Archive for category: Habitat for Humanity

GuideStar’s Highest Seal of Transparency

Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam today earned the 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information.

By sharing metrics that highlight the progress Habitat is making toward our mission, we are giving our donors the best possible means of evaluating how their donations are being used.

“In accordance with our long-held belief in being transparent about our work,” said Shawn Means, “we are excited to convey our organization’s results in a user-friendly and highly visual manner. We can now easily share a wealth of up-to-date organizational metrics with our supporters, donors, peers, and the media.”

View Habitat’s GuidStar Listing by Clicking Here!

Saying Goodbye to Bill

Bill Andreas

After five productive years of raising support for Habitat’s work, Development Director William “Bill” Andreas is moving to North Carolina to be nearer to family. Bill’s last day with Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam was March 3.

Bill started with Habitat in 2014 after moving to West Virginia from Fort Wayne, Indiana where he had spent many years working for Easterseals. During His five-year stopover in Charleston, Bill helped expand Habitat’s signature annual fundraising event “A Taste of… in Charleston” where each year a restaurant from hours away comes to Charleston for one evening in support of Habitat’s mission. He created the “TGIF Builder’s Club” that helped bring out an additional 300 volunteers each year, and Habitat’s Legacy Society, a planned-giving program.

As one of his final achievements with Habitat, Bill helped secure an Affordable Housing Program grant that will help complete the North Hills Drive neighborhood on which Habitat has been working for the last several years.

Bill is moving south to be closer to his family. He says he is excited to watch his 15-month-old granddaughter grow and spend time with his son and daughter-in-law. He will be living in Wilmington, North Carolina and spending his free time fishing the waters of the Atlantic. If you go looking for Bill, you will find him smiling on Carolina Beach with a fishing pole in hand.

Eliminating Debt & Empowering Homeowners

Habitat for Humanity empowers future homeowners to successfully own and maintain a home. One such way we achieve this is by teaching our Habitat partners about financial responsibility. We use a proven course that started out as a small class taught in a church. From that, Financial Peace University was born. Twenty years after the course was developed, its creator, Dave Ramsey, continues to teach people God’s way of handling money. Lisa, a recent course graduate says, “Dave explains so much about money and how to handle it the way God intended. You will learn a lot about money.”

debt free familyRamsey is a personal money-management expert and popular national radio personality. His seven best-selling books – Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, EntreLeadership, The Complete Guide to Money, Legacy Journey and Smart Money Smart Kids – have sold more than 10 million copies combined.

Through video teaching, class discussions and interactive small group activities, the Financial Peace University course presents practical, biblical steps to win with money. You’ll learn how to walk out of debt, build significant savings, and leave a lasting legacy for your family, church, and community. You will also learn the truth about credit cards and credit bureaus, how marketing can sway your spending decisions, what insurance you actually need, and how to plan for college and retirement.

The cost of the nine-week course is $75 dollars. Habitat homebuyers get a rebate once they complete all nine classes. Kelli, a current Habitat homebuyer says, “The great thing is you pay for the class, but get back so much more.”

The course is structured around a seven-step plan.

  • Step 1: Save $1000 in a beginner emergency fund76% of Homeowners live paycheck to paycheck.
  • Step 2: Pay off all debt, except mortgage
  • Step 3: Put three to six months of expenses in savings
  • Step 4: Invest 15% of your household income into retirement
  • Step 5: Save for your children’s college
  • Step 6: Pay off your mortgage early
  • Step 7: Build Wealth and Give

Course instructor, Janie Hamilton, says that each step is achievable, but moving from step one to step seven takes time. “It can take three to four years before you make it past step three, but it can be done,” Hamilton explains.

The Financial Peace University course is offered twice a year on Monday nights at the John L. Dickinson Homeowner Education Center at 815 Court Street in Charleston. Each class runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. If you miss a class, you can make it up during the next course offering.

