Category Archives: Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned: Affordability, Matters of Land

So much of the narrative around affordable housing development conjures up imagines of raising walls and giving the keys to hardworking new homeowners. And to be honest, this is a huge part.  That homeowner is going to have their life changed, “getting a foot on the ladder” up out of poverty (to borrow an analogy from my Bike & Build teammate, Amy).  It’s an incredible moment for the new homeowner and their family.

Let’s think long-term.  Somewhere down the line, the homeowner might want to move or sell their home, just like any other homeowner.  What’s the problem with that? Continue reading

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Lessons Learned: Invest in Volunteerism

What’s better than a volunteer? A volunteer who can train other volunteers.

Habitat for Humanity is well-known for its use of volunteers.  Many of you have probably swung a hammer or dipped a paintbrush with a local Habitat affiliate. And our  team did a lot of hammering and painting during build days.  After all, when 20 extra able bodies show up to your site, having lots of easy, low-skill work is great.

Take this paint brush.  Paint.  (Of course, being hospitable, Habitat did say ‘Please.’) Continue reading

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Lessons Learned: Local Markets Matter

New development outside Colorado Springs, CO

This is kind of a “Duh” sort of lesson, but every community we visited was its own unique case of why local housing markets matter.  Even between communities that had tight housing markets, the conditions that create an affordability squeeze aren’t the same. Continue reading

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Bike & Build Reflections, Lessons Learned

This begins a series of reflective posts about my Bike & Build experience.  I will primarily focus on things I observed about housing markets, affordability, and nonprofit groups like Habitat for Humanity.  I’ll also comment about the life experience of biking across the country and what that meant for my teammates and me.