Meet Raymond Turner, one of our newest homeowners in Sheridan Hollow. He and his youngest son previously lived in Albany public housing, but are now packed up and ready to move!
As a lifelong resident of Albany, Raymond has watched the community and its neighborhoods change throughout the years. Raymond spent a portion of his childhood on Hawk Street, right around the corner from our Sheridan Hollow project. At age 14, Raymond’s mom moved to Syracuse, leaving him and his older brother and sister behind.
The three siblings stayed at the home on Hawk Street until Raymond was 19, when the home was foreclosed on due to back taxes his mother failed to pay. Raymond and his family have lived in apartment after apartment ever since.
Raymond currently works at the American Legion as a mailroom clerk. Previously, Raymond was employed as a counselor’s aid at a community based organization called “Parents Against Drugs.” Here, Raymond performed outreach work with at-risk neighborhood youth and their parents. As a parent himself, Raymond believes in the importance of a drug-free environment to allow children to grow into successful adults.
Creating this type of environment for his own children was not always easy. Raymond lost his wife of 34 years to breast cancer in 2002 – while his two youngest were still teenagers, aged 16 and 13. Despite the many challenges Raymond has faced, he is a proud parent of 7 successful and happy children – “all my kids are out there working, and I am grateful for that.” Habitat is part of the family for Raymond. His niece is also a Habitat homeowner and she was the one that motivated Raymond to learn more about the program. The two attended a Habitat orientation together and the rest is history!
Like every Habitat family, Raymond worked hard to complete his 350 hours of sweat equity, working in our office as well as on the construction site – “whatever I have to do, I’m going to do it.”
Welcome Turner Family!
Today we celebrate a huge milestone in our Sheridan Hollow project with the closing of our first two homes! Both the Turner and Bunch families made it official this morning after signing all of the closing documents with our our attorney, John Maxwell! Each new family receives a personalized stitch sampler, generously made and donated by the NY Capital District Chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America. Congratulations to the Turner and Bunch families, we so excited to be a part of your journey to homeownership!
Construction is moving along quickly on the remaining homes of the first phase. Families are currently working on their sweat equity and attending our weekly Financial Peace classes – both requirements for all of our Habitat homeowners. We are incredibly proud of how wonderful these homes are looking and we can’t wait to see what all of our new homeowners will do with the space.
Stay tuned for more closings, family stories and construction updates!
World Habitat Day is the one day set aside annually to recognize the basic right of all humanity to adequate shelter, and to encourage grassroots action toward ending poverty housing. The United Nations General Assembly declared in 1985 that the first Monday in October would be World Habitat Day, so on Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, as in years past, Habitat for Humanity joins with our partners around the world to rededicate ourselves to a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
The facts are astounding: Around the world, 1.6 billion people live in inadequate shelter. More than 100 million people worldwide are homeless. One in 4 lives in conditions that are harmful to health, safety, prosperity and opportunity. Most studies conclude that one-third of homeless people in the U.S. are children.
The prognosis is alarming: By 2030, an additional 3 billion people will need access to housing, requiring 96,150 new affordable units every day to meet the need. By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas, causing slums and unplanned settlements to swell.
Together, we can make a difference. Every four minutes, Habitat serves a family in need of better housing. Habitat has helped more than 4 million people since our founding in 1976. Locally, Habitat for Humanity Capital District has built 90 homes, and we will close on our 100th home this winter.
To succeed in eliminating poverty housing around the world in our lifetime, we must promote smart policies that advance access to adequate, affordable housing. Let those setting the agenda know that YOU care about housing and want to see a world where everyone has a decent place to live. It’s all about advocacy and there are plenty of ways to get involved via social media.
Click here to check out our World Habitat Guide for more on what you can do!
Did you know that Habitat is ranked in the Business Review’s Top Home Builders in the Capital Region?! Up against big names in the private construction company, Habitat stands out as the only not-for-profit organization. The list is ranked by revenue from homes built in the Capital Region in 2013. At number 14, Habitat brought in $1,186,750 in revenue by selling 11 homes to our hardworking, lower-income neighbors. That revenue is recycled into building more homes for more families. In addition, Habitat was ranked number 3 in most townhomes built in 2013. Both of these rankings reflect our projects in Albany’s South End on Alexander Street and Delaware Avenue and Troy’s South End on Burden Avenue and Cross Street. Habitat has gone from building one or two homes per year, to rebuilding entire blocks as we concentrate on making broad change through neighborhood revitalization.
This list came out only days before the American Planning Association named Albany’s Arbor Hill one of the top 10 great neighborhoods in the America. The American Planning Association described Arbor Hill as having “a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement and a vision for tomorrow.” Our Sheridan Hollow Redevelopment Project, located in Arbor Hill, is adding to that vision.
Habitat, along with other partners, is currently redeveloping this once neglected neighborhood and is bringing in transformational change through affordable homeownership, quality rental housing, new retail and commercial investments, streetscape improvements, enhanced public safety and neighborhood revitalization. The Sheridan Hollow project will increase the City’s tax base, eliminate blight and promote re-investment in an important and historically significant neighborhood. We are confident that this mixed-income, mixed-use sustainable community will echo the culture and rich history of the neighborhood, while continuing to build a shared vision of an even better tomorrow.
We can’t forget to mention our other current project going on in the Arbor Hill area, the rehabilitation of 126 Lark Street. Habitat is transforming this dilapidated, vacant, three story building into a two-family home for veteran families. The building will include a two-story homeownership unit on the second and third floor, with an accompanying rental unit on the first floor. 126 Lark Street is the first project under our newest initiative in fighting blight and stabilizing neighborhoods: ReHabitat. By repairing and preserving existing housing stock, ReHabitat eliminates blight, restores vacant and abandoned buildings and helps hardworking, lower-income neighbors maintain their homes. This new initiative will help serve more families in the Capital District with an expanded array of products and will preserve our region’s existing housing stock using the power of Habitat volunteers and donors. We understand that providing safe, decent, affordable housing means more than building new homes. Preservation of our community’s cultural and historical sense of self is integral to a truly great community, and is an effort that is clearly valued in the Arbor Hill neighborhood.
With all of our exciting projects going on now in Arbor Hill, combined with our 14-home Fox Hollow project tin South Troy, we are looking forward to being on this list again next year!
Click here to see the Business Review’s Top Home Builders in the Capital Region List (must be subscribed to view entire list).