Archive for month: November, 2018

Restoring Our Putnam County Commitment 

A Message from Shawn Means, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam:

Thanks in part to the presence of the Teays Valley ReStore, Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam has made significant strides toward better serving Putnam County over the past two years after a long period of dormancy in the County. Since building our latest Putnam County house in Hurricane in 2014, our efforts to provide Putnam County families with homeownership opportunities had slowed dramatically because of the availability of affordable land on which to build. With decreased building activity came decreased visibility and community awareness, and so the number of people who applied for Habitat’s housing program also declined. The opening of the Teays Valley ReStore two years ago has helped Habitat regain the community awareness and has helped us reconnect with potential applications and donors. The results are tangible

  • Applications to Habitat’s homeownership program from Putnam County residents has increased by approximately 30% in the past two years.
  • Shortly after the Teays Valley ReStore opened – no doubt in part because of the increased visibility that the ReStore provides — a Putnam County land owner donated a building lot in the Scott Depot area that will be the home of a Habitat homebuyer in the near future.
  • Because of this renewed interest, Habitat is currently seeking funding for the preliminary design work on a new development near Bancroft that might provide building sites for as many as 18 single family homes, providing much needed workforce housing to the area north of the Kanawha River.
  • In 2017 Habitat held its first Putnam-centric fundraising event in over 20 years. The “Building Habitat’s Future” luncheon at Sleepy Hollow raised more than $15,000.

In addition to raising funds for home construction, the Teays Valley ReStore is an important outpost for Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha and Putnam, providing it with a vital connection to the community.

We are thankful to the ReStore team, shoppers and donors who have helped make these first two years a tremendous success.

The Master Homeowner Program

Master Homeowner 2018
A unique education program creating successful homeowners.

When Terri bought her first home, she quickly realized that she had no idea how to operate a house. Terri learned quickly how much she didn’t know about being a homeowner. She had no idea that she needed to change her furnace filter until after a costly repair visit from the HVAC repairman. She didn’t know how to winterize her home, who to call if she had an electrical problem or how do diagnose a plumbing leak.

Master Homeowner“When I heard that Habitat Homebuyers receive in-depth training on how to be a successful homeowner, I thought, ‘Why hasn’t anyone offered that to people like me?'” 

Terri’s story is common. People who buy a home through conventional means receive no training in the functions and operations of their new home. The fortunate ones have a friend or a relative who can show them the ropes, but many more are left adrift without any direction or do-it-yourself know-how. By knowing how a home operates, homeowners are able to maintain the value of their home and save money by preventing costly repairs.

Curriculum Overview

The centerpiece of the Master Homeowner Program is a series of nine classes held weekly in Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam’s Homeowner Education and Community Center. In addition to the nine classes, the program also requires participants to complete a nine-week financial and debt management course: Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Homeowners are required to perform home maintenance tasks as homework to demonstrate learned skills.

To earn a Master Homeowner Certificate, homeowners must complete each of the following hands-on classes:

Homeowner’s Toolbox:
Homeowners learn what basic tools are needed for common tasks in and around the house and learn how to use the tools properly.

Home & Neighborhood Safety:
Homeowners learn to identify potential threats to their property and learn the best practices in reporting and deterring security risks.

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Neighborhood Relations:
Homeowners learn the importance of forming positive relationships with their close neighbors and the wider community, thus being empowered to improve their neighborhood.

Legal & Insurance Issues:
Homeowners learn from an attorney how to make the best insurance decisions, why estate planning is important and how not to become a victim of predatory lending. Homebuyers learn about the legal documents they will sign when they purchase a home.

Home Electrical Basics: Homeowners learn the functions of a basic residential electrical system. This class teaches practical electrical safety, energy usage in the home and how to hire an electrician if one is needed.

save money

Home Maintenance:
Homeowners learn why it is important to maintain their home and the consequences if they do not. Students learn where to begin, what to look for, and in some circumstances how to perform maintenance that will keep the value of their investment intact.

