As a nonprofit organization that is recognized around the globe, many people know Habitat for Humanity for building houses for those in need. For the chapter in northwest Harris County, homebuilding is just the beginning.
“We offer educational classes, we have a mentorship program, we do home demolition and we run a ReStore as well,” said Soleil Watt, who has been the executive director of Habitat for Humanity NW Harris County for six years. “We partner up with people in our community to make a positive impact.”
Since its inception in 1989, the chapter has built 230 homes, Watt said. On Dec. 5, the group celebrated the opening of Hammill Crossing, a 37-home community at the northeast corner of Grant and Jones roads.
Watt emphasized that the program is a hand-up, not a hand-out.
“Our homeowners pay a mortgage,” she said. “They work really hard for it, and there is a sense of pride that comes with that.”
To be considered for a home, applicants must first attend an orientation before going through a rigorous process that involves graduating from Habitat University and helping build homes for their neighbors
“It’s by design that we do that,” Watt said. “It builds a sense of community and teaches them skills they need to know.”
Habitat is funded in part by sponsors, which can include individuals, corporations and churches. Funding also comes from the ReStore—a store selling furniture and home materials at discounted prices. Many items at the ReStore are donated by partners.
Watt said she is grateful for the community partners that have pitched in to help make a better community.
“We can say we are changing lives one home at a time,” she said.