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Rachel Childress - Lexington Habitat for Humanity

Rachel Childress - Lexington Habitat for Humanity

Renee sits down with Rachel Childress, CEO of Lexington Habitat for Humanity, to discuss the 30th anniversary of the Lexington Habitat chapter and how the organization is providing hopes and dreams to Central Kentucky families.
S13 E30 Length 26:22 Premiere: 5.25.18

Celebrating 30 Years of Helping Families Find Homes

In September 1988, Lexington Habitat for Humanity turned over the keys to the first home it built in the community. Now, 30 years later, the organization and its volunteers have constructed more than 450 houses for individuals and families in need of shelter.

“Our vision is that everyone has a decent place to live,” says Lexington Habitat CEO Rachel Childress. “And we mean everyone: there’s no everyone if, there’s no everyone but, there’s no everyone except.”

Childress appeared on KET’s Connections to discuss the work of the organization and how her own life has been influenced by a mission trip to Africa.

Habitat for Humanity has its roots in Koinonia Farm, an intentional community in southwestern Georgia founded in 1942 on Christian values of social equality, shared resources, and stewardship of the land. That group built its first house in 1969 for a needy local family that worked side-by-side with Koinonia members.

That one project blossomed into Habitat for Humanity, an international organization that partners with families to construct decent, affordable housing. The group now operates in all 50 states and some 70 countries. To date, more than 13 million people have helped build or rehab more than 800,000 homes worldwide.

“We all need a decent place to live,” says Childress. “We need a place to go home where we have sanctuary, where we have loved ones.”

New Home Projects
Despite its charitable mission, Childress clarifies that Habitat projects do have a cost to the homeowners.

“We do not give away homes,” she says. “You pay for it with money and with sweat equity.”

Clients must demonstrate a need for decent, affordable housing, be willing to volunteer to help build their home, and have a sufficient income to pay closing costs and a modest mortgage to Habitat.

“We, as a lending organization, have to follow the same requirements a bank, or a credit union, or any other financial institution would follow,” she says.

Habitat requires between 250 and 500 hours of “sweat equity” from the future homeowners as part of the down payment on their new house. Childress says they must also attend approximately 20 weeks of homebuyer education classes, where they learn about budgeting, insurance, maintenance, and other issues.

While construction usually takes about 12 weeks, according to Childress, the entire process from initial application to closing averages about two years. Habitat also specializes in building homes for individuals with physical impairments to facilitate accessibility and independent living.

Clients enjoy the responsibilities and benefits of any typical homeowner, including being able to sell their houses. Childress says that typically occurs for happy reasons: a person gets a new job out of town, there’s a marriage and move into a new home, or the family expands and needs a larger place to live.

“We rejoice in that,” she says. “Part of what of what we’re trying to do is this self-reliance, this independence, this stability. So the impact isn’t just the shelter, it’s these other aspects: economic independence and economic growth for the family… and we’re happy when those things happen.”

Rehab Projects and ReStore Shops
Around the 25th anniversary of Lexington Habitat, Childress says the organization reassessed its client base and how it could best serve them.

“We realized that there’s this humongous group of people who own their homes, who have low incomes, and they don’t have the capacity to maintain them, particularly senior citizens,” she says.

That resulted in the Love Your Neighborhood program, in which Habitat partners with homeowners on small projects to existing houses, such as replacing a roof or windows, or making a bathroom accessible to elderly individuals. Childress says the materials costs for such improvements can top out at $20,000, of which the homeowner pays 5 percent. As with new construction projects, the homeowner (or family members) are also required to contribute a certain number of sweat equity hours.

Lexington Habitat does about a dozen new home builds a year, and twice that many Love Your Neighborhood projects, says Childress. Habitat staff and volunteers also work six to 12 community projects to help cleanup and beautify a neighborhood or improve a public park.

And then there’s Habitat ReStores, the nonprofit home improvement shops that offer new and gently used furniture, appliances, hardware, construction materials, and other items. Lexington Habitat operates one ReStore on Southland Drive; a second location on Winchester Road is scheduled to open in June.

In all, Lexington Habitat employs about 60 people and has an annual budget of nearly $5 million. Childress says the organization’s projects over the years have added about $35 million to the local property tax base.

