Nonprofit Spotlight: Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity | Atmos Energy

Nonprofit Spotlight: Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity

Nonprofit Spotlight
October 1, 2021

Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on Christian principles that seek to put God's love into action by building homes, communities, and hope. Dedicated to eliminating substandard housing, Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity constructs, rehabilitates, and preserves homes by advocating for fair and just housing policies and providing training and access to resources that help families improve their shelter conditions.   

“Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit present in over 1,300 affiliates across the nation and in 70 countries with a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” said Cheri Witt-Brown, Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity executive director.  “Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity carries forth this mission throughout the Weld County community to combat housing insecurity and help individuals and families achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. 
 
Weld County families in need of decent, affordable housing apply for homeownership with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity and are selected based on three criteria: 

  • The applicant’s level of need. 

  • Their willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity. 

  • Their ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable payment plan. 

Once selected, homeowners must be willing to complete a minimum of 500 hours of “sweat equity” before closing on the home.  Sweat equity is defined as “an opportunity for families to help build their home alongside volunteers and play an active part in making their dream of owning a home a reality.” Homeowners must also be able to save $500 toward closing costs and agree to complete a series of homeownership workshops which include consumer money management, landscaping, seasonal home maintenance, homeowner’s insurance, city codes, and covenants. 

“Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity goes beyond providing shelter for families and individuals, by renovating existing homes, supporting home repairs and improvements, addressing housing needs after natural disasters, and advocating for decent and affordable housing around the world,” said Jennifer Altieri, Atmos Energy vice president of public affairs.  “In addition, they offer specific Build programs that support veterans, empower women, unite faith-based organizations, provide energy-efficient homes, and teach high school students construction and life skills. 

For 20 years, Atmos Energy has partnered with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity to provide affordable housing for its most vulnerable neighbors.  Combining its sustainability efforts with its commitment to Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities,  Atmos Energy, in partnership with the Schlessman Family Foundation, has built 15 homes, donated more than $1 million, volunteered thousands of hours, and provided innovative energy solutions that will not burden new homeowners with higher utility bills. 

“Greeley-Weld County Habitat for Humanity has brought together generations of Atmos Energy family members to support Coloradans who are seeking an affordable home that they can call their own,” said Russ Hartley, Atmos Energy manager of operations.  “This partnership has educated our employees and their families on the importance of teamwork, provided them the opportunity to support others in our community, and allowed us to work alongside new homeowners to not only build affordable homes but create stronger communities.” 

Carrying forth the mission to empower Habitat families with a long term affordable housing plan, Atmos      Energy and the Schlessman Family Foundation recently completed Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity’s first Zero Net Energy (ZNE) demonstration home in Evans, Colorado.   

A ZNE home produces as much energy as it consumes each year, thanks to a balanced energy approach that combines high efficiency natural gas heating and water heating, building envelope efficiency, and photovoltaic solar technology to make the home extremely efficient and environmentally responsible,” said Rob Leivo, Atmos Energy vice president of marketing.  “Affordable energy is critical to affordable housing and preliminary energy reports for the design of this ZNE home estimate the average utility bill at less than $50 a month for gas and electricity combined.” 

 When we interviewed the future homeowner for the ZNE project, she voiced her only concern was her ability to afford monthly utility bills,” said Witt-Brown.  “We knew this home would be a perfect match and not only provide her and her family of four a safe place to live but also give peace of mind when balancing her family budget.  Atmos Energy has made her dreams come true.”  
 
To learn more about Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity, please visit https://www.greeleyhabitat.org/