5 Housing Corporations With A Mission

Effective efforts at positive change often begin at the level of the local community. From providing affordable housing to designing environmentally friendly neighborhoods, organizations offering better residential options can do a great deal to benefit the world around them. The groups presented here, in no particular order, help to improve people's lives starting with the homes where they reside.

Leading us off at #1 is Babcock Ranch, a planned residential community in southern Florida showcasing possibilities for sustainable growth. The town draws power from a large solar field and features photovoltaic arrays in numerous locations, making it a net producer of renewable energy, and its buildings and landscapes are designed for efficiency and conservation. Babcock Ranch includes community gardens and on-site farms, and its layout reduces the need for automotive transport.

Babcock Ranch promotes wellness through the activities and classes available at its Healthy Life Center, and the many greenways, hiking trails, and lakes throughout the town offer opportunities for outdoor recreation. Its Babcock Neighborhood School incorporates the area's natural spaces and solar devices into an ecology-focused science and technology curriculum, and the Ranch offers numerous sporting camps for kids. Other neighborhood amenities include farm-to-table dining, co-working space, and autonomous public transit vehicles.

Following up at #2 is New Settlement Apartments, which provides affordable housing and community services in the Mount Eden neighborhood of the Southwest Bronx. This nonprofit began its work in 1989 by transforming abandoned buildings into livable residential spaces, and continues to construct and acquire homes for the area's families. The organization supports residents with initiatives like the tenant advocacy organization Community Action for Safe Apartments, and the youth service project Bronx Helpers.

New Settlement Apartments promotes educational success in its neighborhood through enrichment programs, college access counseling, and a variety of classes at its Community Center. The group also has a number of youth-focused initiatives that provide employment skills training, internships, and high school equivalency courses. Its Parent Action Committee advocates for improved school quality, and informs parents about their rights in the public education system.

Next is #3, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, which partners with low-income families to help them build and purchase homes. It works to create diverse new communities, and to infuse existing neighborhoods with affordable housing, offering locals a low-cost opportunity for ownership by constructing their own residences with assistance from volunteers. The group's Pathways to Housing Program provides financial education and job training to help clients break out of cycles of poverty.

Along with new construction, HFHGC rehabilitates existing properties to improve substandard housing, and provides maintenance for its established communities. In 2007, the organization took over the Southwood Mobile Home Park, partnering with residents to redevelop their community. Habitat also advocates for improvements to the city's housing and zoning policies, and for reduced residential costs across the nation.

#4 on the list is Carrfour Supportive Housing, a Miami organization which develops, operates, and manages affordable communities for individuals and families in need. Since its founding in 1993, this nonprofit has provided permanent housing for more than ten thousand formerly homeless residents. Its properties offer on-site assistance including life skills training, job placement help, and referrals to social services.

Carrfour operates several properties with specialized missions, such as The Residences at Equality Park, which focuses on providing affordable homes for LGBTQ seniors, and the Karis Village development for low-income and formerly homeless veterans. Carrfour's Verde Gardens site hosts a community farm and market, enabling residents to earn a living and develop useful skills, and the organization provides in-home services for disabled individuals living on their own.

We'll close with #5, Missoula Housing Authority, working to provide attainable living options for its Montana community. This organization owns and manages a number of fixed-rent properties for those with low and moderate income, as well as over one hundred and fifty public housing units and several rental subsidy programs. MHA also helps operate transitional shelter and supportive services for homeless or disabled clients.

MHA offers vouchers to help domestic violence survivors find shelter with YWCA Missoula, and its Family Self Sufficiency Program assists low-income clients in working toward economic independence. Through its Bristlecone Development arm, the organization constructs new affordable housing sites, and conducts renovations to improve the quality of existing residential spaces. MHA provides information on available services for current and prospective residents, and a guide for landlords interested in rental assistance programs.