A Foundation for a Better Future
About half the families served by Lexington Habitat are refugees, and Childress says many of them are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That inspired Childress to want to learn more about what life is like for people in African nations served for Habitat for Humanity.

But Childress admits that construction isn’t her favorite activity. During her search, she found an educational program through Habitat’s International Global Village initiative that would enable her to learn about housing, water, and sanitation issues in Malawi.

“I heard God’s voice telling me, ‘Rachel, go on this trip,’” Childress says. “So I did, and it was incredible.”

During her visit to Malawi in 2015, Childress learned about the culture of tribal villages, toured local schools and factories, and met Habitat homeowners there.

“They don’t do anything with housing until they’ve got clean water and good sanitation,” Childress says. “Then they work with the local organization and the tribal leaders to determine who’s in most need of housing.”

When a family is selected for a Habitat home, Childress says the property is deeded to the youngest child to help ensure the house remains in the family for years to come.

When she returned to Lexington, Childress says she struggled to make sense of what she experienced, especially after she realized that her bedroom was twice the size of many of the houses she saw in Malawi. But even among the most destitute children she met, Childress says there was a desire for a better life.

“Housing doesn’t solve it by itself, but housing is a foundation for it,” Childress says. “The financial stability, the educational stability, the family stability, the neighborhood stability, all of that makes it possible for people to do better.”

Program Details

Connections

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Each week, host Renee Shaw and a variety of interesting and engaging people - including business leaders, entertainers, authors, celebrities, and more - explore a broad array of topics impacting Kentucky and the world.

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Kiley Lane Parker - S10 E29

Filmmaker Kiley Lane Parker discusses her film, Raising Ms. President, about raising the next generation of female political leaders.

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Pellom McDaniels - S10 E30

Pellom McDaniels, faculty curator of African-American collections and assistant professor of African-American studies at Emory University in Atlanta, talks about his book, The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy.

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Jay Williams - S10 E33

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams is a former mayor of Youngstown, Ohio. From the recent SOAR summit in Pikeville, he talks about how Youngstown recovered from the decline of the steel industry and how those lessons can apply to Eastern Kentucky areas distressed by the sharp downturn in coal jobs.

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Susan and Morgan Guess - S10 E34

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Diabetes Epidemic - S10 E20

Gilbert Friedell, MD, and J. Isaac Joyner, MPH, discuss their book, The Great Diabetes Epidemic: A Manifesto for Control and Prevention. The book advocates taking a public health approach to addressing diabetes, emphasizes prevention of diabetes-related complications, and encourages more community responsiveness.

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Cathy Zion - Zion Publications LLC - S10 E38

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Gigi Butler - Gigi's Cupcakes - S10 E39

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Infant Nutrition and Breastfeeding - S10 E42

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Andre Taylor - S10 E43

Andre Taylor has a distinguished 35-year career, building and advising businesses. He's the author of You Can Still Win! and a half-dozen other books, a frequent guest expert on ABC News, and an international authority on winning and leadership. Mr. Taylor was a speaker at the 13th Annual Lexington Bluegrass Area Minority Business Expo.

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Faith Politics - S10 E45

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Kinship Care - S10 E46

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The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia - Gerald Smith - S11 E3

Renee's guest is Dr. Gerald Smith, an author and history professor at the University of Kentucky, and co-editor of The Kentucky African-American Encyclopedia: Life and Culture in the Commonwealth. The reference book contains entries on the individuals, events, places, organizations, movements, and institutions that helped shape the state's history and cultural diversity.

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Childhood Cancer - S11 E4

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Kellie Blair Hardt - S11 E5

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Jacinda Townsend - S11 E6

Author Jacinda Townsend discusses her critically acclaimed novel, Saint Monkey, a coming-of-age story set in 1950's Eastern Kentucky. The book won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Townsend is a former Hurston-Wright Award finalist and currently teaches creative writing at Indiana University.

