Thank you for being a part of our Outreach Committee!
The goal and purpose of this committee is to help us continue making connections in the community. We have attended a number of events in order to be more visible, keeping in mind the importance of our mission and connecting with the community. The results so far have been very good, and we believe we can do so much more!
As an Outreach Committee Volunteer, you will be empowered to:
- Increase awareness for the need and lack of affordable housing in our county
- Educate the public about HFH and how we can help with the affordable housing issue
- Engage with public officials in our advocacy efforts
- Promote the ReStore; every donation and purchase helps a family build a decent and affordable home. Donations to the store also help keep materials out of landfills.
- Recruit for volunteers in all areas of our affiliate (Restore, Construction, Affiliate)
- Raise support for our construction projects
- Raise awareness regarding the partner families, ability to discuss what the ‘partnership’ entails (mortgage, sweat equity, etc)
How will we do this?
Over the past year, we have developed a number of spreadsheets for various schools, civic groups, churches and businesses. They have been contacted, mostly via email and letters, to let them know more about us and open the door for further communication. Some have also been visited in person or received a phone call. Since then, we’ve been invited and talked to church groups, Civic Clubs (Kiwanis, Rotary, etc), AARP meetings, Senior groups, as just a few examples. We have flyers posted in Libraries, Marinas, and campgrounds and have had tables at community events such as 1st Night in Dennis Twp.
All of this takes man/woman/person power! It is our hope to reach as many people and organizations as possible, and in order to do that we need help. We have a number of engagements already on the calendar and some we’d like to put on the calendar, but each event requires several people. In addition, we need to be in person to drop off information to places such as Marinas, Campgrounds, Libraries, etc.
How can you help?
There are many ways to be a volunteer for this Outreach Committee, and it all depends on you, the volunteer and how you want to be involved. Here are some examples:
- Attend a community event where we have a table. Some already scheduled dates are:
- March 26 – St. Maximilian Church Health Fair 8am – 3pm
- April 22 – Earth Day Celebration – Cape May County Zoo 8am – 3pm
- April 25 – Lower Township Business to Community Night
- May 20 – Coast Guard Community Festival 8 am – 4pm
- June 17 – Sea Isle City Skimmer Weekend 9am – 4pm
These events are impactful as they allow us to have meaningful conversations with the public. At these events, we will typically set up a table with the Habitat Cape May logo tablecloth along with posters, etc. Depending on the event, we would have additional visual components to our display to not only attract attention, but also to highlight the information we wish to share. These are events which are generally open to the public and have a lot of ‘foot traffic’. As people stop by we share information with them about Habitat, which is a good reason to be as well versed as possible with Habitat in general and our Affiliate in particular.
There are many misconceptions about HFHI and the affiliates, and our programs, so it’s our goal to clear them up whenever possible. For example, some think we give homes away (which we don’t) and others aren’t aware there is a ReStore, or if they know of the store, have no idea it’s a fundraising tool for Habitat Cape May and supports our construction efforts.
In addition, we have programs we need to promote that can have a positive financial impact for us:
- Promote Cars for Homes Program
- Stop by a Marina or Campground and drop off a flier for this program. The Cars for Homes Program is not only for cars; they also accept Boats, RVs, Farm Equipment, etc. To learn more about the program, please visit our website at https://habitatcapemaycounty.org/carsforhomes/
- These dop by visits take a few minutes and can be done when you’re on your way to somewhere else 🙂 We have small (4”x4”)
- We have spreadsheets with lists of as many marinas and campgrounds we could find in the county.
- Talk with your Church or religious organization if you belong to one.
- Youth Groups might be able to get involved (we have a list of ideas for volunteers of all ages – even if too young for ReStore or Construction.)
- As Habitat for Humanity is an Ecumenical Christian Ministry it is important to stay and be connected with the Religious communities in our County. It is also important to note that we build with people in need, regardless of race or religion
- We have a spreadsheet listing all of the churches and synagogues in the county, and have sent letters to each of them; many have been followed up with phone calls and emails and visits.
- If you belong to a church or religious organization, please let us know to make sure that a) they are on our list; b) confirm if we have the correct contact information and c) are you aware of any organizations within the organization that we may want to contact (for example, bible study groups, outreach groups, knight of columbus organizations, etc.)
- We have lists of realtors, decorators, contractors who should be contacted regarding this program – particularly at the end of the summer season as the builders are getting ready to tear down.
- In the spring as new homeowners are going to furnish their new homes, may have old furniture to donate
- Decorators know when people are remodeling their homes and may have reusable kitchen and bathroom cabinets or furniture
- Many towns have city-wide bulk trash days in May along with city-wide yard sales. We’d love to be able to advertise with all of them and offer our services to pick up any reusable (sellable) items in order to keep them out of landfills.
