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Because of This House

Because of This House

By Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity
Because of This House is a podcast brought to you by Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity. On the show, we explore and learn about the realities of housing in Rockford. We hear the stories of Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity homeowners, volunteers, and staff. We invite local experts to educate us on the many ways that housing impacts individual lives and entire communities. And ultimately, we invite you to engage in the work of affordable, fair, and equitable housing. Thank you for listening!
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A Brief Message From Us: See you in 2022!
We just wanted to take a moment to thank all of our listeners who have engaged with Because of This House this year! We are deeply grateful for your support, and we can't wait to continue to share new episodes with you in the future. We'll be taking a break over the next couple of months to work on some new ideas. While you wait for us to return, catch up on the episodes you've missed, leave ratings, leave reviews, and share this podcast with your friends. Thanks again-- we'll see you in 2022!
December 30, 2021
Episode 13: Charae's Story of Courage, Perseverance & Hope
Charae, a 2021 Habitat homebuyer (and now homeowner!), has been waiting for her Habitat home since 2019. Due to setbacks caused by the pandemic, she has had to persevere through a lot of ups and downs, but this year, her home was finally completed. In this conversation with Charae, we discuss what this house means to her family, what the path to homeownership was like along the way, and what she and her kids are most looking forward to about their new home.  Since we recorded this episode, Charae and her family have moved into their finished Habitat home-- just in time for Christmas.  For more information about Habitat's homeownership process, visit
December 22, 2021
Episode 12: The Beginning of Rockford Habitat with Gary Ecklund & Stanley Campbell
In this episode, we are joined by Gary Ecklund and Stanley Campbell, two of the original members of Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity’s first board of directors. Gary and Stanley share about the beginning of Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity back in 1988, and what it’s been like to see the organization grow over the years. Please note that a lot of our policies and capacity as an organization have evolved, changed, and expanded over time, so not everything that Gary and Stanley share is consistent with Habitat today. However, learning about our history helps us to see where we’ve come from, and reminds us where we’d like to go. Thank you, Gary and Stanley, for being our guests—we appreciate you and the many ways that you’ve supported Habitat over the years.
December 08, 2021
Episode 11: All about the Rockford ReStore with John Hargrove
Longtime volunteer John Hargrove shares all about the Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore, its mission, and what makes the store so unique. He also tells some pretty interesting stories about a few of the items that he's seen at the store-- including one donation of 500 brand new toilets (because why not) and another donation of a valuable painting.  To connect with the ReStore, visit and click on the ReStore tab, like us on Facebook (@ReStoreRockford), follow us on Instagram (@restorerockford), or follow us on TikTok (@rockfordhabitat1988).
November 24, 2021
Episode 10: The Partnership of Rockford Public Schools & Habitat with Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett
For the past few years, through a partnership between Habitat and Rockford Public Schools, construction students from two local high schools have built Habitat homes from the ground up. This opportunity is not only a unique, hands-on learning experience for the students, but it also builds homes for local families pursuing homeownership through Habitat. In this episode, we sit down with Dr. Ehren Jarrett, the superintendent of Rockford Public Schools, to discuss how this partnership has impacted the school district and the entire community.  To keep up with what's happening at Rockford Public Schools, check out their blog here:
November 10, 2021
Episode 9: Housing & the Environment with Brad Roos
Brad Roos, president of Sustain Rockford, joins us on this episode for an increasingly important discussion about the relationship between housing and the environment. The reality of the environmental crisis is growing more and more serious, which means that now is the time to take action as individuals and in our communities. Brad also shares about the GreenTown conference, which is a tangible opportunity for Rockford locals to advocate for a more sustainable future for our city.  To learn more or register for GreenTown, visit To keep up with Brad and his work with Sustain Rockford, visit
October 27, 2021
Episode 8: Latrina & Sanaai Share Their Habitat Journey as Mother and Daughter
We're so excited to welcome more Habitat for Humanity homeowners to the podcast! In this episode, Latrina and her daughter, Sanaai, share their perspectives of their Habitat journey, as well as how their lives have changed since they moved into their home. They discuss how owning their home has impacted things like their relationships with family, health, and even the simple day-to-day elements of life. We hope you enjoy hearing from Latrina and Sanaai! 
