From Homeless to Homeowner
Raytheon helps Habitat for Humanity build a block of 5 homes
The global nonprofit Habitat for Humanity has a simple vision: a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
One family will soon realize that vision thanks partly to Raytheon, which supplied a team of volunteers and a $100,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C.
In early October, Raytheon volunteers began construction on a five-home project in a southeast neighborhood of Washington. The company underwrote one of those homes, with the hope that it will go to a U.S. military veteran's family. The homes should be ready for occupancy next year.
“Don't think that you are just hammering, caulking, painting or putting down sod; that's not what you're really doing,” said Ken Harris, a U.S. Army veteran, who told volunteers how DC Habitat for Humanity helped him become a homeowner. “What you're doing is saving people — people like the person that I used to be. Once I became a homeowner, that person started to heal and change for the better.”
Having a house to call home makes a big difference, according to Harris, who was homeless for a time. A decent, affordable home provides more than shelter, according to Habitat for Humanity. It offers greater stability for children, added physical security, increased educational and employment prospects, health and safety benefits, and the opportunity for families to be more engaged in the community.
Because Raytheon builds products that help service members complete their missions and return home safely, it seemed “especially fitting that we're helping build a new home for one of our veterans,” said Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon's Intelligence, Information and Services business, which is headquartered in nearby Dulles, Virginia.
A few weeks earlier, another group of Raytheon volunteers installed more than a dozen new windows in a Habitat for Humanity home in Lowell, Massachusetts. The home is occupied by an 89-year-old Korean War army veteran and his wife.
"Many of our employees are veterans themselves, and they know the challenges that come with life after service,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. “This just one of the many ways we can provide assistance to those who need it and play a role in strengthening our communities in the process.”
Habitat for Humanity doesn't give away "free" houses, but instead partners with families so they can secure an affordable mortgage or small loan to create savings and invest in their education. Habitat helps families acquire the access, skills and financial education necessary to be successful homeowners.
"We offer a hand up, not a hand out," said Susanne Slater, president and CEO of DC Habitat. "Home ownership is an important path from poverty to the middle class. With the financial and hands-on support of incredible sponsors like Raytheon, we're able to sell our volunteer-built homes at no profit."
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