Springfield’s Fuller Center housing agency to merge with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton

Clark County Fuller Center for Housing volunteers (left to right) Bruce Pratte, John Grubb and Ray Raber work inside the garage of new home build in February of 2018. The Fuller Center is merging with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton on Feb. 15, maintaining a local office and local staff while creating opportunities to serve more Clark County low-income families. Contributed photo

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Clark County Fuller Center for Housing volunteers (left to right) Bruce Pratte, John Grubb and Ray Raber work inside the garage of new home build in February of 2018. The Fuller Center is merging with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton on Feb. 15, maintaining a local office and local staff while creating opportunities to serve more Clark County low-income families. Contributed photo

The Clark County Fuller Center for Housing chapter will merge into Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton effective today.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton Executive Director Norm Miozzi has announced that staffing levels at the Springfield chapter will remain the same and the office will still be located at 201 N. Limestone St. , inside Covenant Presbyterian Church to assure continuity of services.

“I’m looking forward to having the experience and talents and skills of not just the Fuller Center staff, but also the board of directors and the history and relationships they will bring to Habitat,” said Miozzi. “The knowledge they have about Springfield and Clark County is irreplaceable. I also look forward to bringing the experience and structure that Habitat can bring to Springfield, to grow our mission and to be able to serve more families in Clark County.”

The transition faced unprecedented challenges. First were the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes, which pressed Habitat of Greater Dayton into emergency assistance mode. A little over 18 months later, 30 tornado recovery projects have been completed by Habitat of Greater Dayton.

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“It’s the first time we’ve been in disaster repair and recovery,” Miozzi said. “We started to do more significant and critical repairs a few years back, but this has really become a part of our mission. I think many people will continue to look to us for help with that. And our critical repair program will continue, here and in Clark County.”

Both organizations operate home repair programs. Fuller Center operates its Greater Blessing program, which aids low-income homeowners with critical repairs they can’t afford to make. Habitat’s version of the program is called A Brush With Kindness.

“The biggest thing is both organizations doing due diligence to make sure that it was the right thing to do,” said Miozzi. “Like everything else, COVID added a year to the process. Dealing with the challenges COVID presented took front and center for both of us.

“It (Clark County) was a natural next area to serve,” he continued. “It was an area where we saw that there was need, and was a similar market to the Dayton market. We are just trying to help as many people achieve affordable home ownership as we can.”

Most administrative tasks will be handled through the main Dayton office, while other local-specific operations will remain in Springfield. Donations designated for Clark County will stay in Clark County. Three seats on the chapter’s board will be filled with Springfield representatives.

Projects for 2021 are already being planned. The local chapter will be a part of a home rehab project and is also hoping to start a new home build once a deserving low-income family has been chosen and prepared.

“The first thing I hope to accomplish is to serve some families with critical repairs,” said Miozzi. “Once we get the families in place, we’ll start doing new constructions.”

Another project that could have a major future impact is also in the works.

“We still anticipate having a store in Clark County, but the timing hasn’t been decided,” said Fuller Center Executive Director Brian Ray, who will be Director of Springfield Operations. Kermit Rowe, who has been on the staff for four years, will also stay on.

“It will also house our Clark County offices,” said Miozzi about the new store location. “To have them together makes so much sense. It creates greater visibility for both missions. And people know where to go.”

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Market research says a store can be successful in Clark County. It will also be a way to further fund local projects. That means making a significant impact on local families and their financial future.

“We want to help more families achieve home ownership or stay in the homes they have with critical repairs,” said Miozzi. “That aids them in building the financial stability all families need.

“Along with that stability comes knowing where ‘home’ is,” he added. “Having children in the same school system as they grow up. Having a place to have holidays with the family, knowing that you aren’t going to have to move because of problems with a landlord.”

The smaller Greene County Habitat chapter merged with Habitat of Greater Dayton in 2014, so there is a track record for expanding into new counties.

“The biggest plus is that we’ve been able to build homes for more families in Greene County,” said Miozzi. Since 2019, Habitat of Greater Dayton has served 139 families, 25 of those from Greene County. Of those 25, 11 were with new homes and the other 14 were with Brush With Kindness projects. “That is what we plan to do in Clark, too.”

Another positive benefit is partner families will have their monthly payment reported to credit bureaus, helping them establish and build good credit.

The Clark County chapter was a part of Habitat for its first 25 years. Rejoining the worldwide organization returns us to our roots, and takes advantage of 45 years of powerful impact in the communities Habitat serves. “We’re doing it for the name recognition,” Ray said. “You’ve got organizations on the national level who are very predisposed to supporting Habitat, both financially and through volunteering. Habitat has more amicable relationships with larger corporations.

“This should allow us to build, remodel and repair more homes,” he added.


Facts & Figures

Feb. 15, 2021: Springfield’s Fuller Center merges into Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton

18: Number of months Fuller Center and Habitat for Humanity have been working on merger

139: Number of families Habitat for Humanity has served since 2019

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