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Dayton Habitat marks 30 years, kicks off fundraising campaign

Dayton Habitat for Humanity has three reasons to celebrate: 2013 marks the nonprofit’s 30-year anniversary of its founding; the group purchased a new building for operations; and it is kicking off a public fundraising campaign.

On Nov. 30 2012, Habitat closed on the purchase of the former Xpedx building at 115 W. Riverview Ave., Dayton, said Diane Graham, executive director. The new facilities allow Dayton Habitat, Ohio’s oldest Habitat organization, to consolidate multiple locations into one space and gives it two-times the retail space. Habitat owns the ReStore, which takes donations and sells home goods and furniture.

Currently, Dayton Habitat owns a building on South Patterson Boulevard, rents a lot next to it, and rents other warehouse and office space, Graham said. When Habitat moves to Riverview Avenue in April, the group will be able to cut overhead costs and raise more revenues.

On Thursday, Habitat held an anniversary celebration and kicked off a public fundraising event at its future offices to raise $750,000 to help pay for the new building. More than $400,000 has been raised so far privately, and this week a donor made a $20,000 matching grant challenge, Graham said.

“We need to be here now,” she said. “We’re not a little start-up anymore.”

Over the past 30 years, Dayton Habitat has built and rehabilitated about 200 houses in Montgomery County, including 12 last year.

The majority of people helped are first-time homebuyers. Habitat helps the “working poor” build or renovate a home and buy the property, Graham said. Low-income residents who qualify receive a zero percent interest rate mortgage. In exchange, they put in “sweat equity” or volunteer hours to help build houses for others.

Except for professional plumbing and electricity work, all labor is volunteer.

Single mother Candy Settle bought a Belmont area home in April 2011 for her and two sons. The place they lived before was too unsafe for the boys to play outside because of drugs, guns and violence.

Now “we live in an area where we have a neighborhood watch program,” she said. Settle works as a claims analyst at CareSource.

“We decided if we could get enough people in Dayton with a hammer in their hand, we could hammer in justice in the impoverished communities,” said Reverend Robert Jones, of College Hill Community Church, and Dayton Habitat co-founder.

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