Guest: Renee Glover
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Renee Glover is the Chair of Habitat for Humanity”s International Board of Directors and former CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority. She joins the show to explain the mission of Habitat for Humanity and the services it offers to people in need. Habitat for Humanity just built its 800,000th home. It”s on track to take care of one million families in need of affordable housing by the end of 2015. Glover tells us about the types of homes the organization builds.
Glover helped transform U.S. urban policy at the turn of the millennium. In 2000, she was appointed by the U.S. Congress to the Millennial Housing Commission, which was charged with providing legislative recommendations to Congress on national housing policy. She discusses the initiatives she passed and how they affected the 2008 mortgage crisis.
Visit Habitat for Humanity at www.habitat.org
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Solomon Success Show, where we explore the timeless wisdom of King Solomon and the Bible, as it relates to business and investing. False prophets and get-rich-quick schemes are everywhere; let’s not be distracted by these. Instead, let’s go to the source: the eternal principles that create a life of peace, power, and prosperity. Here’s our host, Jason Hartman.
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JASON HARTMAN: It’s my pleasure to welcome Renee Glover to the show! She is chair of Habitat for Humanity’s International Board of Directors, and the former CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority. Renee, welcome! How are you!
RENEE GLOVER: I am doing great! How are you this morning?
JASON HARTMAN: Well, good, good. You just built your 800,000th home, and what a tremendous success Habitat for Humanity has been, and will continue to be. What a great contribution to people around the world. So, it’s just a pleasure to have you on the show. Tell us a little bit about this 800,000th home! It’s a little hard to say that, it’s kind of a mouthful!
RENEE GLOVER: I know, it is! It is very exciting, because when you think about the history of this 37-year-old organization, it has developed from a very simple idea, but a very powerful idea, to becoming a worldwide ministry. And so, by celebrating the 800,000th home, we are literally serving over 4 million people.
JASON HARTMAN: Amazing.
RENEE GLOVER: And, we have as a goal, that by the end of 2015, we will be celebrating our one millionth house. And the ministry is indeed global. So, we are touching families all over the world, and we’re also actively engaged with disaster recovery. I’m sure your listeners have heard about the terrible tragedy over in the Philippines, where 10 million people have been adversely impacted, and so, Habitat is on the ground, working through the local NGOs to make a difference there. So, helping with emergency shelter and emergency kits; we’re also engaged in disaster recovery in the Hurricane Sandy area, and in Louisiana, and in Haiti, and so, the reach is tremendous.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, it sure is, it sure is. So, what does it cost to build the average Habitat for Humanity home?
RENEE GLOVER: Well, you know, that’s an interesting question, but let me put it to you like this. The cost of homes internationally is driven by local circumstances and local building standards, and housing is so vast that to give you a number would really be misleading, because it depend on—
JASON HARTMAN: It depends where.
RENEE GLOVER: It depends where.
JASON HARTMAN: One of the things I say to my real estate investors is, all real estate is local. So I definitely know what you mean.
RENEE GLOVER: Absolutely.
JASON HARTMAN: And I understand that construction costs changes from area to area. But maybe just, can you give us two examples at each end of the spectrum, possibly?
RENEE GLOVER: Well, so, for example, what we’ve learned over time is that in approaching the housing solution, there are different approaches. So, for example, if you’re in one part of the world, you might start out with just a single room. And then, as the family saves, they will add to that single room. So, over, say, in Asia, Thailand, for example, you have a construction with stone, and that type of thing. The building approaches in the US are very different. So, again, you might be building a home from scratch, as opposed to adding on. So, again, the cost varies so widely, depending on solutions. So, you might be adding a room. Or, you may be laying a floor, or you may be repairing a roof. So, it really depends on the scope of the job and what is happening in that locality. So, I’ll answer it by saying this. All of the donations count, because we’ve got about 1.6 billion people worldwide who are living in substandard housing. And so, obviously, the need for donations, both in kind and cash, is so critically important. So, I don’t want to dodge your question, but I don’t want to get focused on numbers, because you know, I think it could take us off into the wrong direction.
JASON HARTMAN: Well, I agree, and I definitely am going to ask you a lot of additional things. But, it’s amazing, really, how efficiently and inexpensively Habitat for Humanity has been able to provide housing to people. And that’s one of the things that I wanted to highlight, you know? I think that’s a very positive thing. So, that was the reason behind my question. So, 800,000 homes. You mentioned the donations and so forth, and of course, that’s important. But you know, what has really been the key to success for Habitat for Humanity?
