What is Habitat Connects?
Recognizing the need for post-purchase support for Habitat homeowners (who are often the first in their family to own a home), Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity launched Habitat Connects in 2014 with a grant from the Russell Family Foundation.
The Habitat Connects mission is to support and establish resident-driven sustainable leadership, thriving households and livable, environmentally friendly communities through participatory decision-making. The model expands the scope of a traditional homeowners’ association by offering new training opportunities and outreach programs that benefit all neighbors.
Residents participate in a variety of structured activities that focus on stewardship of communal property, environmental education, sustainability, wetland conservation and civic engagement. They also enroll in classes that help foster relationships. By spending time together and hearing each other’s stories, they’re able to establish common values of respect, dignity, collaboration and compromise.
Through these experiences, residents develop a shared sense of belonging. The outcomes they achieve provide tangible examples of their commitment to one another.
Three years in, there are tangible examples of the success of Habitat Connects at both The Woods at Golden Given and in Tillicum.
The Habitat Connects board of homeowners at The Woods has been in place and self-sufficient for over a year. Recently, the Pomegranate Center worked with residents there on a project incorporating artwork designed by the community into benches to be places throughout the neighborhood.
In Tillicum, resident leaders have worked hard to establish solid relationships with community partners such as Youth for Christ and the Tillicum/Woodbrook Neighborhood Association to establish Team Tillicum, a group dedicated to elevating physical fitness and youth sports in the neighborhood.