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Faith-Based Relations

FAITH-BASED RELATIONS

Background

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is part of a global, non-profit housing ministry that seeks to put God’s love into action by building homes, communities, and hope. Our Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties through constructing, rehabilitating, and preserving homes. We advocate for fair and just housing policies and providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman, and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity has an inclusive policy — all who believe that everyone needs a decent, affordable place to live are welcome to help with the work — regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views, or any of the other distinctions that all too frequently divide people. In short, Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds, and serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion. As a matter of policy, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliated organizations do not proselytize. This means that Habitat will not offer assistance based on the expressed or implied condition that people must either adhere to or convert to a particular faith, or listen and respond to messaging designed to induce conversion to a particular faith

Partnering Opportunities

Habitat provides many opportunities for diverse groups of people to work together to make affordable housing and better communities a reality for everyone — with faith-based organizations (churches, synagogues, mosques, temples) and Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity (RVHFH) partnering in our shared missions to help those in need.

The following are partnering opportunities where we work together to meet the needs of low-income families, seniors, disabled or veterans for affordable, decent and safe housing:

  • The Saturday or Sunday Build Program is the most well known, with the highest participation level of volunteering of all the Habitat programs. RVHFH just celebrated the completion of 50 homes built through volunteer support in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties since the organization’s inception. Groups from your congregation can sign up at RVHFH to build together. There are plenty of tasks for any age or skill level. Whether or not you have volunteers from your congregation working on a Saturday or Sunday Build, there are always opportunities to contribute bottles of water, coffee and donuts/bagels, and/or lunch for the volunteers.

Our homes could not be built without our Faith-Based volunteer groups on Saturdays or Sundays.  Up to 15 people can be accommodated per site, per day (8:30 am – 2:30 pm). Check out our Volunteering FAQs and Workday Details at www.rvhabitat.org for more information, along with Current Projects to find out where we are building now.

Contact Evanyini Hernandez at Marketing@rvhabitat.org or submit an application on-line by reviewing our Get Involved website page.

  • Family Support works with the new owners of each house to help them be successful in their first home ownership.  When the house is completed, RVHFH collects donations for sheets, towels, toasters, brooms, vacuum, lightly-used furniture and the like, to present to the family, along with the names and best wishes from all the donors. Contributing towards these necessities for our families, as they move into their first-time home, is a way many congregations partner with RVHFH.
  • Construction Materials for Build Projects. RVHFH has developed display boards for construction materials, to be used at faith-based fairs, fundraisers, etc., allowing congregants to purchase low to medium-priced items — including a can of paint, paint brushes, work gloves, several pieces of sheetrock, some 2 x 4’s, a window – or your choice.  Each item has a stack of cards with the price tag on them, along with blanks cards so you can write in your own donation amount.    These have been used as gifted donations for some congregations, i.e., the “gifted donor” will receive a card from RVHFH saying that a donation of paint, other building goods or $$ was donated in their name, towards construction of a new home as a birthday present, a holiday or a thank-you gift.  School children can work on a project to raise money to donate materials for the house as well. This has been a well-received partnering opportunity.

At times, families are looking for alternative options to donating flowers for the sanctuary. RVHFH can help provide beautifully wrapped baskets of building products and/or household goods – that are also sustainable gifts towards a new Habitat home.

  • Brush With Kindness is a new program initiated by Habitat at the national level, where we partner with faith-based congregations to do home repairs for low income, senior, disabled or veteran homeowners. The purpose of this work is to allow low-income families and seniors to stay in their existing homes, with the Congregation and RVHFH carrying out “handyman” repairs that help provide a decent, warm, safe, and dry place to live.

Congregations take the first step – identifying homeowners in need within their communities. The congregations then partner with RVHFH to select projects, but you maintain primary contact with the homeowners. The congregations will acquire donations of building materials, or funds to buy necessary materials. Habitat will donate their well-trained staff to provide construction expertise, and to complete the projects using experienced RVHFH volunteers working alongside faith- based community volunteers. A truly rewarding partnership!

  • Faith-Based Sponsorship. RVHFH continues to need to raise funds for the purchase of properties, to pay for building materials, finance mortgages for new homeowners, pay for full-time staff, including experienced project managers who work with all of the volunteers to guarantee that quality work is performed on the building sites and that it meets all codes/regulations.  RVHFH also continues to recruit corporate sponsors — who have their staff volunteer in team-building experiences — as well as provide corporate contributions for materials, staff, etc. to help RVHFH build homes that are needed in the communities in which their corporate sponsors reside.   RVHFH does not want to compete with other not-for-profit organizations for fundraising, but rather find a way to partner for the overall good of many in our communities, and still meet the financial requirements for continued construction of new homes.

Many of the congregations’ Mission, Mitzvah or Social Action Committees have charitable organizations (such as food pantries, health support, human rights, housing, etc.), meeting important needs within their communities that they support with a donation on an annual or other basis.  RVHFH is a designated organization for many of those, and would welcome the opportunity to serve as one of your congregation’s outreach programs. RVHFH has several approaches for recognizing varying levels of support from our Faith-Based Sponsors – including a listing on our website, e-mail newsletter and /or other publications; sponsorship of Builds, Home Dedications and the like; as well as providing articles and photos of partnering projects with your congregation for your publications and RVHFH news outlets.

  • Faith-Based Relations Committee is always looking for volunteers to be outreach representatives to the congregations in the Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity region.  This committee meets once a month to discuss project progress and coordinate volunteer activities, with Builds and Congregation Fairs. This is a vital need in the organization, as well as a rewarding volunteer opportunity.
  • RVHFH Presentations. Members of the Faith-Based Relations Committee and the Executive Director are available for presentations, to groups or at fairs, regarding any of the Partnering Opportunities for Congregations and RVHFH programs/activities

To volunteer and/or request additional information, please contact Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity at www.rvhabitat.org