Twenty-five years ago, a historic neighborhood in west Rochester, NY was a different place than it is today. What once was an area broken by violence and crime, pervasive poverty, vacant lots and abandoned homes is now a more engaged and safer community, due in part to an unfortunate tragedy.
In 2001, 10-year-old Tyshaun Cauldwell was sitting on his bike outside on the street where he lived and was struck and killed by drug-related gunfire not intended for him. The senseless loss of innocent life moved the City of Rochester, residents and social service organizations to make a change. Within weeks, city officials and community partners formed the Jay Orchard Street Area Neighborhood Association (JOSANA) to transform the community’s grief into multigenerational investment and opportunity.
In 2011, Greater Rochester Habitat for Humanity committed to building 100 new homes in the JOSANA neighborhood within a half mile of Enrico Fermi School No. 17—where Tyshaun attended middle school. The affiliate fulfilled that promise in early 2022 with the completion of the 100th home. The local housing nonprofit has now begun conducting home repairs in the JOSANA neighborhood and revitalization projects in the nearby EMMA & Beechwood neighborhoods.
The JOSANA neighborhood is just one of many examples of Habitat’s commitment to building a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. Today, Habitat is furthering that commitment by helping unlock equitable homeownership through its seventh annual Home is the Key national cause marketing campaign. Throughout the month of April, three of Habitat’s cause marketing partners – At Home, The Home Décor Superstore, Kum & Go, and Resideo Technologies, Inc. – are providing financial support, product promotions, and their voices in support of Home is the Key.
Returning for its seventh year as a Home is the Key sponsor, At Home will donate 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of its Habitat for Humanity Gifts that Give Back, to Habitat for Humanity. For their tenth cause marketing campaign with Habitat, Kum & Go is inviting customers to support Home is the Key by making a donation at checkout. Additionally, for every Kum & Go branded bottle of water sold in April, 10 cents will be donated to Habitat. Kum & Go has also pledged a minimum of $500,000 to support Habitat this year. From April 1-30, Resideo will donate $50 to Habitat for every Honeywell Home smart thermostat sold, up to $250,000. HGTV and iHeart Media are also partnering with Habitat to amplify key messages through social media, digital, print and radio.
As part of the campaign, Habitat for Humanity International is also partnering with Habitat for Humanity Detroit to hold several in-person, neighborhood revitalization projects in the Morningside neighborhood, where the local housing nonprofit has renovated or repaired more than 150 blighted homes over the past 15 years. At Home, Kum & Go, and Resideo employees are donating time to volunteer with Habitat Detroit on the Morningside neighborhood revitalization projects. And on Earth Day, April 22, Habitat will host a community block party to celebrate the completion of those projects, highlighting sustainability and community resilience.
From April 1 – April 30, 2023, Resideo will donate $50 to Habitat for Humanity for every smart thermostat sold. Resideo will also donate up to $250,000 to Habitat for Humanity. On April 20, Resideo employees will dawn their hardhats and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Detroit to help with home repair projects in the Morningside neighborhood. Employees and executives will also join Habitat on April 22, Earth Day, to complete neighborhood revitalization projects. To conclude the day, Habitat will host a Community Block Party with Habitat homeowners to celebrate the work in this revitalized community.
Others can support the Home is the Key campaign by donating online and by purchasing select products that send a portion of the proceeds back to Habitat. Habitat encourages using #HomeIsTheKey on social media and visiting habitat.org/homeisthekey to learn more.