October 13, 2021
Episode 7: Advocating For Housing Policy With Bob Palmer & Sheila Sutton
Bob Palmer and Sheila Sutton from Housing Action Illinois share their expertise about housing-related needs across the state, and how housing policies can respond to these needs. To learn more about how you can get involved in advocating for policies that make affordable, quality housing available for everyone, visit 
September 29, 2021
Episode 6: Courageous Pursuit of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion with Glasa Gottschalk
Glasa Gottschalk, vice president of our board of directors and chair of the RAHFH diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) committee, was kind enough to sit down with us and discuss the importance of pursuing DEI on every level of our organization. We can't wait for you to hear this one-- Glasa had such insightful wisdom and knowledge to share!  To get involved with Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity's DEI efforts (or in any other area of our organization), visit or contact us here: Glasa mentioned that you can support Habitat while you shop, and that is 1000% true!! Visit to learn more.  To keep up with Glasa, visit her website at or follow her on Instagram/ Facebook-- just search Go To GII!
September 15, 2021
Episode 5: Rachel's Story - How Home Evolves With Us
We consider it a privilege to share this conversation with Rachel, a Habitat homeowner who has lived in her home for 20 years. Rachel shares how homeownership established a legacy for her family and how she has walked in her identity as a homeowner in new ways over time. If you enjoy listening to Rachel's story and want to read more of her homeownership journey, check out this post from our blog last year-- it includes a gallery of photos from her home, which is truly special. Here's the link:
September 01, 2021
Episode 4: Keri Asevedo Shares Her Story, Vision, and Heart for Habitat
We are so excited to share this conversation with Keri Asevedo, the Executive Director of Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity. In this episode, you'll have the chance to hear the story of how Keri ended up serving with Rockford Habitat, what her dreams for the future of the organization are, and what we're up to right now during construction season. In Keri's words, there is a place for you at Habitat for Humanity. If you're interested in getting involved in any capacity, visit This episode was recorded on June 24, 2021.
August 18, 2021
Episode 3: Mayor McNamara Talks Community, Rebuilding, and Housing in Rockford
In this episode, Mayor Tom McNamara shares about the City of Rockford's initiatives to advocate for safe and affordable housing, his own personal experience of Rockford and Habitat, and his dreams for the future of our city. We hope you enjoy this conversation, and that it gives you some ideas of how you can get involved in strengthening our community.  City of Rockford Website:
August 04, 2021
Episode 2: A Discussion of Home and Family with Janessa
Our guest for this episode is Janessa, a Habitat for Humanity homeowner. Janessa and her family have owned their home for five years, and their extended family has been connected to Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity for a long time-- you'll hear more about that in the episode. Throughout this conversation, Janessa shares her story, as well as how her home played an important role in bringing her family closer together. 
July 21, 2021
Episode 1: An Overview of Habitat with Caitlyn Baylor
In our first ever episode of Because of This House, we have a conversation with Caitlyn Baylor, Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity’s homeowner services coordinator. Caitlyn shares her expertise about the realities of housing in Rockford, particularly the lack of affordable housing options in our community. She helps us understand affordable housing as an objective term rather than a subjective one, and unpacks how the history of housing discrimination, redlining, and blockbusting limits affordable housing opportunities for many people in Rockford. Finally, Caitlyn shares how Habitat addresses some of these issues, and walks us through the process of how homebuyers become Habitat homeowners. We’re beyond excited to share this conversation with you, and think it’s the perfect overview of what Because of This House is all about. Resources: Social vulnerability and Redlining Map: | A report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition on the High Cost of Housing: | Rockford Habitat Blog post with statistics about Habitat Home Mortgages:
July 07, 2021
Welcome to Because of This House!
Because of This House is a podcast brought to you by Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity. On the show, we explore and learn about the realities of housing in Rockford. We hear the stories of Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity homeowners, volunteers, and staff. We invite local experts to educate us on the many ways that housing impacts individual lives and entire communities. And ultimately, we invite you to engage in the work of affordable, fair, and equitable housing. Thank you for listening, and stay tuned for some full episodes coming soon!
May 07, 2021