Jack Thompson came from the building business when he joined Richmond Habitat for Humanity six years ago. After his time at the nonprofit, he says, "I feel like I am making a difference."
His mission at Habitat has a longer time horizon and broader reach, he notes, than simply moving lower-income families into new, solid houses.
In Thompson's time at the affordable housing organization, he says much of the hard work has been done by working with state and city officials to open the pipeline of homes that can be rehabbed in growing neighborhoods. Part of this success, Thompson explains, was gaining legislative approval for the city to sell tax-delinquent homes to buyers like Habitat so that they could be added to the inventory available for new clients.
"I'm really helping these folks break the cycle of poverty," he says.
A goal for Habitat's clients is to move to new, affordable neighborhoods where they can build equity in a house and find new opportunities away from distressed communities.
"That's what gets me up in the morning and keeps me motivated," Thompson says.