to affordable housing worldwide. Representatives from the Huron Valley chapter said they are proud to work for an organization that strives to promote the day’s purpose year-round.
“(World Habitat Day) means a lot. It brings a whole global perspective to right here, locally, in Washtenaw County,” Whipple said. “And it reflects a whole global attitude as well.”