If Savannah is good at one thing, it’s finding a way to raise a glass while raising some money.
The third annual Hops of Habitat will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at Coastal Empire Beer Co.. For the price of admission, guests receive three Coastal Empire beer tickets, unlimited Big Bon pizza and all-you-can-handle entertainment from local band Soap.
All the funds raised support Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity program to help partner-families purchase their own homes.
Families have to meet income and other financial qualifications and the partner family must put in 20 hours of sweat equity a month, which means volunteering on a construction site or at ReStore, totaling 350 hours prior to closing on the home, according to Habitat. They must also have money set aside for closing costs. If they complete the program successfully, the house they purchase will have a no-interest mortgage, with Habitat as the lender.
Jennifer Ratner, fundraising and marketing manager for Habitat, also notes the importance of raising the issue of housing inequality in our area. “On average, a one bedroom apartment in Chatham County is about $870, which means that a person making minimum wage has to work 92 hours a week to avoid being cost burdened,” she said. “And of course, the rent and the amount of time needed to work goes up with two and three bedroom apartments. There are a lot of benefits of owning a house. The quality of life goes up for the family. Home ownership positively affects health outcomes, owners are more likely to advance in their careers or be able to pursue higher education, and children do better at school because of the stable environment a home provides.”
It also bolsters the economy of the region. Habitat homeowners contribute over $175,000 in property taxes to Savannah/Chatham County annually. Because of Habitat Savannah’s efforts, 148 families, representing 154 adults and 304 children, own safe, affordable and energy-efficient homes, she said.
“An individual or group can volunteer on one of our construction sites or at the ReStore (701 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.). People can donate their furniture, appliances and other home goods. In March of each year, we set aside about two weeks for ‘Women Build,’ where local women volunteer to build a Habitat home in the community. We have a lot of ways people can get involved with Habitat,” Ratner added.