Home Fire Safety & Prevention:
Homeowners learn the most common causes of house fires, how to prevent fires and what to do in case of fire. This class teaches participants, hands on, how to use fire extinguishers and properly place them in the home.

Basic Household Plumbing:
Homeowners learn how their home plumbing system works, where to check for leaks and how to prevent clogs. This class identifies common problems with household plumbing systems.

Home Energy Efficiency:
Homeowners learn energy efficiency concepts, the advantages of controlling the conditioned air in their homes and how to identify and eliminate energy waste.

Cost to Participants

In order to make the Master Homeowner Program available to a wide audience, there is a fee to cover the cost of printed materials pertaining to each class. Each class costs $10.

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Classes are offered in two cycles per year. If you miss a class during the current fall 2018 session — and that’s okay — then you will automatically be registered for the next cycle of classes.

Program Evaluation

The Master Homeowner Program curriculum is evaluated after each cycle of classes using two evaluation methods: after-class surveys and comparison of pre and post-class test scores. It is the goal of the program to ensure that only effective instructors are utilized, and that all materials appear relevant to the participants. If instructors or class information is deemed sub-standard, improvements are made.

How the Master Homeowner Program Came to Be

The Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam staff and Board of Directors committed itself in 2014 to offering the most comprehensive homeownership education possible. Not wishing to reinvent the wheel, Habitat’s staff began reviewing commercially available education resources, but found all of them lacking. While there were many educational resources marketed under the general heading of “homeownership education,” they were all primarily concerned with leading someone through the process of buying a home, covering topics like finding a realtor and securing a mortgage. The small amount of home maintenance training in those courses imparted very little practical information. After an exhaustive search, Habitat decided to create its own program. janie hamilton

The development of the program began with the assistance of adult education professionals who helped Habitat staff understand the basics of adult education and the importance of a professionally designed and administered program. Realizing that no one on its staff had the requisite skills to design and run such a program, Habitat hired Janie Hamilton, who had a strong background in adult education.

Janie spent the the better part of a year developing the program from scratch. Working with an advisory panel that included individuals from disciplines related to homeownership and adult education, she established learning objectives and mapped those objectives to classroom instruction materials. Pre and post tests were developed to provide program effectiveness metrics. Nine key homeownership elements were identified as the core of the program. These were developed into classes that provide homeowners with the basic skills needed to maintain the condition and value of their largest investment: their home.

Recognizing that homeownership training could be a benefit Habitat could offer to the entire community – not just its own homebuyers – The Master Homeowner Program was opened in 2016 to allow any current or aspiring homeowner to participate. Most Master Homeowner Program participants have been people outside the Habitat for Humanity program.

For more information on our classes, contact Janie Hamilton.
304-720-0141 ext. 18

The Kanawha Valley Board of Realtors Continues its Partnership with Habitat

The Kanawha Valley Board of Realtors Donates $1,000 and dozens of volunteers to help Habitat wrap up its 2018 construction season.

Over two dozen members of the Kanawha Valley Board of Realtors are working with Habitat for Humanity right now to get the inside of a new home ready for a local homebuyer. The volunteers are installing drywall along North Hills Drive in Charleston. This is the third year that the Board has partnered with Habitat and made a sizable donation to purchase construction materials.Realtors

The Kanawha Valley Board of Realtors is a local real estate trade association which represents hundreds of local Realtors, appraisers and affiliate members throughout the Kanawha Valley. KVBR provides leadership for the Realtor community by protecting the interests of its members, promoting their value to the real estate consumer, setting its members to the highest standards of professionalism and advocating private property rights.

Ann Boggs, Executive Vice President of the Kanawha Valley Board of Realtors, encourages Board members to participate annually in projects that help the community. Habitat for Humanity’s Development Director, William Andreas, has worked with the Board for years to help its members get involved. “The mission of Habitat isn’t just to build houses, it’s to build relationships and offer members of the community a meaningful way to give back and get involved,” Andreas says.

Click HERE to make a secure, online financial contribution.