Al DeSalvo, long-time affordable housing advocate in the Capital District, was honored for his service on our board at the Capital Region Chamber’s Nonprofit Business Awards Luncheon on November 16, 2018. Al has held various roles at Habitat Capital District for more than 24 years. This December, he will complete two three-year terms—six years!—on our board. He was nominated by our executive director, Christine, and selected by a panel of past recipients.
Al said it humbled him knowing people who had received the award—the nonprofit board service award—in the past had chosen him as this year’s recipient. Watch the video about Al’s dedication to Habitat Capital District’s board and mission below.
At the award ceremony, Al addressed the room with a powerful speech about affordable housing in the Capital District and Habitat’s vision. Read his speech below.
Housing is a human right. But in this country—the richest by economic standards—we own the shame of more than one-half million people homeless, and millions more in substandard dwellings, many not fit for human habitation.
In the Capital Region, there are more than 1,500 people homeless on any given day. The availability of decent rental housing is extremely limited and what is available is expensive, despite substandard conditions.
In Albany and Troy 42,000 families are paying more than 30% of their income for housing, leaving far less for food, health care, transportation and other necessities. Too many times we hear of parents trying to decide whether to pay the utilities or buy medicine, to buy food for dinner or to get the car repaired so they can get to their jobs.
Habitat for Humanity Capital District is working hard to prevent families from making such draconian choices. Owning one’s own home means so much. With a room of their own, kids have a quiet place to study. Statistics show that students from Habitat homes do much better in school and graduate at much higher rates than their peers.
A decent home also leads to healthier people. Habitat families escape vermin-infested, cold and dangerous rental properties. And these new and rehabbed properties contribute tax dollars to the cities, counties and school districts.
For the last five years, Habitat has been about building communities. We are a community development organization and work in partnership with other organizations, government entities and foundation to build exclusive, economically diverse neighborhoods.
This effort creates safe streets where kids can get to school without harm, where they can play outside without fear, and where neighbors interact with each other every day.
I am honored to receive recognition for my work with Habitat. Over these years, I may have been a catalyst, a networker, a provocateur, an advocate. But the real honor goes to our incredibly talented executive director, Christine Schudde, and her talented staff, our dedicated Board of Directors and our community volunteers and supporters who believe in our mission: Building strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable homeownership.
And the best, most effective way to recognize their efforts is to support their work by supporting the vision of a world where everyone — everyone! — has a decent place to live.
Inspired by Al’s dedication? Learn about joining our board here.
Click through the gallery below for some highlights of Al’s service through the years.