April 11- Freehold NJ: Former President Jimmy Carter’s passion for affordable housing began during his presidency when he saw firsthand the devastating effects of poverty and inadequate housing. He became a vocal advocate for affordable housing, and his efforts led to the creation of the National Affordable Housing Act, which provided funding for low-income housing projects. After leaving office, Carter continued to champion affordable housing as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for more than 35 years.
Nancy Doran, longstanding Habitat supporter, volunteer, and former Board President, reflected fondly on the amount of attention and care Carter and his wife Rosalynn put into their work to support the organization’s mission. Rosalynn and Jimmy prioritized affordable, safe housing, as well as education, and their dedication to these beliefs was shown in every project they participated in. During an interview with reporters, President Carter shared, “To have a decent place to live is a basic human right. And also to have a chance to live in peace and to have adequate health care and adequate education, so you can take advantage of your talents.”
What set them apart from other civic and community leaders, according to HFHMC Family Services Manager, Marianne Herring, was their annual presence at different build locations. The platform created by his career in civic leadership helped provide a stage for Carter to stand on, and long after retiring from civic leadership, he still kept the spotlight on the issues that called for the most crucial support.
Carter’s long-standing involvement with Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County has been particularly intimate. He has visited the area multiple times to participate in home-building projects and to meet with local Habitat volunteers and families. His most impactful work within Monmouth County was his involvement with HFHMC’s Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts.
In 2014, he participated in the construction of a new home for a Veteran family in Union Beach, NJ. This family shared that this experience gave their father a sense of dignity & allowed him and his beloved dogs to resume a normal life after living in temporary housing. Carter’s involvement left an impact on the life of this family in a way that is best exemplified through family members recalling their father ‘beaming with pride’, as well as the support shown by other veterans in the community who came together to help.
Carter’s contributions to Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County and across the country have been immeasurable. His passion for affordable housing has inspired countless individuals to get involved with Habitat for Humanity’s mission, and his hard work and dedication have helped to transform the lives of families in need. Carter’s legacy will continue to inspire others to work toward a world where everyone has a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. We hope that civic leaders of the future look to him for inspiration as well!