The Cost of Home - Habitat's First National Advocacy Campaign
Safe homes. Nutritious food on the table. Health care. Access to good schools. Reliable transportation. Which would you choose?
Families all across the United States are paying too high a price to cover the cost of their home. Rents and homeownership costs are skyrocketing, while wages are not keeping pace. Far too often, families struggle to make ends meet. Everywhere you look—cities, suburbs, rural areas—the stability that home should bring remains out of reach for too many families. At Habitat for Humanity, we know that a family should never have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on a home. But consider that today over 19 million U.S. households pay half or more of their income on a place to live.
That is unacceptable.
Over the next five years, we commit to mobilizing our local Habitat organizations, our partners, our volunteers and community members across the country to find the solutions and help create the policies that will allow 10 million individuals to meet their most basic needs.
American Rescue Plan Act
Thanks to federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), we have the opportunity for historic support for housing in Michigan. Our 48 affiliates and state support office are ready to work together to utilize ARPA funding to help more Michiganders access safe, decent, affordable housing.
A Note from our Former President and CEO, Sandy Pearson
"We are learning advocacy is as important today as it has been in any other time in history. Speaking up and putting a voice to an injustice matters. The truth is, advocacy is simple because it means saying out loud and joining together what you know to be right. That stirring in your belly and the feeling of passion that has your inside on fire.
We, the people, need to step up and do the right things for the right reasons in every aspect of our lives – at home, at work, and to be in service to one another. The more we talk, listen, and take time for relationships, the better we will understand and help one another.
I have met incredible people around the world and everybody ultimately strives for the same thing. They need a roof over their head and a safe place to call home. They need an income-earning job to provide for themselves and their family. They need proper education for their children and their health. Above all, they need a supportive environment that allows them to achieve these things. That’s it.
What I love the most about Habitat is that we are an inclusive, volunteer-based organization that joins people together from all walks of life. We don't segment each other by race, class, ethnicity, income level, profession, religion, and political preference. When we are solving housing issues side by side, we are equal."
Bills We Proudly Supported
House Bill 4812 (2021)
In 2008, Habitat for Humanity throughout Michigan joined together and worked with then Senator Mark Jansen and other legislators to offer relief to our partner families and expand their ability to afford a Habitat home. Back then, affiliates were selling the home for the amount of the buyer’s first mortgage. Local property tax assessors were assessing the property taxes at the higher, appraised value of the home. The passage of PA 340 provided that local tax assessors assess qualified properties purchased from nonprofits on the affordable first mortgage instead of the appraised value of the home. The way it’s written, though, is now outdated. When this bill was passed, Habitat was setting the purchase price equal to the first mortgage amount. Now we set the purchase price equal to the appraised value of the property.
Our goal was to have the text of the bill rewritten to clarify the intent, which is that the property should be assessed at the first mortgage amount, not the appraised amount, which will bring the property taxes in line with what’s affordable for the eligible, qualified homebuyer.
This bill was passed in July 2022 and was signed into law as Public Act 156 of 2022.
House Bill 5182 (2013)
An act that ensures charitable nonprofit housing organization’s unoccupied properties are exempt from property taxes. Once a homeowner partner occupies the property, then property taxes resume. This helps our affiliates allocate more money into assisting families within their community.
House Bill 5786 (2010)
An act that ensures charitable nonprofit housing organization’s retail stores are exempt from property taxes. This assists our affiliates and ReStores with keeping operational costs low so more financial impact can be made in the community.