Spring 2024 Updates

A note from our Executive Director

Building Hope and Homes: A New Season of Impact Begins

As we gear up for the start of our 2024 season of building here at Habitat Lake County, I am thrilled to share some exciting updates about our work. It’s a time of renewal, growth, and—most importantly—a time to continue our mission of building homes, communities, and hope.

Homeownership is a cornerstone of stability and opportunity, providing families with a sense of pride, security, and belonging. It uplifts not only individuals and families but entire communities, fostering economic stability and social cohesion. However, the dream of homeownership remains out of reach for many families across the country. A recent Harvard study found that housing is now unaffordable for a record half of all U.S. renters—this stark reality is particularly poignant in Lake County where high home prices and property taxes often put homeownership and its many benefits out of reach for many of our neighbors. While this crisis may seem daunting, I am proud to say that our local organization is making a real, tangible impact in our community.

I chose to raise my family here in Lake County because I believe it is a truly special place to live. With its renowned schools, beautiful natural spaces, and vibrant business scene, it is a place that offers unparalleled opportunities for individuals and families to thrive. However, it has always deeply troubled me to know that not everyone has equal access to these benefits, and I am so proud to be a part of an organization that is working to close that opportunity gap.

This year, supporters like you are making it possible for us to embark on our most ambitious build season yet as we increase the number of homes we are building for families in Lake County from five to eight.

You have also made it possible for us to extend our reach into new neighborhoods, including Round Lake and Round Lake Beach. Through this expansion we hope to provide families in those communities with an invaluable opportunity to pursue affordable homeownership without having to uproot themselves from their support networks. Additionally, we are proud to be able to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the entire Round Lake community through providing more affordable homeownership opportunities.

Additionally, we are doubling the number of home repairs completed through our Critical Home Repair Program. At its heart, this program is about preserving the dignity, independence, and quality of life for those who need it most, and we are so thrilled to be able to offer this essential service to more people in our community.

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference.”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…” I made a difference for that one.”

There’s a story that resonates deeply with our work here at Habitat Lake County: the starfish allegory. It reminds us that even in the face of overwhelming challenges—like some of the admittedly grim statistics I outlined above—our efforts to create positive change can mean everything to someone. Like the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean, we may not be able to ensure that every person in our community has a safe, affordable place to call home (yet!)—but that won’t stop us from trying. Whether you have volunteered, made a gift, or simply told a neighbor about our work, thank you for making a difference.

With gratitude and optimism,

Joel Williams
Executive Director
Habitat for Humanity Lake County