History and Mission
Athens Area Habitat for Humanity is an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International that operates in the Clarke, Oconee and Oglethorpe counties in Georgia. Habitat for Humanity International was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller in 1976. “Habitat now works in 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in nearly 70 countries and has helped 6.8 million people achieve strength, stability and independence through safe, decent and affordable shelter.” Habitat for Humanity affiliates are local Habitat for Humanity organizations that act in partnership with and on behalf of Habitat for Humanity International. Each Habitat affiliate coordinates all aspects of Habitat home building in its local area. Athens Habitat works to provide affordable housing options for families who partner with Habitat as well as rehabilitating and preserving pre-existing homes, advocating for fair and just housing policies, and providing training and resources to families in order to improve their shelter conditions. AAHFH was founded in 1988 and has constructed 85 houses since its inception. For more specific information on how AAHFH has benefitted the community please visit:
Surprising Stats on Habitat Homeowners: Athens Habitat and Georgia Tech study
Athens Habitat has 4 basic programs that contribute to their mission – Affordable Homes, Renew Athens, E.H.A.R.P., and Brush with Kindness.
- With our Affordable Homes program, our longest-running program, we construct simple, decent, and affordable living. Our homes are decently-sized but relatively small to keep construction and maintenance costs low. Also, we use locally available building material in these homes. When assessing homeowner eligibility, we consider need for a house, ability to pay, and sweat equity. Homeowners must be in the financial position that they cannot otherwise afford decent housing, but in order to allow Athens Habitat to sustainably continue its mission, they must also be able to pay our very low, zero-interest mortgages, the typical payments of which are just under $400. We also consider “sweat equity”. It’s a common misconception that Habitat gives away homes. Really, when we build a house it is in partnership with the future owner. They work with us on the build or in one of our ReStores. We believe that it’s best to “help families buy the homes they build, and build the homes they “
- With our ReNew Athens program, founded in 2009, we offer affordable rental options for low-income individuals. We provide environmentally conscious renovations of existing multi-family units, as well as housing opportunities for people who earn close to minimum wage. This revitalizes local neighborhoods. For example, the Magnolia Terrace neighborhood is the latest Renew Athens Project. This neighborhood is comprised of 20 units with close access to grocery stores, health care, schools, local library, and public transportation. Renovation began in 2016 and is expected to take 2 years to complete.
- With EHARP, the Emergency Handicap Access Ramp Program, we take referrals from HED and Multiple Choices for Independent Living and build ramps for low-income, physically disabled individuals to improve their quality of life. This program was also founded in 2009.
- With our Brush With Kindness program, we help struggling homeowners to make needed repairs to the interiors and exteriors of their homes in order to make them more livable. Our available home repairs include: exterior painting, roof repairs, window/door repairs, and general safety repairs. This program was founded in 2017.
Athens Habitat also operates 2 thrift stores – ReStore West and ReStore East. The ReStores offer a wide selection of furniture, building supplies, home décor, appliances, books, clothing, and more. The proceeds from both ReStores are used to finance ongoing Athens Habitat construction projects and renovations. Over 50,000 customers are served annually between these 2 stores, earning around $800,000 for affordable housing in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
- ReStore West
- Opened in August, 2013
- Store Information:
- 4125 Atlanta Highway, Athens, GA 30606
- Open Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- ReStore East
- Moved to its existing location in 2002, but was previously in a barn on Barber street since the mid 90’s
- Store Information:
- 532 Barber St. Athens, GA 30601
- Open Monday- Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Volunteers are a vital part of Athens Habitat operations, whether it be groups or individuals. Volunteer opportunities can be found on construction sites, in Habitat ReStores, at events, or even in the office. Volunteer work is crucial in making affordable housing a reality and it lowers the labor costs in the construction process. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year we had over 760 homebuilder volunteers and 93 community service assignments completed.
Grants, Community Partners, Donors, and Sponsors are also essential for Athens Habitat to works towards its mission of providing decent, affordable housing.
- We have received grants from:
- Wells Fargo Community Partners
- State Farm Grant for Repairs
- Community Partners:
- Build an Appetite Program: local food vendors provide food donations for Habitat build sites and events on a continual basis.
- Marti’s at Midday
- Pulaski Heights
- Taziki’s Mediterranean Café
- Committee of 1,000: a group of individuals who pool their donation to fund the construction of an affordable housing unity
- 1,000 people donate $70
- Costs $70,000 to build a house in Athens
- Thrivent Financial: The #1 corporate donor for Habitat international
- The Thrivent Financial – East Metro Team has sponsored several events for Athens Habitat such as The Committee of 1,000 Gala
- The Thrivent Financial Member Network – Florida & Georgia Region is turning out 6 months of volunteers for a home renovation on Dublin Street
- Georgian Hall: Hosted and co-sponsored the Committee of 1,000 Gala
For questions, please contact our office, which can be found at 532 Barber Street, Athens, GA, 30601. Our phone number is (706) 208-1001.