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Partnering with Pillars for a Sweet Cause

Posted on January 2, 2024

The holiday season can pose significant challenges for families in our community, particularly those struggling with the absence of a safe and stable home. Fox Cities Habitat recently brought together Habitat families to decorate cookies for the families at Pillars – an organization committed to providing support and shelter for those experiencing homelessness or facing housing insecurity. The intent of these cookies was to represent hope and cheer to those who are struggling this holiday season.

During the event the room was full of laughter, joy, frosting, sprinkles (lots and lots of sprinkles), and memories being made! Not only did this experience bring smiles to our families’ faces, but it gave them the chance to pay it forward and make an impact on others who struggle with the lack of a stable home – a feeling that they know all too well.

Erika Bustos, a 2021 Habitat Homebuyer, presented the cookies to Pillars on behalf of all Habitat families. Erika continues to give back to the community, not only through Habitat but also through a variety of local organizations. It was not too long ago that she was in a position where homeownership seemed unattainable – helping her understand the impact that giving back has on families in our community.

“I’ve been in a place where I’ve struggled with housing, it was too expensive to rent something bigger. We used to live in a two-bedroom apartment with all of our kids, which was very hard. Then we heard about Habitat and it changed our life. It’s affordable and they help you out, so we are always thinking of the families.”

– Erika Bustos, 2021 Homebuyer

Today, 1 in 8 local families still lack access to stable housing. With housing costs nearly doubling since 2012, the importance of Habitat’s (and Pillars’) work has never been more critical. Because of this, many hardworking families struggle to afford rent or mortgage payments. This leaves little to no money left for groceries, repairs, gas, or saving for a child’s education – leaving their dreams of homeownership to seem impossible.

The importance of having a roof over one’s head goes beyond the physical shelter—it creates an opportunity for individuals and families to thrive, building a foundation for a successful future. While Fox Cities Habitat focuses on making homeownership accessible through programs like our Homebuyer Program, Pillars specializes in offering immediate support and shelter for those in immediate need. Together, our organizations are able to address both the long-term goal of stable homeownership and the immediate need for shelter, creating a more accessible solution to combat the housing crisis in the Fox Cities community.

“Having a home for the holidays is something many people take for granted. But, for those who don’t have a place to call their own, the holidays can be a difficult time.

Habitat understands the importance of having a home and wants to make the opportunity of homeownership more accessible. That is why sharing stories from community members who have struggled and now came out the other side as homeowners is so important.”

– John Weyenberg, CEO

By assisting 50 families in 2023 alone through our homebuyer and home repair programs, we are actively working to break the cycle of poverty and make homeownership more accessible. But, we can’t do it without YOU! With your help, families in our community can break free from the cycle of poverty and build a better life. As we reflect on the impact of Fox Cities Habitat in 2023, your support, whether through volunteering, donations, or spreading awareness, has played a crucial role in transforming lives and creating a stronger, more compassionate community. Together, we can make a lasting difference and help families build the foundation for a brighter future.

If you’d like to support our efforts of ensuring that Fox Cities families have access to safe and affordable housing in 2024, please visit the donate page.

“When you lose your home, it can feel like an uphill battle to find your way to stability. When our community comes together to support each other, it gives people hope. Hope is important to overcome difficult situations and can make a difference. This gift is special because it comes from people who know how difficult the road to stability can be.”

– Matt Malm, Pillars Community Engagement Director