Construction Update December 12, 2019

On Thursday, December 5, the City of Newburgh Housing Coalition hosted its first Who’s Who in Housing Community Forum.  The general public was invited to learn about agencies serving the City of Newburgh that assist people with their housing needs. The purpose of this event was to re-introduce and connect the residents of the City of Newburgh to its very own Housing Coalition, and to get agencies one to one exposure to the community outside of their normal offices.

Our Sr. Site Coordinator Brady visited Chiapas, Mexico on a Global Village mission.

One of the wonderful things about Habitat for Humanity’s model is the power to mobilize people in their communities to reach across cultural divides and celebrate our shared humanity. Our work is not done alone, and it takes commitment and time to see the impact. Our Day of Service and our day of advocacy are both vivid illustrations of the power of coming together to work towards a common purpose and of what we attempt to do here in Newburgh week in, week out; provide a bridge between people to build together, because we understand that it will take more than a day or a single organization to bring about change for our beloved community.

Susan can usually be found on site Wednesdays and Fridays, grinning and eager to get her hands dirty and learn something new. One of her favorite aspects of volunteering is all of the firsts that she has the chance to experience. From working with new tools to delving into different home improvement projects, the variety has an allure that has kept Susan coming back for almost 2 years.

Students from Gidney Avenue Memorial School fundraised $1389.92 and donated it to Habitat Newburgh! THANK YOU to these generous young people, their families, and their teachers—your gift will help a local family build a place to call home!

Very early on in our conversation Deb stated “Habitat has done more for me than I have ever done for it”. She also referred to her various volunteer duties as “ways to get out of the house” and her “nights out." Listening to her gleefully bound between all of the different selfless deeds she has participated in really clarified how deeply fulfilled and satisfied volunteering makes Deb feel. Deb has the power to lend a hand wherever it is needed, with a smile on her face and a laugh in her heart. And the crazy thing is at the end of the day, she would probably thank you for letting her be a part of it. Thank you Debbie, for being a part of the Habitat Newburgh Family.

Habitat for Humanity has a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We understand that if we don’t stop to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments along the way, we may lose sight of our mission that brought us this far. The opportunity to build more than just homes with our community is cause for celebration. We work hard at work worth doing, and give thanks for the joy we find along the way.

Lynn Brown’s guiding scripture is Micah 6:8.
What does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
She says that to her, doing justice means working to ensure that everyone has food, clothing, and a decent place to live. That is why Habitat Newburgh’s work is an important part of how she puts her faith into action.

WOW. This #GivingTuesday, we had a goal to raise $15,000. You gave so generously that we more than DOUBLED that goal at $37,110.

It’s a dark reality in this season when, each day, the sun rises a bit later and sets a bit earlier than the day before, and when the hearts of many are dimmed with loneliness or the sorrow of loss.  It is also a time when diverse faith communities share ancient stories, songs and rituals of light that call us afresh into memory and celebration, community and service to others.

“From my perspective, the way to stabilize Newburgh is for residents to regain control of their city…Pride of homeownership would replace cynicism and neglect. Without the instability of frequent moves and the stress of dealing with housing that doesn’t meet their needs, families could finally put down roots and concentrate on their careers and their kids’ education. Neighbors could get to know one another and establish a stable community.”

Newburgh, NY (October 11, 2018) — The Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh is pleased to announce the appointment of Matthew Arbolino as the new Executive Director. Arbolino, a native of Newburgh, has served as Habitat Newburgh’s Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator for the past 2½ years.

Last year, Habitat homeowners and their neighbors formed the Broadway River District Neighborhood Association, and ever since they have been hard at work improving and advocating for the place that they call home. They were recently awarded a grant of $14,000 from the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI) for beautification projects on their blocks.

Volunteering, generally speaking, is done in people’s free time. Our volunteer spotlight this month is Jamie O'Shea, a volunteer who on the surface shouldn't have the time to volunteer with us, given his profession as an entrepreneur. When asked about this, Jamie told us, "People feel they don't have the time, but I feel I can find the time if I'm being honest with myself."

Thomas Carlyle’s observation about permanence, perseverance and persistence is apt for Habitat Newburgh’s staff, volunteer corps and leadership—for those who labor on building sites and committees, who provide hospitality and counsel partner families, who serve graciously at the ReStore, who witness in the community to the permanence, perseverance and persistence of this “Affiliate of Distinction.” We who, in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities, remain Habitat Newburgh Strong.

