A Habitat for Humanity day 9-11-2010
Volunteers in our midst on this day were quietly working to improve the lives of others in our community. This day was especially meaningful as we remembered the lives that were lost on the anniversary of that fateful day in 2001. All the volunteers agreed that today was a befitting way to commemorate their loss, especially for this organization. There was an added benefit of listening to a trumpeter play taps on the site as we worked. A fire retardant insulation was installed on two inside walls today. Two of the volunteers pictured were perusing the job as we waited for the delivery truck. Later that morning community volunteers gathered in the Calvary Presbyterian Church for refreshments. There everyone learned more about this organization and more about the involvement of the local community.
The organization was Habitat for Humanity, which gained national attention through the efforts of our beloved President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn. It was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller in Americus, Ga., in 1976 as a ministry to help others gain housing. Many working families; possibly receive government assistance, but most fall within 30-50% of the median income for their area, and usually give a $500 down payment for the help that this organization provides. According to Beverly, who has worked for Habitat for many years, after they qualify for the program, the families must give from 250 to 400 hours of “sweat equity” with family members limited to a 60 hour donation. They are required to take classes about finance and how to maintain the home. An advocate works with them during the process and after the family has moved in to the home. The program depends on donations from individuals and corporations.
Recently, according to the Habitat for Humanity’s website, https://www.habitat.org, Home Depot Foundation’s “2010-11 Partners in Sustainable Building program” promised to award Habitat grants from $3,000 for the homes built to ‘energy star’ standards, such as energy efficient appliances, programmable thermostats, water conservation plumbing, low or no-voc paints, up to $5,000 for those built to a higher green standard. Already our local Habitat received some of this grant money for their houses that met this guideline. The role of our local city officials was to design an infrastructure and allow Habitat and its for-profit partner, Leland Corp. to buy these homes for the outstanding mortgage, back taxes, etc. Out of twenty-four homes built in the last few years, Leland completed sixteen and Habitat completed eight. Other projects included the refurbishing of old buildings that were destined for demolition and saved to provide affordable apartments for the Ameri-Corps volunteers who are also a vital partner of Habitat. Eighty percent, according to Bev, our local volunteer leader today, were built by women. More than 243 homes have been built in our local area, mainly in the city of Newburgh with a future plan to expand to Walden.
Other volunteers include Youthbuild in Kingston for the projects there, and here our B.O.C.E.S. youth help with trusses and other projects, giving them practical work experience and a sense of community. The volunteers today included Marist College, the Presbyterian Churches of Washingtonville, Goshen, and Cornwall, the Mt. St. Mary’s College Alumni, and the Bruderhof. Many volunteers vowed to return for this worthwhile program. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity, volunteer, or donate you may visit the Restore on 125 Washington St. in the city of Newburgh and a volunteer would be happy to assist you, or see the house now in progress, drive by and take a look at the current site on E. Parmenter St. The proceeds from the Restore sales are used for future builds. Habitat for Humanity continues to grow and enrich our community, not only today but for our foreseeable future.