Mission: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.
Vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live.
History HFH International: The idea that became Habitat for Humanity first grew from Koinonia Farm, a community farm outside of Americus, Georgia, founded by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan. On the farm, Jordan and Habitat’s eventual founders Millard and Linda Fuller developed the concept of “partnership housing.” The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build decent, affordable houses. The houses would be built at no profit. New homeowners’ house payments would be combined with no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fundraising to create “The Fund for Humanity,” which would then be used to build more homes.
In 1973, the Fullers decided to take the Fund for Humanity concept to Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. After three years of hard work to launch a successful house-building program there, the Fullers then returned to the United States and called together a group of supporters to discuss the future of their dream: Habitat for Humanity International, founded in 1976.
Thanks in no small part to the personal involvement of U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn and the awareness they have raised, Habitat now works in all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries and has helped more than 46 million people achieve strength, stability and independence through safe, decent and affordable shelter.
History HFHCMC: Formed initially in the late 1980s as a conversation between 1st Baptist Church of CMCH, Messiah Lutheran Church (formerly of SIC, now in Ocean View), and Habitat of Cumberland, our history is rooted with God at the center. The churches made the decision to proceed with organizing in Cape May County and began our story. Those initial members moved swiftly and formed the first governing board; President Jim Sorenson, Vice President Frank Reeder, Secretary Joann Ireland, and Treasurer Joan Sorenson. As the membership began to grow, the forming of the business operations took shape. Part of the team recruited new members, others began fundraising and organizational tasks.
By 1991, we became an affiliate and initiated the build of the first house. It was clear Habitat Cape May had answered a call to provide much needed safety and security, through affordable housing to the community. Today Habitat Cape May is continually blessed to have a foundation of selfless individuals giving of their heart and energy to aid others.
Pathway to Homeownership: To carry out our vision we partner with individuals and families from application through construction to when the keys are handed over.
By working with us from beginning to end, we can help prospective individuals prepare for the various responsibilities of homeownership, including learning about personal finances, mortgages, maintenance and upkeep of homes, and much more.
When families partner with Habitat, they start down a new path — one with far fewer barriers to a better, healthier, more financially stable life. Family partners play a hands-on role in the homeownership process, beginning with the sweat equity hours they perform. To fulfill sweat equity hours, they work alongside volunteers to help build their future homes. Some also work toward this requirement by putting in time at their local Habitat ReStore, while others may serve on committees or help out in their local Habitat office. Future homeowners are also required to attend financial education and budget-planning classes.
To qualify for the Pathways to Homeownership program prospective Habitat homeowners must demonstrate a need for safe, affordable housing and have low to moderate income between 50% and 65% of the area median income for their family size. Partner families must be able and willing to pay an affordable mortgage. Habitat makes a reasonable effort to ensure that an affordable mortgage does not exceed 30% of the homeowner’s gross monthly income. Once selected, partner families will be required to perform 300 hours of sweat equity.
Habitat’s path to homeownership is an important and in-depth process, requiring hard work, time, and dedication. But this helps to ensure the long-term success of Habitat homeowners. When hard-working families are supported by a proven program, determined volunteers, and generous donors, a future full of opportunity is built.
* What we are currently telling potential applicants. This information will change when we begin accepting applications for the next build. *
We are currently building two homes in Upper Township with families who were selected in the 2022 application process. As of now, we do not have a date scheduled for the next cycle. There are several ways to find out when we will open up the application cycle for the next build. You can check for an update on the homeownership section of our Website, you can sign-up for Habitat Happenings Newsletter located on the homepage of our Website, or you could follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
In the meantime, we can refer you to Consumer Credit and Budget Counseling (CCBC), a non-profit nationwide credit counseling and housing counseling agency with an office in Marmora. CCBC is qualified to look over your financials and advise you on your eligibility for the willingness to pay a portion of Habitat’s Homeownership program. If credit and debt are holding you back they may be able to help you develop a customized debt management plan to eliminate debt so you regain your financial control. As a resident of New Jersey, their services are free.
Ramp It Up: Ramp it Up is a new program that helps lower-income homeowners who are temporarily affected by disability and struggle to maintain access in and out of their homes. HFHCM works to eliminate barriers to housing stability by focusing on accessibility so people can remain in their own homes. For more information email email@example.com.
ReStore: Habitat ReStores are independently owned resale stores operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. The ReStore is a discount home improvement store and donation center committed to increasing the community’s access to affordable furniture, appliances, housewares and building materials while diverting valuable, reusable items from the landfill. ReStore customers then give back to their community by helping local families achieve the dream of homeownership through Habitat’s affordable housing program and the proceeds from the sales of these items. For businesses, donating to the ReStore is a great way to move discontinued or excess stock, deal with gently used returns, and show your customers that you care about the environment and the community. Plus we’ll pick up your donated goods which will save you time and money.
