Habitat for Humanity NEK builds strength, stability, self-reliance, and shelter in Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties. We are the local project committee of Upper Valley Habitat (in White River Junction), an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. People in the NEK partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve the place they call home.
Critical Home Repair • Home Preservation • Aging in Place
All part of the overall work Habitat does in Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties.
“NEK Habitat” is a branch office launched in 2007 to serve the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont by the Upper Valley (UV) affiliate located in White River Junction, VT. We are guided by the UV affiliate, which has four paid staff and has built 30 homes since 1981 but are governed by our own Board of Directors. Additionally, we have six standing committees, about 30 volunteers, and one paid staff to conduct our work both in the office and on construction sites.
Since its inception in 2007, NEK Habitat has served over 145 families. We have helped people build or repair affordable housing in various towns, including Albany, Barnet, Barton, Barton, Brownington, Concord, Coventry, Craftsbury, Danville, Derby, E. Burke, E. Charleston, East Haven, Glover, Greensboro Bend, Greensboro, Groton, Hardwick, Irasburg, Island Pond, Lowell, Lunenburg, Lyndon Center, Lyndonville, Newark, Newport, Orleans, Peacham, Ryegate, Sheffield, St Johnsbury Center, St. Johnsbury, Sutton, W. Burke,
All Habitat affiliates must raise their own funds to operate their business. All money raised for NEK Habitat is used for its own local projects. All funds collected for and spent by the NEK Habitat office are accounted for by its Treasurer and bookkeeper and are subject to an annual audit.
NEK Habitat’s building activity has several levels:
Small projects of less than $1,000 in materials may be accomplished in 1-2 workdays. Habitat incurs all upfront costs and uses volunteer labor to repair, weatherize and upgrade existing homes. Homeowners repay Habitat for our costs with a interest-free loan.
Larger projects, such as new roofs, substantial repairs, or multiple repairs are undertaken over weeks or months of activity, working 1-2 days per week. NEK Habitat donates most labor but may hire subcontractors for electrical, plumbing, or other jobs requiring certified work. Loans of up to $5000 are secured with a promissory note and are also interest-free.
Home addition or replacement projects costing over $5000 are secured with an interest-free second mortgage on the home.
New home construction is secured with an interest-free first mortgage.
Habitat for Humanity selects homeowner families for both small and full-house projects based on three basic criteria. Habitat partner families must earn less than 80% of the county median income; must be willing to contribute “sweat equity;” and they must be currently living in substandard housing. Habitat gives its partner families a non-profit, interest-free loan, and maintains close contact with the families as they occupy their homes. Loan payments are used for the construction or renovation of additional, future affordable housing.
Established in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller and others, Habitat for Humanity built its first house in Americus, Georgia in 1979, and opened its first international affiliate that same year in Guatemala. By 1981, Habitat had 14 national and 7 international affiliates and had completed 342 houses. Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn became volunteers in 1984. By 2011, Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) had celebrated the building of its 400,000th house worldwide, having served over 2 million homeowners in its first 35 years.
Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian organization. Its roots are in the ideas of Christian service. However, Habitat does not discriminate in welcoming volunteers or in choosing partner families. Habitat homeowners are chosen without regard to race, religion or ethnic group, marital status, or sexual orientation in keeping with U.S. law and with Habitat's abiding belief that God's love extends to everyone. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths, or no faith, who actively embrace Habitat's goal of eliminating poverty housing from the world.
2022 Board of Directors & Staff
Rob Balivet, Danville - Chair
Rev. Doug Carter, Danville - Vice-Chair
Mary Beattie, Danville - Treasurer
Rev. Jay Sprout, St Johnsbury - Secretary
Susan Aiken, St Johnsbury
Dan Swainbank, Danville
Patricia Janssen, St Johnsbury - General Manager
Bruce Starbuck, Lyndonville - Project Coordinator
2022 Standing Committees - Meetings are either in-person or via Zoom
NEK Board of Directors
Rob Balivet, Chair
The purpose of the NEK Board of Directors is to advise, govern, oversee policy and direction, and assist with the leadership and general promotion of Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity in the Northeast Kingdom in order to support the organization’s mission and needs.
Rob Balivet, Chair
The Personnel Committee is responsible for all paid employees of the Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity in the Northeast Kingdom. It provides help for adopting personnel policies, writing positions descriptions, work planning, annual job reviews, professional development, and compensation.
Mary Beattie, Chair
The Finance Committee is responsible for overseeing the financial and administrative activities, including the budget functions. It also is responsible for implementing and reviewing policies that foster good stewardship and money management.
Resource Development Committee
Dan Swainbank, Chair
The Resource Development Committee is responsible for developing plans for increasing our financial and human resources across our organization, including creating a fiscal year calendar for fundraising and friend-raising events no later than each Sept 30. It seeks to grow our list of corporate and individual donors each year and to increase total donations, and to increase volunteers in all areas of our program.
Public Relations [Communication, Marketing & Events] Committee
Rev. Jay Sprout, Chair
The Habitat NEK Public Relations Committee is responsible for maintaining timely content on our website and manages media releases, publicity, marketing for events, posts on Facebook and other social media, and all other print publications.
Volunteer Committee [currently inactive]
The Volunteer Committee is responsible for organizing a master contact list for office, building site volunteers, and lunch providers that includes their skills, availability, and town. Additionally, the Volunteer Coordinator, a volunteer position, will collaborate with the General Manager and this committee to plan and implement training and mentoring, as well as create a process for calling volunteers for work projects, for offering regular appreciation, and for staying connected with them.
Rev. Doug Carter, Chair
The Building Committee conducts our Critical Home Repair [CHR] program; additionally, it conducts site visits for CHR, investigates and recommends property acquisition, does site maintenance and building preparation, may be involved in infrastructure design, oversees house design, permitting, inspections, day to day construction, materials, costing.
Family Selection & Support Committee
Susan Aiken, Chair
The Family Selection and Support Committee first sets the tone for relationships with applicants by providing support for, interviewing and documenting contact with interested families as they assess the potential family's need for shelter, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity. The Family Committee assists potential Partner Families through the application process and, in partnership with the Building Committee, makes recommendations of projects to the Board of Directors.