“It satisfies my creative side,” Pops told us. “But the cherry on top is seeing the families and what it means to them to get an affordable, safe house. The conditions some of the families are forced to live in is atrocious.” Aside from the opportunity to help people better their lives, Frank also calls us his “second family” because, “the camaraderie is like being a firefighter again.”

Volunteers build alongside future homeowner using lumber from iconic tree, which has been donated to Habitat Newburgh for the third consecutive year

This April marks two significant 50th anniversaries—the assassination of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (which is also known as the Fair Housing Act). To honor Dr. King’s legacy and to have a platform for continued deep conversations about the affordable housing crisis and obstacles to fair housing faced across our nation, Habitat International is spotlighting the role our work plays in creating Dr. King’s vision of a Beloved Community.

Martha Hasbrouck walks in the Habitat Newburgh Walk for Housing each year simply because of the great opportunity to help the community.

Martha was encouraged by a friend, Kathy, to participate in one of the first Walks for Housing, and she immediately got on board. “It was simple, and I thought to myself, why not?” she said. “It’s for a good cause.”

Habitat for Humanity’s mission statement reads, “Seeking to put God’s love into action, we build houses, community and hope.” Lately, I’ve added “joy” to the list. We speak of God, the liberator and lover of all. And, like Martin King, we welcome people of all faiths and quests, as together we seek to build the portion of the beloved community to which we are called in our own time and place.

The City of Newburgh holds a special place in Trish Tesman’s heart. That's why she's walking in Habitat Newburgh’s Walk for Housing on April 22, 2018.
“If we can help, we should help,” she said. “When people go on the Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Tour, we hear people tell stories of living conditions. We see that we have an obligation to help, and it’s beautiful to see that we do.”

Habitat Newburgh joined affiliates from across New York to speak to our state lawmakers about legislation that impacts our ability to help families achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable homeownership. Here is a rundown of the current issues that New York Habitat for Humanity is advocating about. As a volunteer, a supporter, a resident, and a voter, put your weight behind this legislative agenda and help Habitat build by using your voice!

Cathy Collins, Habitat Newburgh Executive Director, says, “We are so excited to be marking the milestone of our 90th completed house today. It is fitting that the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is being recycled and given new life as a part of this house, as this house is one of five gut rehabs that Habitat Newburgh is giving new life on this block. Thank you to our long-time partners at M&T Bank, and thank you to the many hearts and hands that went into building this house.”

Dear Santa,

We have been very good this year (and done a lot of good work)! We hope we might find these gifts under our tree to help us do our work at Overlook and South Miller Street in 2018:

The Fenwicks point to the homebuyer families as their #1 reason for continuing to volunteer. Their #2 reason? Kathy and Rich rave about the great people they get to work with, many of whom volunteer their time several times a week.

We're excited to receive a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, which means we're accountable, transparent, and financially healthy! Thank you for trusting us with your donations, your volunteer time, and your goodwill—we couldn't have received this top rating without YOU!

Each family, staff member, volunteer, and donor brings her/his own light to fulfilling our mission. Together we help families thrive, neighborhoods regain strength and health, and the community find its vibrancy. Our work cannot be done alone. It relies upon the beauty and brilliance of your individual light.

Unsurprisingly, Jane considers the biggest benefit to be working with families and fellow volunteers throughout the home buying process. Jane's skill set comes shining through when working with the families and colleagues, as she utilizes her positivity and attention to the Habitat for Humanity mission. As Jane puts it, volunteering with Habitat Newburgh "opens your eyes to the gifts every individual brings to the table in terms of building community."

Recent Earthquakes—Disaster Response:
After the earthquake of September 7th, which created an unprecedented devastation in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas and forced thousands of families to abandon their homes and communities, a new earthquake struck our country on September 19th now causing the loss of thousands of homes in Puebla, Morelos and Mexico City.

Habitat for Humanity Mexico is currently working on a rebuilding strategy of 500 homes in communities of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Morelos, Puebla and Xochimilco.

Let us be in prayer for all those affected by the shooting in Las Vegas.
Loving God, we come before you with questions that have no answers, with sadness that hangs heavy before us, and with hearts that are numb with disbelief. Even in such pain, however, we feel your presence. We know that your heart is also breaking.

