Habitat Metro Denver’s First House
Jan. 15, 2019
Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver didn’t start with an office, a budget, or even a staff member… our humble beginnings began with a few volunteers who shared a passion for making affordable homeownership a reality for low-income families in our community. Our first volunteers worked tirelessly to fundraise, acquire land, select a partner family, and navigate the difficult logistics of building.
After many months of planning and fundraising, we purchased a bungalow that was built in 1906 and moved it across town to Denver’s Baker neighborhood, where it was heavily renovated by volunteers. It took a total investment of $40,000 to buy the land and complete renovations on the 4-bedroom, 1,141 square foot home.
Our first homeowners were a young family of four who, like our partner families today, worked hard to make ends meet and wanted nothing more than to build a bright future for their children. Richard and Priscilla partnered with us to help renovate their home, and purchased it in the fall of 1980. Owning their own home made an immediate difference for Richard and Priscilla’s family. Richard worked full time at St. Joseph’s Hospital as a custodian, yet the family couldn’t afford a car. Since their Habitat home was in a central location, 8-year old Priscilla, and 4-year old Della, were able to walk (with their mom) to their schools. Within a year of moving in, Priscilla was selected as the “Citizen of the Month” in her third grade class. She earned this award through good attendance and outstanding effort in her studies.
We know through our research that stable housing has an impact on education, and that children who grow up in a Habitat Denver home do better in school and have higher high school graduation rates compared to their peers. It’s inspiring to know that these significant impacts have been taking place for 40 years, and thousands of children now have brighter futures from growing up in Habitat homes in metro Denver.