By Belinda M. Paschal
TROY — Habitat for Humanity of Miami County is about more than just building houses. Though the agency’s ultimate goal is to help its partner families attain a better station in life through home ownership, Habitat is refocusing its mission to serve more families.
“Building homes is only part of the equation,” said Bill Horstman, Habitat’s executive director. “We’re trying to paint a broader picture. Times change and we need to adapt. Our mission is still to serve families, but to do that in a broader sense.”
“It takes a fair amount of management and planning, and just letting the community know we’re about more than just building houses.
Essentially, Habitat functions like five businesses in one, Horstman said.
For one, it’s a construction company, one that helps families build their houses and also runs the A Brush With Kindness (ABWK) program. ABWK takes on smaller projects such as painting, installing handicapped ramps and weatherization.
“The smaller projects are a little easier done,” Horstman said. “We can do 10 of those in the time it takes to build one house, so essentially, we’re serving 11 families at once.”
Habitat also serves as a real estate company. “We can’t build a house unless we have land,” Horstman said. “We’re always trying to find better ways to secure properties.”
“We’re also in the family services business,” Horstman noted. As a social service agency, Habitat works with other nonprofit organizations to find suitable candidates for Habitat’s services, as well as referring families to other services “to meet some of their more immediate needs,” Horstman said.
Habitat’s fourth business, he said, is a bank — that is, acting as the mortgage service for all the homes the organization has helped to build over the years.
Last, but not least, there’s the retail business represented by the ReStore, the agency’s home improvement outlet store that sells donated new and gently-used merchandise at 50-75 percent below retail, making home improvement possible for many who could not otherwise afford it.
A task team has been assembled and a business plan devised to expand the ReStore in the coming year, as its current location — 150 E. Race St. in Troy — has been maximized, Horstman said.
“We think there’s a market out there, based on our current sales and from talking to customers,” he said. “We’ve been in this location a little over four years and sales have continued to climb, thanks to our ReStore manager Sharon McGill.”
The ReStore is open noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
For more information about Miami County Habitat for Humanity and its services, call (937) 332-3763 or visit www.hfhmco.org.
Belinda M. Paschal can be reached at (937) 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.