By Sue Potter, Director of Development, Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity
Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity is in a close race to win $25,000 from American Home Shield for neighborhood revitalization efforts in the Tillicum neighborhood of Lakewood. In October, American Home Shield launched the national AHS CHALLENGE FOR CHANGE, an online voting contest that will award $10,000, $15,000 & $25,000 to the three Habitat for Humanity affiliates that receive the most online votes for their neighborhood revitalization initiatives. The competition for first place has been fierce. “The grassroots support for the contest from the residents of Lakewood and the entire Tacoma community has been overwhelming.” says Habitat CEO, Maureen Fife. “Over 35,000 votes have been cast for our Tillicum project, but the Columbus, Ohio affiliate of Habitat for Humanity has recently come from behind to overtake the lead. We need every vote we can get, and we need them daily!”
Tillicum has long struggled with a reputation of poverty and crime. An estimated 2,830 Tillicum residents—well over half its population— live in poverty. Nearly 80% of the housing units in Tillicum are rental units. The low rate of owner occupied houses directly relates to the neighborhood’s property maintenance and upkeep issues.
Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat plans to build up to 12 units of new construction for affordable homeownership in Tillicum. In addition, Habitat has committed to partner with existing homeowners to help repair or rebuild owner occupied homes by providing no-interest loans and free volunteer labor. By providing low-income families with an affordable opportunity to own or repair their own home, Habitat will help to revitalize the appearance of Tillicum. The homes built and repaired by Habitat will create a safer neighborhood, add to the local tax-base, improve civic services to the area, and inspire neighbors to improve and maintain their own structures and properties.
Anyone can help Tillicum to benefit from the AHS CHALLENGE FOR CHANGE. Simply visit www.AHSchallenge.com and cast your vote daily for Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity. The contest ends January 31, 2011.