The Builder
spring 2019

new homes and new life

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acts of kindness continue

A year ago, Paterson Habitat joined Habitat affiliates across the country in accepting the King Center's challenge to undertake 50 acts of kindness and service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s death. We wanted to do our part to build the Beloved Community – one dedicated to justice, equal opportunity and love of fellow human beings--that Dr. King envisioned right here in Paterson.  And, with your help, we did it.  Not only did 50 volunteers pick an act of kindness and/or service but Paterson Habitat also stepped forward to create a new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. city park across from the church in the 4th Ward of Paterson where Dr. King spoke just a week before his death.  We broke ground on the MLK Public Park last November and the Park is scheduled to be completed in late Spring 2019. Habitat for Humanity International has signed up with the King Center in Atlanta for another year of building the Beloved Community so watch for new plans in Paterson in the coming months..

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delivering shoes and building homes in malawi

When a team of Paterson Habitat volunteers arrived for a second home building visit to the poverty-stricken African nation of Malawi in November 2018, each team member’s luggage included a duffel bag stuffed with pairs of children’s shoes.  Partnering with the nonprofit that’s designed sandal-style shoes which expand up to five sizes (, over 500 children now can walk to school and play sports with decent footwear.  But more importantly, over the past two years, Paterson Habitat has sent $38,000 from its annual tithe contributions to Malawi and our volunteers have helped to build four houses. These Global Village (GV) trips are part of Paterson Habitat’s “Travel With A Purpose” (TWAP) program.  A November 2019 trip to Jordan is currently being planned. You can find more details on Paterson Habitat trips here in the U.S. as well as internationally at  

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why i build

Nearly twenty four years ago I was invited to join the Paterson Habitat "family" to help promote their program of offering hope and security to deserving and needy families in Paterson.

As someone who finds satisfaction in accomplishing the goals of the organizations that I'm involved with, I can't think of a better way to have spent the many hours volunteering in meetings and on the job site at Habitat to bring joy and satisfaction to the recipients of our housing program. Having been an active participant in this great cause for many years has provided me with an opportunity to meet hundreds of people from all walks of life who have inspired me and at the same time joined me in helping our new neighbors receive the keys to "a home of their own".  Volunteering for Habitat has been and continues to be one of the most satisfying experiences of my adult life. Paterson Habitat is blessed with people who generously give of their time, talent and treasure for the benefit of others and I'm very blessed to be a participant in this labor of love!

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a different kind of security blanket

Like so many other two-year-olds, Sophia has a security blanket --- a pink fuzzy "blankie" that she often wears like a shawl. Right now that's good enough for this irresistibly cute toddler with big brown eyes, but her parents have another form of security in mind for her. 

Sandra and Carlos will be raising Sophia in a decent and safe home of their own that they partnered with Paterson Habitat to buy. Their new house on North 1st Street is almost ready. It will be home to three generations since the household includes Sandra's parents, Maria and Omar. 

"We are so excited," Sandra said. "Before we learned about Habitat I didn't see how it would be possible to do this." 

Like all new Habitat homeowners they put in 400 hours of volunteer "sweat equity" labor. But like so many of our families, hard work is a way of life for them. Sandra's weekday job for an office maintenance firm begins at 3:30 a.m. and she does catering work at a country club on weekends. Carlos does valet parking for an auto dealership. Even her father, 74 years old, works part-time. 

The apartment they are leaving has been home to Sandra since she joined her parents here 23 years ago after immigrating to Paterson from Colombia. Now a proud American citizen, she met and married Carlos on a trip back to Colombia. 

This extended family spent years battling the landlord over faulty plumbing and more recently a family of raccoons who've moved into the attic above them. Sophia's birth convinced them it was time to find a new way of living. 

"In our new house," Carlos says with pride. "We'll even have a little yard where Sophia can play." 

(This family will be featured in Paterson Habitat’s spring fundraising mailer. We hope you'll enjoy learning more of their story and consider a donation to enable more stories like it.)

new homes and new life for a whole neighborhood

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A classic real estate maxim says three things determine the value of a home: location ... location ... and location. 

For decades, a 12-block section of Paterson's 4th Ward was a location where homes were abandoned rather than built. A neighborhood starved for significant investment and healthy growth.

This is the same 12-block section Paterson Habitat identified over five years ago as our 4th Ward Revitalization Area. In partnership with 4th Ward community leaders, we committed to reviving this neighborhood as a place where families could live in decent homes and on safe streets. 

The core of the revitalized neighborhood will be 75 homes built or renovated by Paterson Habitat and filled with homeowner families committed to the area's future.

This is the most ambitious project in the history of Paterson Habitat --- and thanks to our donors and construction volunteers it’s two-thirds completed.    

Now we've started the third and final stage of the 4th Ward Revitalization Area project and we need the help of our friends with a special fundraising campaign called "Hamilton 7 & Beyond." Named for seven homes we're now building on Hamilton Street, this campaign will raise $2.5 million towards completion of all 25 homes in the final third of this initiative. 

In addition to building homes, the Hamilton 7 & Beyond campaign will “build” the quality of life in this newly-revitalized neighborhood. The campaign will strengthen numerous community initiatives such as: residents accessing fresh and healthy produce at the Green Acres community garden, joining in local public safety efforts through the 4th Ward CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) and enjoying beautified public spaces such as the new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Public Park on Auburn Street.

Given the scope of this eff ort and its impact on families, we’re asking supporters to make a special gift earmarked for the Hamilton 7 & Beyond campaign in addition to their regular donations. This kind of generosity is enabling us to make a lasting improvement in the lives of 75 families and in the neighborhood they’ll call home.                        

More information on the Hamilton 7 & Beyond Campaign can be found online at              

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Reception for Barbara Dunn, May 30th

The many friends and colleagues of retiring Paterson Habitat Executive Director Barbara Dunn can say good-bye and thank her for 26 years of dedicated service at a cocktail reception on Thursday May 30th at Lambert Castle beginning at 6:30 PM. Fittingly enough, the reception will also serve as a fundraiser for building a Paterson Habitat home in her honor.

For more information contact 973-595-6868 x 106 or email


3 ways you can help support the ReStore

Don’t dump it, donate it! We pick up donations of new and gently used household items. All donations are tax-deductible.  A great place to shop! The prices are great and you never know what you will find. But more than that, all proceeds from ReStore sales support Paterson Habitat’s mission.  Give your time! By volunteering at the ReStore you do more to support building projects that benefit families in your community. For more information on all the ways you can help, visit

Cars for Homes

Through Habitat for Humanity’s Cars for Homes program, donated vehicles raise money to help more families. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from the sale of your donated vehicle are used by your local Habitat to build and repair affordable homes. Just a few clicks online can get your donation in process. Someone will even come and get the vehicle for you. Visit for more information. Visit for more information.