In 2016, 16.9 percent of the population in Hall County was living in poverty. Surrounding counties including Dawson, Banks, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Habersham, Jackson, Lumpkin, and White counties each have poverty rates lower than Hall County’s.
In Hall County specifically, the median household income is $51,202 a year, and the median mortgage for a home is $1,313. The average household spends around 21% of their pay on income taxes. This means that the median household spends roughly 39% of their post-tax earnings on their mortgage.
So, how do we address the needs of our communities in terms of housing? One of the solutions is Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit housing organization founded in 1976 to address these very issues.
The University of North Georgia has supported a number of local chapters of Habitat for Humanity over the years, including through the annual ShantyTown event held on the Dahlonega campus. On October 21st, the Mike Cottrell College of Business organized its first ever “Build Day”, partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Hall County to assist on the build site. Attendees included dean Dr. Donna Mayo and her husband, BB&T Center for Ethical Leadership director Rose Procter, PROS coordinator April Ross, development officer Bobbi Larson, Computer Science lecturer Diane Stephens and her husband and marketing manager Nick Kastner.
“Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful organization that makes a real difference in our communities,” said Nick Kastner, marketing manager of the Mike Cottrell College of Business and member of the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity of Hall County. “While a few hours on a Saturday may not seem meaningful to some, it directly impacts the lives of those in our communities who can’t find reasonable, affordable housing. It was great to be able to work together and, also, great to see other UNG organizations volunteering on the same day as we were able to work with some of our UNG nursing students.”
There are a number of local Habitat for Humanity affiliates that have made positive impacts on their communities. The Habitat for Humanity of Hall County affiliate was founded in 1989 and has built 45 homes for local families since its inception.
Habitat for Humanity looks to alleviate the mortgage burdens on local homeowners by offering affordable, zero interest mortgages and low down payments.
The volunteer day was a part of the Mike Cottrell College of Business’ ongoing efforts to build strong communities. Beginning this fall, the college will select a different charitable organization to support locally through volunteering.