Every year Habitat for Humanity joins our partners around the world to rededicate ourselves to recognizing the basic right of everyone to adequate shelter. Habitat for Humanity asks everyone to join together as one global network in communicating the message that every one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future, and that a decent place to live can remove barriers to opportunity, health and success that might have been part of a family’s life for years, and in many cases for generations.

Maureen has been a regular volunteer with Habitat Newburgh, where she has acted as a construction volunteer, paint captain, house captain, building and site selection committee member, and ReStore donations assistant. These days, you can find Maureen at the ReStore register. At the ReStore register, Maureen puts to use the skills she acquired at her first ever job as the toy department cashier at Bloomingdale's in Manhattan.

Deke says that his commitment to Habitat is rooted in his love of the diversity of people and hope that he sees in Newburgh. He says, "We are meeting a critical need. Ours is a very concrete, focused mission. At Habitat we have to negotiate a lot of things, but we never have to negotiate our mission. I look at the capacity that has been built in 15 years, and I think it's extraordinary."

He shares that his favorite Habitat moment ...he was sweeping the basement floor with a young man who turned out to be the son of the future homeowner. Tom remembers the innocence, happiness, and appreciation that the young man expressed when speaking about his family’s future home. This conversation has stayed with Tom, and continues to inspire him in his work with Habitat.

Want to do something for yourself? Try doing something for others!
When you volunteer...
1.) Your health benefits.
People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains and less disease.
Volunteering reduces stress, which is beneficial to your health and well-being.
Giving time to help others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease.

Evelyn says, "Many times when somebody mentions Newburgh it always seems to be negative. One of my hopes for my neighborhood is to stop focusing on the gang and gun violence, and start focusing on the artists who are trying to speak about these issues through their work. Another dream of mine for my community is to have more opportunities for young minority students. I myself am a winning this photography collection I hope to pave the way for future Hispanic photographers in my community."

When asked what keeps him coming back and why he enjoys volunteering, George said, "Habitat is like a family, including the rapport we've developed with the customers."

The work may be tough, but the compassion and support of the surrounding community helps to make the hard days more enjoyable. Each Wednesday and Saturday at 10 a.m., each staff member, volunteer, or Corps member puts down their tool or task to go to Community Coffee Break, where Newburghers of all ages gather around sweets and coffee to discuss Habitat projects, city happenings, or just to catch up with friends. There's an overwhelming sense of comradery in these cramped church basement gatherings; it's a pocket of sweetness in a struggling city, an ever evolving group of people who have dedicated themselves to returning Newburgh to a state of safety and dignity one home at a time.

Use your voice to stand up for Habitat! The President's budget outline would eliminate every federal program that helps Habitat for Humanity build here in our community and across the country.

“This award recognizes the collective commitment to excellence in carrying out our mission by everyone—volunteers, board, staff, supporters, homeowners—who is a part of the Habitat Newburgh family,” reflects Habitat Newburgh Executive Director Cathy Collins. “We are so grateful for this honor that recognizes our truly extraordinary community that is passionate about partnering with families to create strength, stability, and self-reliance through homeownership and building hope in this community.”

There is no minimum construction knowledge necessary to volunteer with our organization. In fact, some individuals who originally came to us with zero building experience have gained enough skills through their volunteering that they've gone on to renovate their own homes. Allen Galloway is not such a volunteer.

As a Neighborhood Revitalization affiliate, an important part of our work is community development—assessing assets and collaborating with local organizations and agencies to work together towards creating positive change.

When I was seven years old, I read a book about Martin Luther King Jr. and was immediately captivated. In 1972, that was unusual, particularly in a small town in Arkansas. I also did my high school senior thesis on him. To say he has had a profound influence on my life would be an understatement.

Because of you there are families that will now have a place to call home, a place where they can feel safe and secure, a place where their family will grow.

"Being involved in Habitat Newburgh has been so positive. My faith in people and my faith in God have been strengthened. It is amazing what you can accomplish."

On Saturday, December 10, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh celebrated with future homeowner families and dedicated two homes containing lumber from the 2015 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. The iconic tree will live on as a part of these two beautifully rehabbed homes that are a part of 4-house gut-rehab project on this block in partnership with the Newburgh Community Land Bank.

Looking back at 2016, this has been a busy, joyful year at Habitat Newburgh. We have continued many traditions, hosted many events, raised many dollars, explored exciting new innovations, strengthened community partnerships, built many houses, and celebrated with many homeowner families!