The Beav’ hosts Habitat for Humanity conference | VailDaily.com

The Beav’ hosts Habitat for Humanity conference

Ken Klein, chairman of Habitat for Humanity International's board of directors, was in town to speak to Colorado's statewide conference in Beaver Creek.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Habitat for Humanity’s vision is expanding, but the goal is the same: eliminate poverty housing.

“We’ll work together as a rising tide to lift all ships,” said Ken Klein, Habitat for Humanity International’s board chairman. “Where we see difficulties, faith sees possibility.”

Klein had high praise for Colorado’s progress toward its goal of 2,000 homes built in Colorado and Paraguay.

Klein was in town earlier this month for Habitat for Humanity’s annual state conference. He addressed 225 representatives from Habitat affiliates around Colorado.

“You’ve demonstrated what having a big mission and a big vision can have for our families and for our ministry,” Klein said.

Habitat for Humanity is growing because it looked beyond its original mission of helping one family at a time, focusing mainly on single-family homes.

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That focus is now shifting from homes to neighborhoods.

“People upgrade their homes when there’s a good looking Habitat for Humanity home up the street,” Klein said.

The local Habitat affiliate has spent the past few years building townhomes in Edwards. Volunteers and partner families from Habitat for Humanity of Eagle and Lake Counties have created a neighborhood where none existed before.

Since it was founded in 1995, the local affiliate has built 31 homes to date, housing more than 100 children.

Habitat for Humanity has started a Microbuild Fund that’s spreading through the Third World, Klein said. Microeconomics has been at work for years, providing small loans to help people start businesses, so they can break the cycle of poverty.

The same principles apply to Habitat’s Microbuild Fund. They provide small loans so people can install doors and windows. Not new doors and windows, just any doors and windows. Maybe a new roof or any roof at all. It’s a $100 million fund.

Then there’s the Global Ranch Fund. It’s $4 billion – or will be – the money is being raised right now.

“The USA will continue to be the most generous, philanthropic nation in the world,” Klein said. “We need help in Asia and other places around the world.”

Only about 10 percent of all Habitat homes are built in America, Klein said.

But America also needs what Habitat is offering, Klein said.

“We’re a long way from being out of this housing crisis,” Klein said. “Funding issues have shifted from builders and developers to buyers. That forces people into the rental market.”

Klein has been involved in Habitat for more than 20 years and has been in building and development for 35 years. Under Klein’s leadership, Habitat for Humanity has become the sixth largest homebuilder in the United States.

Habitat for Humanity builds homes in partnership with low-income families. Families purchase the home with zero-interest loans.

Across Colorado, 30 Habitat for Humanity affiliates are building in 42 communities. They’ve built more than 1,000 homes with their partner families.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.