Remodeling for Charity: Part 1 of 5

From on August 24, 2009 in General Remodel

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This week, we’ll be spotlighting five remarkable organizations that provide home construction and renovation for those in need. Each day’s story will be a tribute, not just to the organization that plans, fundraises and coordinates the renovation of these homes, but also to the thousands of volunteers who show up with hammers and work gloves to be a part of the vision. Here’s the story of the well-known nonprofit, Habitat for Humanity, national leader in home-building for low-income families.

Habitat for Humanity

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Dorothy stands in front of the oak tree beside her home, the one she planted nearly 21 years ago. For her, the tree represents the stability she’s found as a Habitat for Humanity homeowner. She had been raising her nine grandchildren in a neighborhood plagued by drugs and crime, and she saw no way out. Not having enough money for a down payment, Dorothy felt little hope that she’d ever own a comfortable home for the kids to play and have their own space.

That was, until she became the first Habitat homeowner in Houston. Dorothy and her nine grandchildren, ranging in age from four to 18, moved in two days before the Christmas of 1988. Her house payments today are less than her rent was two decades ago. She’s grateful for the no-interest loan that will allow her to pay off her debt in the next few years. “I want to be able to pay the last note,” she said. “I want to savor the feeling that I have paid it off and that it’s completely mine.”

The tree isn’t all that’s grown in this safe-haven of a neighborhood. Her grandchildren are all grown and gone, but they come home often to the same address on Rawley Street where they grew up. Dorothy had longed for that security for them. Homeownership has taught her about home maintenance and being part of a community. “I am totally, completely happy here,” she said. “And there’s not a mansion in the world I would trade my home for.”

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit Christian housing ministry that has built over 300,000 houses for more than 1.5 million people in communities all over the world.

Habitat for Humanity with Homeowner Services of America

These low-income families are not given a handout, but a “hand up.” In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, the homeowners spend hundreds of hours, lovingly called “sweat equity,” working side-by-side with volunteers on their own Habitat home and then on houses for others. The mortgage payments go toward building more homes.

The program could not go forward without thousands of volunteers in the 3,000 worldwide communities where Habitat for Humanity homes have sprang up. Homeowner Services of America (HSA) and its sister company, First Design Cabinetry (FDC), donated a set of kitchen cabinetry to Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley for an Ypsilanti, Michigan home.

charity-habitaty-hsa.jpgDavid Rhoads (left), HSA’s founder, owner and president, met with a construction coordinator to deliver the $3,000 cabinets.

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Vacant land suitable for building homes is almost nonexistent in Huron Valley. So Habitat switched its focus from new construction to remodeling; they improve foreclosed or run-down properties. This beautifies neighborhoods. And future homeowners have a place to call home. Says HSA founder David Rhoads, the work is “a win- win for everybody.”

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How Does Habitat Raise Funds?

Through volunteer organizations like Kitchen Design Concepts

charity-habitat-kitchen-design-concepts.jpgKitchen Design Concepts co-owners Jennifer Sherrill and Mary Kathryn Reese of Dallas, Texas, recycle gently used cabinets and other kitchen items to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity

Dallas-area Habitat for Humanity received a helping hand from Kitchen Design when they approached the nonprofit with a proposal. They put forward selling gently used kitchen and household items discarded in renovations to raise money for Habitat. So far, $50,000 has been generated.

They want to spread the word about recycling to:

  • Support a charity

  • Protect our environment

  • Receive a tax deduction

It’s a win-win-win situation! The donor, homeowner and community all benefit.

Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Today, the organization is a true world leader in addressing the issues of poverty housing. And it’s because many are stepping up to live out Mr. Fuller’s vision, seeing “life as both a gift and a responsibility. My responsibility is to use what God has given me to help his people in need.”