As referenced in my previous post, I am working hard to convince my green building employer to take me on at a contract rate so that I will not longer have to maintain office hours. This process has been a true test of my patience because I have worked for the affiliate for four years, investing my blood, sweat and tears into the creation of my program. Over the these last four years I have won the organization several awards, absurd amounts of press, over $200,000 in funding, and put them on the map in the “green world”. All of this has been on a part-time basis, with little pay, no benefits, no office computer, and for the first three years, no office space. So… when I have to lobby to be kept on staff for only 30% of the market rate pay and a decrease in my current part-time salary so that I can transition out of the office (where I started in the first place), I find myself a bit unmotivated.

Why even try? Well…my program is like my baby and I want to make sure it can survive without me. It has so much potential to grow up and be something I can truly be proud of and I just cannot handle letting it go without a fight. Plus, I love my co-workers and genuinely believe that if given the right tools, Habitat for Humanity could lead the way on transitioning affordable housing to a sustainable product. For example… there is a Net Zero Habitat house in the works with the East Cooper affiliate and if I am able to secure funding, I can hop on board to make it happen! There are so many affiliates out there right now that are already doing great things like Net Zero… I just read about one today about high density Habitat, check it out HERE.

I know what some of you are thinking… And NO, I do not want to become a consultant in the for-profit world. My specialty is in the affordable housing world, specifically with Habitat. Having spent the last 7 months working as a Case Worker for families facing eviction and foreclosure, I have had a bitter taste of how UNaffordable housing really is (and how little most people get paid). The reality is that the Habitat for Humanity model provides the highest quality housing ownership possibilities in the $500-$700 a month mortgage price range. These are the homes that we need to be focusing on transitioning to green because they have such a high impact on the homeowners and pose the type of challenge builders need to overcome: keeping green affordable.

This is a picture of our 2008 Greenbuild Blitz homeowner with her oldest son.

So, with high hopes and all of my documents submitted, I await the decision from my Board of Directors. Wish me luck.

Written by Nikki