Schedule & Lessons

• Lesson 1 –  Super Saving
• Lesson 2 – Relating With Money
• Lesson 3 – Cash Flow Planning
• Lesson 4 – Dumping Debt
• Lesson 5 – Buyer Beware
• Lesson 6 – The Role of Insurance
• Lesson 7 – Retirement and College Planning
• Lesson 8 – Real Estate and Mortgages
• Lesson 9 – The Great Misunderstanding

For more information, including cost, or to purchase your class materials and register, contact Janie Hamilton directly at 304-720-0141 ext. 18 or email Janie at

1 Year of Support

March 8: International Women’s Day

Celebrating Women Volunteers

March 8, 2019 is International Women’s Day. As part of the mission of Habitat for Humanity, we engage community members to give them volunteer opportunities. Most of our construction volunteers are men, but we do see our fair share of women on Habitat job sites. Many of our Habitat Homebuyers are women, and many are single women raising children on their own.

girls groupWe want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank our female volunteers who lend their time, talent, voice, and support to Habitat for Humanity. We also want to commend our female homebuyers for their dedication to bettering the lives of their families.

Homeownership empowers women here in West Virginia and around the world. Owning an affordable home can remove barriers to opportunity and success and lead to improved health, stronger childhood development, and financial stability.

This International Women’s Day, take some time out to recognize the women in your life that are working hard to better the world around them.


Volunteer opportunities are available. Click here to view Habitat’s Construction Calendar or call the Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Hotline at 304-720-4470 to learn more.


Master Homeowner Tips: Being a Good Neighbor

It’s easy to be a good neighbor if you love where you live.

Maintain your domain.

Take a walk across the street and look at your property. Is it an advertisement for home repair services? Aside from old cars on blocks, avoid leaving toys in the yard, mow your lawn regularly, and fix any broken fence gate that goes clink-clank in the night. These little nuisances won’t make you friends.

Don’t blare the tunes.

Everyone loves a good party, but watch the volume when you crank up the music. If you plan on having a bash, let your neighbors know, so if they want, they can choose to have a quiet evening at home another night.

Keep an eye on Fido.

If your dog spends time in the backyard, be mindful if he’s a barker (as a rule, don’t let a barking dog woof it up for more than two minutes). If your yard isn’t fully fenced in, make sure your pooch doesn’t take his bathroom breaks on your neighbor’s lawn.

Make yourself helpful.

If you know your next-door neighbor is taking off to Japan, offer to collect her packages or mail until she gets back. If you’re sweeping your sidewalk, keep going and sweep hers, too.

Don’t drive like a maniac.

Keep it light on the gas pedal. Always be mindful of children, bikers, and runners. Think about safety.

Smile and say hello.

Make a habit of taking a stroll after dinner. Offer a smile. Strike up a conversation. Tell someone you like their garden. Or just give a small wave. Send out some good vibes and you’ll definitely get some in return.

If you ever decide to build a fence, confer with your neighbor first, and purchase one that’s attractive on both sides.

If you’d like to learn more about being a good neighbor, check out our Master Homeowner Class, Neighborhood Relations.

Master Homeowner Program

Fayetteville Comes to Charleston

Tiny Fayetteville, West Virginia, with a population of less than 3,000, has to be the per-capita state champion of food. There are so many fantastic locally-owned restaurants in this one small town that it boggles the mind.

Pies and Pints (which began in Fayetteville before spreading to 13 locations in six other states) still serves their amazing craft pizzas right there on Maple Avenue, and just down the hill on Keller Avenue you will find Secret Sandwich Society serving to-die-for sandwiches, burgers and salads to anyone lucky enough to get a table. Over on Court Street, The Cathedral Café, a Fayetteville institution, serves – among other things – fantastic breakfasts featuring their one-of-a-kind Sweet Potato Pancakes. Up the hill from Cathedral is Wood Iron Eatery, the new kids in town, serving wonderfully creative breakfasts and lunches with a California spin. Throw in a cute little ice cream called The Stache (where you can pose for a picture with your ice cream mustache) and, rumor has it, a new noodle restaurant called New River Curry House, and you have all the makings of a culinary wonderland just an hour’s drive from Charleston, and all within short walking distance of each other.

And perhaps the crown jewel in this culinary treasure chest is The Station: A casual fine-dining restaurant that features craft cocktails and a local farm-to-table vibe. Sitting right there on Court Street, at the threshold of the historic district, The Station offers discriminating diners Appalachian-inspired comfort food prepared with a mix of local and regionally sourced ingredients. From Artisan Cheese Plates, to Roasted Beet Salad, to Bangers and Mash, to Shepherd’s Pie, to Pastas and Curry, a visit to The Station is sure to please the pickiest palate.

