New Habitat for Humanity director relishes role

Janet Brink

Phil Castle, The Business Times

After years spent volunteering for a variety of business and charitable organizations, Janet Brink has channeled her passion for community service into her new role as executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County.

And Brink couldn’t be happier with the mission at hand: providing safe, decent and affordable housing to people in need. “I’m so thrilled,” she said.

Working with a 12-member board of directors, Brink oversees local operations of the nonprofit, Christian organization. In Mesa County, Habitat for Humanity has 20 employees and about 100 volunteers.

Brink brings to her position experience serving on the boards of a variety of groups, among them the Downtown Association, Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Developments Inc., but also the Community Hospital Foundation, Grand Junction Lions Club and Junior Service League. She also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity for three years.

“It’s all of our obligations to give back to our community in some way,” she said.

In addition, Brink served as volunteer director at Community Hospital and worked in the retail sector for 11 years.

Collectively, those experiences give Brink what she said is a thorough understanding of the community and its needs.

Habitat for Humanity meets one of the most essential needs of all — that of housing — in helping people who couldn’t otherwise afford to purchase home.

Since 1990, Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County has constructed more than 60 homes. Brink said work is expected to soon begin on the second phase of a subdivision of Habitat homes.

Robynne Wilson, family services coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County, said the group partners with individuals and families that earn too much income to qualify for housing assistance programs, yet not enough income to qualify for conventional mortgages.

This typically means a family will have income in the range of 30 percent to 50 percent of the average median income based on annual Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines, she added.

“That’s the gap we’re trying to fill.”

Participants must repay their mortgages. But with no interest charged, monthly payments are usually equal to or even less than rent, Wilson said.

Participants also must contribute 500 hours in volunteer service in helping to construct Habitat for Humanity homes or working for the organization in other roles.

Brink said donations of money, time and building materials enable Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County to pursue its mission. The organization also raises money through its ReStore, which sells donated building materials, furnishings and a variety of other wares.

Area businesses constitute an essential source of ongoing support, she said, in terms of money, merchandise and volunteers.

Brink said fund-raising and grant writing are among her top priorities — along with recruitment for the organization’s board and various committees.

But the main thing remains the main thing, she said, and that’s building homes for those in need.