Donation helps families hold onto homes during stay home order

Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties receives $5,000 to offer mortgage relief to Habitat homeowners

VISALIA – Owning a home is one of the best financial decisions you can make. It is also the most expensive investment and the hardest to hold onto during an economic crisis.

Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties understands the barriers to homeownership for low income families and has spent the last 26 years helping to build them homes and keep up their homes. The organization recently received a $5,000 contribution from Thrivent, a national financial services organization, to provide mortgage relief to Habitat homeowners who need temporary assistance making their mortgage payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Thrivent’s support, Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties will help keep homeownership costs affordable for four to six families in Tulare/Kings Counties who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID.

Prior to the spread of the novel coronavirus, more than 18 million households across the U.S. were paying half or more of their income on a place to live. As the pandemic continues to cause job disruption and economic fallout, many households are enduring layoffs, unemployment, and pay cuts. This wage loss has amplified the financial burden on households to maintain essential payments and can result in families having to trade-off between bills, mortgage, or medical care.

“As we deal with the fall-out from COVID, it is crucial to continue to work to provide stable and affordable homes for our neighbors,” executive director Dirk Holkeboer said. “Our community will recover when everyone has the solid foundation of a secure place to call home.”

Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties is one of 100 local Habitat organizations across the nation partnering with Thrivent to help families stay in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, Thrivent is donating $750,000 to Habitat for Humanity to assist with mortgage-related relief and prevent foreclosures across the U.S.

“This year has been incredibly difficult for many people as financial hardship has added stress and anxiety to daily lives,” said Nikki Sorum, senior vice president of Thrivent Advisors. “This pandemic has underscored how important it is for people to have safe, affordable homes. Given all we have endured in 2020, we are especially honored to provide financial support to Habitat for Humanity to help people stay in their homes so they can continue to build toward financial stability.”

Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent began their partnership in 2005. Over the past 15 years, Thrivent and their clients have contributed more than $275 million to Habitat and have partnered with families to build safe, affordable homes across the U.S. and around the world. Locally, Thrivent members participated in several home-building projects in Visalia.

Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties has been working with local families since 1994. With more than 40% of the area’s population considered cost burdened when it comes to housing (i.e., spending more than 30% of household income on housing costs), the need for affordable housing is great. Because of the continued support of the businesses, congregations, the local community, service organizations and individuals, Habitat for Humanity has been able to make homeownership a reality for 68 families in Tulare and Kings counties while helping hundreds of other lower income homeowners with needed home repairs.

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