Building Hope

text by Shana Schwarz    photos courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona

As the saying goes, there’s no place like home. Yet for many Valley families having a roof over their heads remains a dream. That’s where Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona (HFHCAZ) comes in.

New Home, New Life

Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona provides hope to real families across the state. Many share their gratitude to the organization and its volunteers.

One such family is the Duques of Glendale. Librado Duque grew up in Mexico in a home built from mud and sticks. With nothing more than a bucket of water outside for a shower, the conditions were less than ideal, to say the least. After losing their home in 1985, but thankfully escaping with their children, the Duque family began renting apartments or houses but certainly nothing that could be called a home.

After one such rental home became unlivable, Librado contacted Habitat for Humanity. Not believing that he could actually own his own home, he applied anyway, and soon met with a representative from HFHCAZ.

“We started to realize that maybe the home we had longed for was soon going to be a reality,” Duque said. “On August 27, we received the call that we had been approved, and now we can say that we were not only approved for a house but a ‘home’ where we will be able to enjoy time with our family and friends and create beautiful memories for many years to come.”

Ana Aguilar also had her life changed by HFHCAZ. After emigrating from El Salvador and becoming a U.S. Citizen, Aguilar and her three daughters shared a small, crowded two-bedroom apartment with no yard or patio. With groups of men often loitering and drinking in the apartment parking lot, they were afraid to be outside after dark. As her girls make their way through school, they now enjoy comfort and security in their new home in Habitat’s El Amor de Cristo subdivision in Peoria.

Thanks to HFHCAZ, six families moved into their newly completed townhomes in Tempe last month. All family members spent months working together to build the six three-story structures. Now they are neighbors. The Perez de Albornoz Family – Junior, a pre-med student, and his parents, Daisy and Eladio – are thrilled to be starting a new chapter of their lives, adding that they can’t wait to help others on their new journey as well.

A Hand Up

A faith-based organization that builds, renovates and repairs simple, decent and affordable homes in partnership with families in need, HFHCAZ has built more than 1,200 homes since 1985. During that time, they have served more than 2,000 families with programs that also renovate and repair existing homes.

At Habitat for Humanity, their favorite expression is, “It’s not a handout, but rather a hand up.” It’s a misconception that the organization gives houses away. Rather, the potential homeowners and volunteers provide the labor and materials are provided by corporate and individual donations.

Home sponsorship provides the core funding for our mission. We work with individuals, corporations, faith groups and others to fund the “sticks and bricks” expenses to build simple, decent and energy efficient homes through our home sponsorship program. Volunteers build homes with Habitat construction staff guidance around the Valley. We are currently building in Apache Junction, Avondale, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Surprise,Tempe, Casa Grande, Chandler and Scottsdale.

TeamBuild With Purpose is a group volunteer event created for businesses, corporations, and faith-based organizations looking to make a positive impact in Valley communities. This memorable day of building is perfect for departmental outings, team training and convention groups. TeamBuild volunteers create an immediate difference as they partner with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona in building, renovating or repairing a home. TeamBuild also allows the group to help Habitat accomplish its goal of eliminating overcrowded, substandard housing through a donation to the affiliate.

Community Impact

Besides the obvious benefits like providing housing to those in need, HFHCAZ is impacting our community in other ways as well. According to Todd Rogers, Chief Strategy Officer, “HFHCAZ is one of the top builders in the state of Arizona in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications. Since 2005, HFHCAZ’s ReStores (Discount Home Stores) have diverted more than 22.5 million pounds of useful materials from landfills.”

This focus on sustainability and environmental awareness is a point of pride for the group and just part of the reason that 10,000 volunteers work with HFHCAZ each year.

The opportunity for people, many of whom have no background in construction, to give back to their community in such a powerful way is something that Conti especially appreciates about Habitat.

That sense of accomplishment is something that volunteers cite as the number one reason that they enjoy volunteering with HFHCAZ. As these stories illustrate, houses are comprised of so much more than walls, floors and roofs. They are truly home sweet homes.  Visit