The Station’s credo is all about local: “We believe that people have a growing interest in knowing where their food comes from and how it is produced,” says co-owner Amy Summerford. “We also believe in eating food that is produced in a way that is kind to what is being produced, where it is being produced, and to whom is producing it. Therefore we strive to create unique and delicious meals using thoughtfully sourced local ingredients that are respectfully and skillfully prepared. We delight in nourishing our customers while supporting our local economy because we believe it is the right thing to do and because it makes us happy.”

It makes a lot of people happy. And on February 20, Habitat for Humanity is happy to bring The Station to town for one night only for this year’s iteration of our annual fundraiser, “A Taste of The Station in Charleston.”

Join us! You can purchase tickets online at

Partnering with Habitat for a Better Life

“If I hadn’t found Habitat, we would still be in that one-bedroom apartment, and it wasn’t the best of conditions.

There was an old electric stove, and depending on what you were doing, you’d get shocked. The dryer was always going out, and we had to hang clothes all over the house. It seemed really quiet when we were looking for a place, but then over time, there was a lot of violence. There was actually a homicide in our building. It’s those things that put a lot of stress on people, and we were definitely feeling that.

I didn’t think I was going to qualify, but they considered my situation a dire need: four people in one bedroom, having the issues that we were having.

I had no idea that I was capable of doing a lot of the things we ended up doing. I loved it. For over a year, I was working full time, plus doing sweat equity to build my future home. I was also enrolled in Habitat’s Master Homeowner Program.  It taught me everything I needed to know to maintain my home for life.

Monday evening I took classes at Habitat’s education center, and I put in my construction hours on the weekends.

Habitat Family

While constructing my house, I got to know my neighbors. We built each other’s homes, and you can’t get much closer than that.

The biggest difference overall is that general sense of security. Just knowing that it’s ours, and we make all the decisions — it’s been really comforting for our family. I think the kids knowing that they won’t have to move is very comforting. We’ve made a lot of moves over the years — 13, in fact. I know my son really appreciates having his room. Having his space, his own room — he really likes it a lot.

You know, I think I was more scared buying a car than buying the house. The only reason for that was Habitat for Humanity. I feel really comforted knowing that, if anything were to happen, Habitat would work with me. So I didn’t feel scared, just willing.

When I went to sign all the official paperwork, and they hand you the real keys and the title and everything, that’s when I was like, “This is happening. This is now my house, and these are my keys.”

We moved in right away, that next weekend, and even with boxes all over the place it felt like, “This is my house.”

A Fond Farewell to Amy

After 11 years with Habitat for Humanity, ReStore Director Amy McLaughlin announced last fall she would be resigning as ReStore Director at the end of 2018.

Since starting with Habitat in 2007, Amy used her extensive retail experience and expertise to create one of the premier ReStores in the nation, one that consistently has sales of over one-million dollars per year.

Amy spearheaded a massive remodel of the Charleston ReStore in 2008, creating a new storefront, designing a back parking lot with a functional rain garden, expanding the sales floor, and air conditioning the building. More than just changing the physical space though, she also professionalized the ReStore operation to make it more efficient and donor-friendly.

Perhaps Amy’s greatest accomplishment while at Habitat was raising awareness of the ReStore and its mission by developing new programs and partnerships. Projects like  the Double Take Art Show, the ReDesign Art Internship, and many mural projects throughout the ReStore helped cement a bond with the local arts community. McLaughlin also worked with the WV Department of Environmental Protection to develop the state’s first recycled latex paint program in 2012.

In 2016, when Habitat’s board of directors recommitted itself to more fully serving Putnam County, McLaughlin helped Habitat expand its Putnam County presence by creating the Teays Valley ReStore – a unique boutique-style ReStore. Her vision of a unique store is paying off. The Teays Valley ReStore continues to exceed its sales goals month after month. Amy was also an important part of the team that created the Homeowner Education & Community Center that now houses Habitat’s Master Homeowner Program.

McLaughlin’s most measurable success, however, is in the growth of ReStore sales. Under her watch, ReStore sales went from $250,000 a year to well over $1,000,000 a year. McLaughlin says this is her greatest accomplishment concerning her time overseeing the ReStore.

