Habitat Omaha’s First Coalition
North Omaha Rehabbers
Helping get things off the ground in the early days, Habitat Omaha’s first coalition (North Omaha Rehabbers) was a joint effort by the United Ministries of Northeast Omaha and Habitat Omaha. David Porter, then Project Director for Methodist United Ministries, was the group’s first leader.
“I was just one of many; we had a lot of volunteers,” insists Porter. “The key was all the volunteers we were able to attract.” Most of their help came from area churches, including the First United Methodist Church and First Covenant Church and a few men’s groups.
First, they held a fundraiser and bought a little house at 4803 N. 24th St. (pictured here) for back taxes (approximately $1,000) and renovated it for around $15,000 before they donated it to Habitat Omaha to sell at cost.
Several professionals connected with the group donated their time and expertise; with one local contractor installing a new furnace and ductwork at cost and another volunteering to re-plumb the entire house with new materials provided by the Rehabbers; both greatly improving the value of the home while keeping costs down. These savings were passed on to the new homeowner, Pat Hubbard, allowing her to discover owning a home can be easier on the budget than renting. She applied to Habitat Omaha when her rent went up $80 a month, an increase of nearly 30 percent and was able to pay off her mortgage in a little over 13 years.
After they finished renovating that house and turned it over to Habitat Omaha they had a little money left over, so naturally they jumped in and began a second renovation at 2220 Grand Ave., keeping things going and giving Habitat Omaha a huge boost in the process.