Habitat for Humanity

Welcome to the second edition of Philanthropic Fridays!  This week: Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity Logo

With the events of the current economic downturn housing has been on the minds of many this past year.  I think it’s important to talk about an organization that has been helping provide housing and very low cost mortgages not only to people in the US, but also to people around the world since 1976.

I think many people think Habitat for Humanity just builds houses and gives them to the poor, a hand-out.  That’s not true, the people who receive these houses must help to build their home and the homes of others, they must put down a down payment, and then must pay the mortgage on the house.  Habitat makes affordable housing possible for these low income families because they do not profit on the sale of the home to the family and they also provide low to no rate mortgages to the family, thus keeping the cost of the home down as much as possible.

Habitat chooses the families who will receive their affordable housing through committee, determining families who are most willing to help build and are most able to pay for the home.  There are no freebies, just help to get these families into a safe affordable home they would not have been able to procure themselves.

Did you know Habitat for Humanity is probably more green than a lot of the other builders out there?  The homes are built using a technique called Optimized Value Engineering.  By using this technique, the houses are designed to use less lumber, which in turn reduces waste.  Habitat also promotes reuse of materials.  At every build site there is a pile of materials from completed projects in the house that may be used again/elsewhere in the project that may have otherwise have be thrown out.  That pile is used in other projects/homes or recycled.  Also, by building small homes there is less need for materials and costs less to heat and cool these homes.  In addition, Habitat uses it’s green ideas to raise funds for the local builds by selling surplus supplies to the public with the proceeds going to the build.


Okay, now how can you help?

Habitat for Humanity offers many ways in which you can help.  You can volunteer and put some sweat equity into a local home.  You can volunteer for long periods of time to help build homes in far away countries if you’d like.  You can donate your hard earned cash by choosing a project you’d like your funds to go to or donate to the organization and they will decide the place your money can be of the most help.  You can purchase some of the Reuse materials that we talked about above.  You can become an advocate for Habitat for Humanity and poverty housing.  Maybe you could get your company to sponsor a build for a day.  There are so many ways you can donate your time and money to this great cause, please visit their website for more ideas, even kids can help.

All information and images for this post was gleaned from the Habitat for Humanity website.

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