RENEE GLOVER: Well, I think the primary key is that we’re very clear about our principles, and having God, and faith, at the center. And sticking with the notion that it is about building healthy homes in the context. So, we’re not looking to build or import something brand new; we really are talking about developing homes and addressing the needs in the context. So, for example, in other parts of the world, access to clean water is so critically important. It’s something we take for granted here in the States. Our access to, you know, a good sewer system, our access to electricity, and then access to land tenure. So, all of those things go into the mix, in terms of the types of things that are addressed. And so, building partnerships and working in the context with the local leaders and the local families—I mean, that’s really the secret sauce in all of this. And I will tell you, you are touched so deeply by the need, but also the resiliency and the spirit of the families. But it’s having those local leaders and having those local NGOs that is key to the success. So, we’re not doing. We are working with, and helping develop the capacity, and the growth, and attracting the resources through this massive fundraising effort to get the work out. And then of course, having the volunteers who love their community, and love their neighbors, be successful, and then best online casino the families themselves are engaged through sweat equity, and they are also taking on a mortgage, or other type of financial arrangement so that that money can be recycled. So, it’s—it’s all coming together around seeing our belief and faith in Jesus Christ put to action.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah. That’s fantastic. What is the Habitat for Humanity definition of affordable housing?
RENEE GLOVER: Well, what we strive to do is make sure that the housing is affordable in the context. So, again, affordability throughout the world is very, very different. We have families who earn sometimes as little as $2 a day. Whereas in the United States, the line of poverty for a family of four, are families earning less than $20,000. So, affordability is really affordable in the context. And so, working with families, we’ve actually gotten into the microlending business, because we recognize that to be impactful and make a difference, we have to work inside of the context of what families need. And I will tell you, to see the resiliency and the faith of families throughout the world, it’s so powerful, and the willingness to save and to build a home—I mean, a home represents security, stability, and it’s key to great education outcomes, great stability, and it’s really a gateway to a great life and great communities.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah. I agree. It definitely is. You’re known for transforming US housing policy, or urban policy, maybe I should say. What are some of the things that Habitat for Humanity has done in that realm?
RENEE GLOVER: Well, Habitat has absolutely been in the forefront, and recognizes, and part of the larger transformation of policy is, is that it’s about building community, and that it’s not a single issue approach. So, it’s housing, but it’s also housing that connects to the larger community. It’s the connection to the education, it’s the connection to better health outcomes. It’s access to clean water and sewer systems, and so, the transformation of policy is the recognition that the dots must be connected, and that housing is more of a platform, and it’s not the end-all be-all, because houses, too, exist in communities. So, this transformation of an approach toward mixed incomes, and green building, and sustainability—all of those things come together, and the recognition that partnerships are the key and success to creating great communities.
JASON HARTMAN: And so, in terms of that housing policy—I mean, you talked about how Habitat is into microlending, which I think is a fantastic, transformative concept that’s going on, and it’s just wonderful to see. But, you don’t just do that and build houses only, right? Are there some other services?
RENEE GLOVER: Oh, absolutely. Well, we’re engaged in financial literacy education, and construction training, and then through partnerships, we’ll help with water solutions, building community centers, day care and childcare facilities—it’s all about engaging and looking at what is needed for the community to sustain itself. And again, housing is a platform issue. So, the connections and the overlap and the interface and interplay, is just tremendous. And you know, we’re looking at helping with land tenure issues, which is a much greater issue in other parts of the world. So, what you find is that when you get on the ground as a community builder, it gets you engaged and involved with partners who also care about those same families, and so, you are engaged in partnerships around building sustainable communities, and having an impact of revitalizing an area.
JASON HARTMAN: And, what do you mean when you say land tenure? I mean, you mean the land use is an ongoing issue, right?
RENEE GLOVER: Well, so, for example, actually getting title to the land is a real issue in many parts of the world.
JASON HARTMAN: Yep, yep. And big parts of the world have trouble with the squatter concept, and all of that.
RENEE GLOVER: And of course, you can’t really be a homeowner without being able to get good title to the land. So, working again with NGOs and the parties and players and actors in those localities has been a game changer in terms of beginning to address this huge issue. And as I mentioned, worldwide we’re talking about approximately 1.6 billion people living in substandard housing! And so, the needs are great, but we believe that with God at the center, all is possible. So, I want to make sure that your listeners know how they can get engaged, and that’s going to our website, at Habitat.org, and you’ll see the many ways that you can engage with the ministry. All of the work is done in the United States through affiliates, and they’re more than 1600 affiliates in the United States, and through national organizations, and NGOs, and in some cases, branches. And so, they’re so many ways of engaging with this great ministry.
JASON HARTMAN: And, one of the great things about it is the act of involvement and participation that people can do as part of their church, or directly with Habitat.
RENEE GLOVER: Absolutely. And I wanted to put a plug in for restores—we have found that so much construction materials end up in landfills, and we have had wonderful organizations wanting to donate the excess, so that people as they’re rehabbing their homes can put that material to use, and that’s another way of raising moneys and building our ministry, and raising funds for the ministry. So, again, they’re many ways to engage, and we really appreciate your giving us this opportunity to talk with you today.
JASON HARTMAN: Well, Renee Glover, we appreciate having you on the show, and keep up the good work, and God bless you and Habitat for Humanity. You’re doing some great things for people. And again, the website is Habitat.org. Again, thanks for joining us.
RENEE GLOVER: And thank you so much!
ANNOUNCER: This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company. All rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com, or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate, or business professional for any individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own, and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network, Inc. exclusively.
Transcribed by David