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  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Soreyda Benedit Begley and Chris Begley - S10 E3

  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Chris Rabb - S10 E1

  • Friday September 3, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Tanya Torp and Holly Houston - S9 E46

  • Thursday September 2, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Frontier Nursing University - S9 E45

  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

SWAG - Sisters and Supporters Working Against Gun Violence - S9 E44

  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Marta Miranda - S9 E43

  • Monday August 30, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Sarah Taylor Vanover - Early Childhood Education

  • Sunday September 5, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday September 4, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 4, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

Judi Jennings - S9 E42

  • Friday August 27, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Dr. Robert Hilgers - S9 E41

  • Thursday August 26, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Wil James - S9 E40

  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

African Americans and Mental Health - S9 E39

  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Charisse Gillett - Lexington Theological Seminary - S9 E38

  • Monday August 23, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

The Rise of Anti-Asian Violence

  • Sunday August 29, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday August 28, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 28, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday August 22, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 22, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

Chef and Activist Dan Wu

  • Sunday August 22, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 22, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday August 21, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 21, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

Dr. Timothy M. Houchin - S9 E37

  • Friday August 20, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 20, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Mental Health Courts - S9 E36

  • Thursday August 19, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 19, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY
Top

Season 13 Episodes

Marcie Timmerman - Mental Health and Wellness

S13 E43 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 8.24.18

Tiffany Manuel - Affordable Housing

S13 E42 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 8.17.18

Jessica Dueñas - 2019 Kentucky Teacher of the Year

S13 E41 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 8.10.18

2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book

S13 E37 Length 28:48 Premiere Date 7.13.18

A New Task Force on Opioids

S13 E36 Length 28:07 Premiere Date 7.6.18

Shining a Spotlight on Epilepsy

S13 E35 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 6.29.18

Criminal Justice Reform

S13 E34 Length 28:32 Premiere Date 6.22.18

Jay Box - Kentucky Community and Technical College

S13 E33 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 6.15.18

Interim Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis

S13 E32 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 6.8.18

Bob King - Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

S13 E31 Length 28:09 Premiere Date 6.1.18

Rachel Childress - Lexington Habitat for Humanity

S13 E30 Length 26:22 Premiere Date 5.25.18

2018 Kentucky Primary Races

S13 E29 Length 29:52 Premiere Date 5.18.18

Dr. Donna Grigsby

S13 E28 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 5.11.18

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention

S13 E27 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 5.4.18

Kosair Charities Face It Movement; Terry Brooks

S13 E25 Length 28:27 Premiere Date 4.20.18

Child Marriage Laws in Kentucky - Donna Pollard

S13 E24 Length 28:42 Premiere Date 4.13.18

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

S13 E23 Length 29:22 Premiere Date 4.6.18

Secretary Derrick Ramsey - Apprenticeships

S13 E22 Length 28:09 Premiere Date 2.23.18

Educational Innovation

S13 E21 Length 28:45 Premiere Date 2.16.18

Gerald Smith

S13 E20 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 2.9.18

Perry Bacon Jr.

S13 E18 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 2.2.18

DV8 Kitchen

S13 E17 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 1.19.18

Silas House, New Novel

S13 E16 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 1.16.18

Tawanda Owsley

S13 E15 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 1.5.18

Sexual Harassment Issues

S13 E14 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 12.15.17

Disability Rates and Benefits

S13 E13 Length 27:27 Premiere Date 12.8.17

Good Samaritans

S13 E12 Length 28:42 Premiere Date 11.17.17

A Salute to Heroes

S13 E10 Length 26:18 Premiere Date 11.10.17

Legislative Health Policy

S13 E9 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 11.3.17

Elder Care

S13 E8 Length 29:31 Premiere Date 10.27.17

Preventing Youth Suicide

S13 E7 Length 28:17 Premiere Date 10.20.17

A Proposal for Pension Reform

S13 E6 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 10.13.17

Rethinking Pain Medication

S13 E5 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 10.6.17

Former Gov. Steve Beshear

S13 E4 Length 28:53 Premiere Date 9.29.17

Secretary Elaine Chao

S13 E3 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 9.22.17

Smoking Cessation and Pregnancy

S13 E2 Length 29:32 Premiere Date 9.8.17

Author and Journalist Sam Quinones

S13 E1 Length 28:52 Premiere Date 9.1.17

Author and Journalist Sam Quinones

Preview Length 28:52 Premiere Date 9.1.17

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