The ReStore is also a place to put your talents to work. From customer service to merchandising, Habitat ReStores offer a multitude of volunteer opportunities geared toward individual interests and skills. In addition to helping families create safe, decent, and affordable housing, you can expect a fun and rewarding time while volunteering. It’s a great place to interact with ReStore staff and your fellow volunteers while engaging with the community.
Volunteer Program: Volunteers play a huge role in the success of Habitat. Volunteers help with everything from building homes to assisting at our ReStore, planning and executing fundraisers, and community outreach events. Most positions require no experience, just a quick orientation and a willingness to show up and learn!
Many first-time volunteers have questions about what it will be like. What if I have no construction experience? And what should I expect during a volunteer day? Those questions are answered on our website at habitatcapemaycounty.org and we will also provide this information during orientation. To volunteer please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fundraising: Even if you’ve never raised money before, you can succeed as a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. Fundraising isn’t just about collecting money; it also entails effectively communicating why the donations are needed. Depending on which volunteer activity you participate in, we will provide you with the tools you need to succeed.
- Cars for Homes
Accepts a wide array of vehicles to help Habitat build safe and affordable homes for families. They make it fast and easy to donate a vehicle that may qualify for a tax deduction. In addition to cars and trucks, Cars for Homes welcomes RVs, motorcycles, boats, farm and construction equipment. Your vehicle donation does not have to be running, but it must be whole and have four inflated tires so it can be moved by the towing operators.
- Golf Tournament
Habitat for Humanity of Cape May’s annual golf outing is one of our organization’s major fundraising events. The golf outing is held at The Shore Club; a Club with over 100 years of rich history within Cape May County and a favorite course of Arnold Palmer during his days at the Cape May Coast Guard Station.
Every entry fee and sponsorship donation goes directly to constructing affordable homes in Cape May County. We recruit individual players and teams, sponsorships through one of our many different sponsorship packages, local businesses to donate items for auction, and many volunteers to help us produce a successful event.
- House that Beer Built
Harnessing the power of community partnership, our vibrant craft breweries come together to help build a Habitat home through the Cape May County Collaborative Brew – the Beer that Built the House! Inviting any and all lovers of craft beer and beyond to join us in raising pints and money to help raise the walls of a Habitat home! In addition to producing their own unique beer, breweries also sell t-shirts to mark the collaboration venture and tickets for a giant raffle basket worth over $1,000 in brewery swag.
We often collaborate with other businesses, organizations and individuals to help raise funds for our homeownership program. Some of the more recent fundraisers included:
- Cape May County Library Bake Sale
- ReStore Christmas Tree-House
- Habitat’s Direct Mail
- Beachcomber Camping Resort Haunted Walk
- Sturdy Savings Run Wild
Advocacy: Building is part of the solution, but the less visible aspects of housing like laws, regulations, systems and rules about land and the built environment are critical components, too. Sustainable and inclusive policies and systems can promote access to decent housing, while others can create barriers. And those barriers make it harder to find land for construction, build a home or be able to afford a place to live.
In addition to lifting our hammers, we must also lift our voices in support of adequate shelter. Advocating for sustainable and inclusive policies and systems that promote access to decent housing is critical to achieving our vision. In 2022 we joined several other New Jersey HFH Affiliates in statewide advocacy efforts to increase housing development and opportunities for families in need of affordable homes. We will engage as needed in research, letter writing, contact with elected officials, testifying in public forums, and/or participating in subject matter meetings. We will work closely with allied partners and other entities with expertise to strengthen our efforts.
Committees: While house construction and the ReStore are the most visible part of Habitat for Humanity CMC, there is also a great deal of work done behind the scenes. The committees described below are an integral part of our mission and are open to Habitat volunteers.
- Construction Committee: Helps to coordinate and oversee the building project. This will include a variety of tasks including working with subcontractors, setting and communicating a build schedule, determining and communicating volunteer needs, etc.
- Family Selection Committee: Holds family selection orientation meetings, reviews potential homeowner applications, and recommends to the board families to become homeowners.
- Family Support Committee: The primary liaison between the affiliate and the partner families. As the affiliate learns from the families, the affiliate is able to improve its program to better serve the needs of the families.
- ReStore Store Committee: This committee is responsible to review and recommend the requirements necessary to ensure operations continue as a revenue-generating success for the affiliate.
- Outreach Committee: This committee is responsible for connecting the community with Habitat Cape May in order to promote the programs outlined above and raise awareness for the need for affordable housing in our county.