Founded in 1994, Habitat for Humanity of Visalia was started as a volunteer organization focused on the goal that everyone should have a simple, decent and affordable place to live. The founding board members set out to build their first Habitat home in Visalia and did most of the building, fundraising and daily business for the affiliate. The first house was completed in December of 1995.
In February of 1999 the Board of Directors hired the first staff person. Betsy Murphy was hired as a part-time program coordinator but was soon hired on full time as the Executive Director. When Betsy was hired, the organization was completing construction on the 4th Habitat for Humanity house in Visalia. The goal for the organization was to build 2 houses a year.
In summer of 2003, Habitat for Humanity of Visalia changed it’s name to Habitat for Humanity of Tulare County and moved to a new location on Bridge Street in Visalia. The community of Woodlake had been fundraising to help build a Habitat house for a family and the Board of Directors and their ED Betsy Murphy felt the organizations growth warranted a larger service area.
In 2011, Habitat for Humanity purchased 11,000 sq feet of warehouse space at 637 S Lovers Lane with the vision that the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, started on Bridge Street in 2004, could potentially become a sustainable source of income for the affiliate and it’s building programs. Since it’s opening on Lovers Lane, the store has seen a steady increase in donations and customers.
In February of 2014, Betsy Murphy announced that after 15 years as the organizations ED, she would be retiring the end of June. At the time Betsy retired the organization had built/remodeled 60 homes with Habitat homeowner partners and helped more that 200 homeowners with home repairs. Well Done Betsy!
On July 1, 2014, we welcomed our new Executive Director Dirk Holkeboer.
With the growing need to serve more people in the community, the Board of Directors voted to go through the necessary steps to add Kings County to the affiliates service area. In April of 2016, we officially became Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties.
With more than 40% of the area’s population considered cost burdened when it comes to housing (More than 30% of household income goes towards housing costs), the need for affordable housing is great. Because of the continued support of the businesses, congregations, the local community, service organizations and individuals, Habitat for Humanity has been able to make a difference in Tulare and Kings Counties.
Donate to Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties and help even more families realize their dream of a simple, decent, affordable home. Send your donation to PO Box 848, Visalia CA, 93279 or donate on line safely by Clicking Here.