“I’ve met my goals, and I succeeded. I can move on knowing that I accomplished what I set out to do here,” McLaughlin says. “I leave knowing that both ReStores are well prepared to continue to flourish and grow.”

Beginning January 1, Amy will begin working full-time growing Lafayette Flats, the Fayetteville vacation rental business that she owns with her husband, Habitat Executive Director Shawn Means.

Amy will be missed, but her influence will be felt at Habitat for years to come. The legacy she leaves is one of a successful ReStore that raises enough money each year to build three or four homes for people in need.

A Taste of The Station in Charleston

February 20, 2019
6:00 p.m.
The Clay Center

Tickets are $100 each
Two for $175

Click Here for Tickets

This February, Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam gives you the chance to escape the cold and dine with one of the state’s finest gourmet restaurants. As we’ve done in the past, we’re bringing one of the West Virginia’s most talked about restaurants to Charleston. This year we’ve chosen to host The Station from Fayetteville at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences.

Many people have a growing interest in knowing where their food comes from and how it is produced. That is why this year – Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam is bringing The Station to Charleston.

Three friends whose common love for the West Virginia farm to table movement came together to form The Station restaurant in Fayettevile. Their goal: to build a restaurant that serves and educates its customers about local, seasonal food and beverages.

The Station is known for incorporating seasonal produce in its dishes. Like Habitat, The Station’s owners are committed to helping the community in which they live and work. By supporting local farmers, The Station works to boost Fayette County’s local economy – which means that more West Virginia communities thrive. Everyone can agree that this allows our friends, our neighbors, and ourselves to enjoy a comfortable and happy life.

Now it’s your chance to experience The Station.

The Grand Lobby of The Clay Center will fill with food, music and members of our community as we showcase its veteran chef’s creations for you to enjoy. The evening will feature several popular dishes, wine and spirits, as well as a signature cocktail.

Tickets are $100, or two for $175.

The Station Menu

Click Here to Purchase Tickets

Questions about sponsorship opportunities? 
Use the form below to contact us today!

Home for the Holidays: Celebrating Tausha’s Success

At Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam, we believe everyone deserves a decent, affordable place to live.

We build houses alongside hardworking community members and then sell those houses with a no-profit, affordable mortgage. We prepare each homebuyer to be successful homeowners. Each Habitat partner must meet certain income and credit qualifications, attend homebuyer education classes and help build their future home. It is hard work, but it pays off! Our partners don’t just build strength and stability for themselves, but for their entire community. Together, we build a better Kanawha Valley.

Meet Tausha

Tausha found out about Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam’s homeownership program from friends. Word of mouth spreads fast when there is a dire need for safe housing.

Tausha came to Habitat because she and her children lived in an unsafe neighborhood on Charleston’s west side. Numerous shootings are reported annually within blocks of her previous home.  With three children, one of whom has special needs, Tausha feared what would happen if her children were to play outside. She was forced to keep them inside most of the time, and that’s no life for a developing child.

Since partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam in spring 2018, Tausha has excelled through the program.  She completed the required 18 weeks of homebuyer education and financial training without missing a class, and completed her sweat equity hours after only one year in the program. She worked weekly to build her house, saying that her motivation is the dream of life in a good neighborhood.

“Habitat will let me live stress-free knowing my neighborhood is safe and my kids have a stable home.”

Tausha takes great pride in what she is doing to better her family. Hoping her children can look back on this time and see how hard their mother worked to provide them with a stable and safe home, she documented her journey through photographs and Instagram posts. She wants to share her story not only with her children, but also with her community.  Tausha says that she wants to spread the hope that Habitat has given her, and she enjoys telling other’s about what it takes to partner with Habitat.

Tausha signed her mortgage paperwork one week before Christmas, and the same day she started moving her family into her brand new home. Now, she and her children will no longer have to worry about crime right outside their doorstep. Also, because Tausha’s mortgage is 0%-interest, she will be able to build equity in her home quickly – providing the strong financial foundation she has wanted for so long for her children.


If you would like to apply for partnership with Habitat for Humanity, CLICK HERE to take our short pre-qualification quiz — or call Anne Plott, Homeownership Program Director, at 304-720-0141 ext. 12.

Click HERE to make a secure, online financial contribution.