In 2005, Fahe recognized the need for a new approach in combating Appalachia’s housing crisis. In that year, it was estimated that there was over 100,000 units of subpar housing in the area and the number was growing. Up until that point Fahe had never produced over 2,000 units of housing per year. With the growing problem of substandard housing, it was recognized that 2,000 per year wouldn’t be enough to solve the problem. So a challenge was issued to the membership that was meant to not only address the growing need but to also push and inspire us to do greater things: Fahe and the membership would increase from 2,000 units of housing per year to 8,000 by the year 2015.
Unfortunately, there is a defeatist language that affects people who live in poverty and hardship. People believe they aren’t good enough. They think that no solution can work for them, that there isn’t any hope in even trying. When the challenge was first issued, instead of people asking, “How can we accomplish this?” they reacted with “Where will the money come from?” and “How can we possibly do this?” It was clear that they were falling victim to the same type of defeatist language.
To the testament of our members’ will and desire, they worked through those fears because their belief in helping people was far stronger. Because of their convictions, a year earlier than expected, we find ourselves sitting on top of the milestone of 8,725 families served with housing in a single year.
Fahe’s next challenge has been issued and we are proud to say that the doubt the membership experience with producing 8,000 units has been virtually non-existent. This shows growth and a new found belief in their capabilities in an every changing and challenging environment.
Our next goal is to change the lives of 1 million Appalachians by 2025. This is by no stretch of the imagination an easy goal, but it’s one that we must take on if we are to make an impact in Appalachia and we are proud to say that our members, partners, and people in our community have the believe that we can do it. Together all of us can change and save Appalachia.
During our Annual Meeting this year in Charleston, WV, the Fahe Executive Team decided to surprise our CEO, Jim King, with a very special celebration for meeting the challenge. We captured it on video and you can watch it below.