In Tennessee, Habitat for Humanity generates a total annual economic impact equivalent to over 1,500 full-time full-year jobs. Habitats total annual earnings impact in Tennessee is estimated to be approximately $55.7 million. Each completed Habitat home creates impact equivalent to 6.24 full-time jobs or $230,000 in earnings statewide, according to a recent economic impact study conducted by the University of Tennessees Center for Business and Economic Research in Knoxville.
Considering an average construction cost of $75,000 for each Habitat home that must be raised from individuals, groups and businesses in the community, the return on investment to the local economy is 306 percent.
Habitat homeowners also pay property taxes, often for the first time in their lives. In 2011, Habitat homeowners in Wilson County paid over $30,000 in city and county property taxes, supporting crucial services.
Many people are familiar with the social services benefits of Habitat for Humanity, but there is so much more at stake in terms of immediate and long-term economic impact for the families we serve, their communities, surrounding businesses and the state at large, said Colleen Dudley, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee. Improved quality of life for individuals, local communities and the state is the sole mission of Tennessees Habitat program.
Tory Tredway, executive director in Wilson County, added, We already know about the life-changing experiences that Habitat provides for local families. This study quantifies the impact of Habitat in the community. That combination makes Habitat a wise investment. Those who are involved with Habitat as donors and volunteers can know that their help is making a significant difference in the community.
The road to purchasing a Habitat home is a long one, but incredibly worthwhile. Families are put through an intense selection process, are required to contribute 250-500 "sweat equity" hours building their home, and attend mandatory homebuyer classes to prepare them for homeownership. When the house is complete, Habitat sells it to the family with a no-cost, zero interest mortgage. Owners payments support construction of more Habitat homes.
Due to the affordable mortgage payments and support along the way, Habitat rarely experiences a foreclosure. Across Tennessee, the Habitat foreclosure rate since 1977 is below 2.9 percent.
Habitat of Wilson County has plans to build two homes this spring. One starts on Saturday, March 3, and is sponsored by churches in the county. The second is a Blitz Build scheduled for May 21-25.
A copy of Habitat for Humanity of Tennessees economic impact study can be found at www.HabitatTN.org.