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I just want to sleep in my own bed tonight…

October 24, 2009

habitat-for-humanity-150420082956Housing is arguably the biggest issue facing people in poverty in America (maybe second to affordable health care, but that is for another day). Paying rent is a catch 22 of needing a roof over your head, not being able to buy one, so you give your money to someone who owns a roof, so now you have a roof, but using that roof means you will likely never be able to buy one of your own. Homeownership has a catch, you aren’t just buying the roof, walls, and foundation. You have to be able to afford the neighborhood, the interest, and markup to those who built your house. Throw in the fact that many many families make less than living wage, and you have a situation where keeping a roof over your head cycles into keeping you in poverty.
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But why? If you could afford a loan for just the materials, couldn’t you build it yourself with the help of people in your community? You’d have a home, your money would go towards building equity. It is that risk-taking step out of the fasting spinning revolving door of poverty (literally, those revolving doors can be a little scary to step out of, you could just keep going around and around for hours). But, you cannot buy the materials, you do not know how to build a house, and you just do not have that many friends. How can you do this?
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Habitat for Humanity takes care of this part for you. You put in the sweat and labor, 450 hours minimum on other people’s houses and your own. You get a no interest loan for the cost of the land and materials. Volunteers arrive in the dozens… well, 5 or 6 at a time at least. It takes months to finish the house, but when it’s done, you are a homeowner. You are building equity. Your value on paper just went through the roof! This organization has done the unimaginable, they’ve seen a mountain size obstacle for people who are in poverty, they said “No” and…. they changed it. Habitat gives people no interest mortgages to build a house at cost. 100’s of families in Jefferson County have benefitted from this program, and Habitat for Humanity is no where near stopping.
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Myself, I have donated my time to building houses. It was rewarding and, unlike a lot of volunteering I have done, the results are right in front of your face. It’s an amazing experience. If you have read my profile, you know I like going abroad. I’ll be honest, I have the ulterior motive of going abroad with Habitat for Humanity in the future as well, so its not all unselfish!

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If you want to contribute, go to the website. Monies or time are welcome! Let’s keep this program that works going, and more importantly, let’s keep changing peoples lives for the better! When the problems out there seem overwhelming, go get your hands dirty for something you know works! Changing the world one family at a time! Do something for others while doing something for yourself! (Alright, the number of cliches available is infinite, you get my point).
Habitat For Humanity
See you at the sight! (AW)

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