Barr brings fresh outlook to Habitat for Humanity


By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

TROY — The Habitat for Humanity of Miami and Shelby Counties (HFHMSC), under the new leadership of Scott Barr as the organization’s new executive director/COO, has several new plans in the works for the future.

Barr joined HFHMSC in spring 2023 upon the impending retirement of William “Bill” Horstman on Jan. 31, after 10 years serving as its executive director. Barr, who spent the previous 11 years as president/CEO of the Shelby County United Way, said it was a transition for both Habitat and the United Way.

“After 11 years of running a top-five, small-city United Way and raising $1.4 million in a community under 50,000, is the No. 1 (reason), it was time,” Barr said. “And the second (reason) is, everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been a change agent. You go in and look at what’s working well, where you can make additions. And, we’ve grown so much up in Shelby County. … We tried to be very evidence-based or forward-thinking. … So, I got to a point after 11 years, where you know, I did what I could do. It’s time for another leader to come in with a different lens and to do things not the Scott Barr way; to make it better. The foundation is sound. And it allowed me to come down here and allow my creative juices to get going.”

While at the United Way, Barr helped lead 11 consecutive successful annual campaigns raising close to $16 million, and in his words, built a “rockstar” team at the United Way he loved working along side. The transition was a six month process, Barr said, to fully get on board with at HFHMSC with Horstman’s help handing over the reins.

Based out of the Troy office, Barr’s primary responsibility is to execute the strategic direction plans and coordinate the HFHMSC’s development activities, including public relations, volunteer development, family services, home building, as well as fund raising efforts.

Goals Barr has set for HFHMSC include building upon the previous seven members of the board of directors to 11 or possibly 12 members, diversify the organization’s revenue, increase the number of new builds per year to two between both counties, and grow the home repair program.

During the first two months since Barr resumed leadership, HFHMSC has added four new board members, as well as a new marketing/volunteer coordinator and a new construction manager. Newly joining the board of directors are: Mike Lochard, owner of Lochard Inc.; Mickey Hamer, retired site leader at Cargill Sidney; Chad Hollinger, Sidney Fire chief; and Jessica Zawalich (starting in February). Zawalich currently serves as the connections and discipleship pastor at The Valley Church in Troy. Her role is to develop relational connections that lead to spiritual growth and transformation. These additions will bring to the board, Barr said in a press release, extensive leadership and strategic planning skills, a proven record of service to their communities, and a personal passion to improve the lives of our residents. Mark Barga, of Shelby County, is the new construction manager, and Maureen O’Keefe, of Sidney, is the new marketing/volunteer coordinator.

Growing the home repair program, which works to improve existing homes, is a goal Barr is working hard to develop. He pointed out that many are not even aware HFHMSC can help homeowners in this capacity. Home repairs include changing or repairing materials or components, re-configuring of space, the modification for accessibility, and the installation or extension of plumbing, mechanical or electrical systems on an existing structure.

In order to fund these critical home repair needs, the organization has initiated a new program called “Project Playhouse.” A partnering HFHMSC sponsor will provide the funds to build a playhouse that may go to a non-profit organization, childcare center, church, or local family. And the funds raised, minus the cost of the materials for the playhouse, will go to the home repairs program. The first playhouse has been under construction during the month of January.

“We got plans for 2024 to grow the critical home repair program. If we can get as many as 20 people/20 homes served in one year, we are pushing,” Barr said. “The bigger impact is with repairs. It is the hope to help more people, so people are able to stay in their homes.”

Habitat aims to build a home in Piqua in 2024 and has the goal for 2025 and 2026 to build two homes during each year, likely one in each county.

Its ReStore store, which was extended under Horstman’s leadership, was moved to larger better location on Main Street in Troy; it is always seeking volunteers. Barr commended Horstman on ReStore’s financial stability and being ready for more. He also praised the Habitat team he joined when coming to Troy.

“We are going to build on top of where we have been. I’m all about the partnerships and relationships and connecting the dots,” Barr said.

Habitat for Humanity is always seeking volunteers with experience in woodworking, carpentry, or construction for its home repair program and activity center. For more information on how to become a sponsor or Habitat’s programs or volunteer opportunities, contact Barr at [email protected] or 937-332-3763.

No posts to display