Member Spotlight: San Diego Habitat for Humanity

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September 25, 2018

Tell us about your company.

San Diego Habitat for Humanity is the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International and serves San Diego County. It is an autonomous 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It is governed locally, raises funds locally and builds locally. Seeking to put God’s love into action, San Diego Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. People in our community and all over the world partner with Habitat to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. With our help, they achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families.


What products or services does your business provide?

Habitat homeowners qualify for our programs by showing a demonstrated need for improved housing, a willingness to partner with Habitat by committing to 250-500 hours of “sweat equity” helping to build their own homes or the homes of others, and the ability to repay an affordable mortgage. We also repair existing homes through our Neighborhood Revitalization efforts and Veteran Repair program, supporting families who already own their homes, and focusing on the improvement of entire communities. Habitat operates home improvement retail centers in Mission Valley, National City, Carlsbad, and Escondido, open to the public, that accept donations of new and used materials, selling them to support operating and building costs. Low-cost home improvement items are offered to the public while keeping useable appliances and building materials out of our landfills.


What was the most memorable or successful moment in your business' history?

San Diego Habitat for Humanity has provided stability and self-reliance for over 1,000 individuals, representing 312 families, enabling them to purchase or remain in their own homes. We know that when families are stable, they can help their communities thrive. The Cortez family became our first homeowner to pay their mortgage in full, in 2013. The family of seven was able to move out of their two-bedroom apartment and into an affordable home where they had lower, consistent payments, allowing them to become financially stable. Because of Habitat, the children were able to enjoy a safe childhood that allowed them to focus on their studies. All have thrived academically, attending college, nursing school, and the Police Academy. Through Habitat, the Cortez family was able to build significant equity in their home, contributing further to their financial stability and self-reliance. This story is just one example of how, with a hand up, all Habitat homeowners can see this kind of life-changing story unfold.


Tell us an interesting fact about your business.

Every year, our staff comes together from across the County to participate in the annual All Staff Build Day. This day provides an opportunity for everyone, from administrative staff to truck drivers and construction superintendents, to pick up a hammer or paint brush and experience our mission of building homes, communities, and hope in a hands-on way.


What tips/advice can you offer that is related to your business' industry?

Planning ahead is so imperative in the construction field, as it takes a lot of time to work through the land acquisition and permitting process. Always plan at least 1-2 years in advance of when you want to start construction on a project. For Habitat, volunteers are a critical component of our mission. Without our volunteers, our construction expenses would be significantly higher, which would limit our ability to sell the homes at an affordable mortgage to low-income families. While not every company will be able to utilize the generosity of volunteers, know that there are thousands of people dedicated to making San Diego a better place for all; this world is full of good, kind people who want to help, and it is important for us to recognize that and find ways to utilize that assistance, whether on a construction site or helping with administrative office work.


Do you have any upcoming events or information you want your fellow Chamber Members and the community to know about?

Each May, San Diego Habitat for Humanity invites women from all walks of life to join us on the build site for a day of construction. Through this hand-on building experience, the ladies are able to make a difference for local families in need of improved housing, make our neighborhoods stronger, network with other like-minded women, and of course, learn a bit about construction! It is our biggest fundraiser of the year, raising upwards of $175,000, as each participant is asked to mount a peer-to-peer fundraising effort to help with the cost of building materials. To learn more, visit


For more information on San Diego Habitat for Humanity visit

Ellen Immergut, Director of Communications, (619) 283-4663