Habitat for Humanity Stanislaus County and Habitat for Humanity Westside Merced County have merged and will be called Habitat for Humanity Merced/Stanislaus Counties, serving the entire area.

In 2022, the Habitat for Humanity Merced affiliate pivoted to become the Fuller Institute.

Presently, there exists a gap in services in Merced County and this merger provides an opportunity to expand services to the entire community while consolidating forces for the greatest good. We’re excited to pool the talent base of our two affiliates to deliver Habitat’s program services to more people during this period of critical housing need.

Both organizations have a long history, having been affiliated with Habitat for Humanity International, embracing the corporate vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to call home.

Habitat for Humanity Merced/Stanislaus is poised to work in areas previously underserved.

We are in the process of expanding our Board to ensure greater representation while building and training a new workforce. There will be new opportunities for partnerships to implement program services.

The agency will focus on new home construction for low-income households, critical home repairs, expanding the popular “ReStore,” where donated new and used home improvement goods are sold to the public, and expansion of housing counseling services.

“The newly formed board and our added staff bring decades of experience, opening the organization to a larger network of compassionate, caring community members that fundamentally believe what we do at Habitat: that more must be done to change the circumstances of those in need in our community,” said Lisa Mantarro Moore, acting Board Chair.

While Habitat’s current physical footprint remains at the ReStore in Modesto at 630 Kearney Ave, the organization is in the process of moving to a larger warehouse at 2206 Tenaya Ave, Modesto, and is exploring a satellite office model that can deliver its housing supportive services to more in the region.

By merging forces, two Central Valley affiliates are switching gears and looking at implementing mission goals with a more regional perspective. While there could be concerns that the focus is lost, the addition of new talent and resources will allow for immediate capacity growth. The two affiliates have been combined to forge a new organization that is better than, even, the sum of the parts.

The Board direction and staffing is more expansive than they had been under the former models. Both Merced County West Side and Stanislaus Affiliates have already seen improvements under the new structure. Strengths and perspectives have combined to the greatest good. While our Board of Directors has grown, we will be identifying skills needed for robust leadership.

Capturing the voice of the residents of each community will be a critical part of our strategic planning process as we move forward. I see great diversity within our geographic region, but I am confident we will be able to serve every single pocket with greater capacity because we are now working together.

During the next few months there will be several breakout sessions in which stakeholders will be invited to share their hopes, concerns and commitments with the organization. Details to follow.

Habitat for Humanity, Merced/Stanislaus County has a team of trained professionals who will be expanding program services throughout the region.  The affiliate works six days a week and is readily accessible to the community.

And though the merger is front and center, we are gearing up to respond to a disaster within our new service area. Information regarding program services and eligibility will be available in both English and Spanish. Those interested in engaging as volunteers, with the Board or committees, and as donors will be able to find contact information on the new website.

Prior to announcing the merger to the community, members of the affiliate were already coordinating with Habitat International and local community groups to determine how Habitat for Humanity can best serve the community of Planada.

On Saturday, the group, along with partners from Interact at Downey High School, Modesto Rotary, Winton Rotary, and volunteers from as far away as Los Banos, Dos Palos and Stockton, filled 200 bags for youth who have been impacted by flooding. Included in the bags was Habitat for Humanity contact information. We are looking at how we can be part of the cleanup process. Our HUD certified Housing Counselors are gearing up to assist those who need assistance completing applications for assistance.

We are hopeful this initiative will engage volunteers from around the country to join forces and give a hand in the recovery process following the devastating floods.

More information can be found at www.hfhmsc.org

Anita Hellum