Habitat for Humanity helps people work their way into homes


Photo via Wikipedia Commons under the Creative Commons License

Nicole Sanzi, Staff Writer

Have you ever wanted to help build a house or help out in your community? Well, you can check it off your bucket list if you work with Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 by Clarence Jordan, with the vision of “Partnership Housing.” This is the idea of volunteers working together to build affordable, adequate housing for those in need. Each house is built from a concrete base and includes running water, insulation, electricity, plumbing, and other basic living necessities. Habitat’s mission is to put God’s love into action by building homes, communities, and hope.

Through this mission, approximately 22 million people build houses every year for Habitat for Humanity around the world. They have daily projects to better neighborhoods and lives of struggling families. Homes are built and repaired all over the earth, from places like Asia and Europe, all the way to the Caribbean. There are many opportunities to travel around the world, but there are even more opportunities to help out within your own community.

We all need a hand up sometimes,” said Ms. Kelly Kemmerer, Executive Director for Monroe County Habitat for Humanity. “So working in an organization like this, it is a great thing and gives people an opportunity to live better.”

Here in Monroe County, volunteers focus on the community at a smaller scale, with the same big impact. The Monroe Habitat stays true to their standing motto:“Neighbors helping neighbors with a hand up, not a hand out.”

The local Habitat tackles many different projects from building homes with new foundations, to fixing existing homes through their Home Preservation programs.

When struggling families wish to be new homeowners, there is a process that Habitat requires them to follow. A family of two must make an income of less than $44,100 annually, and must also be up to date on taxes, insurance, and mortgage on their current place of stay.

After these qualifications are met, the homeowner must volunteer 250 hours of their own time to building their future house. They agree to a 30-year interest free mortgage rate through Habitat and are provided with financial literacy classes to help them in the future.

The Home Preservation projects consist of taking homes and rehabilitating them. This is a new program through Monroe County, where Habitat focuses on helping struggling owners complete necessary safety projects on their homes. For the past four years, the Monroe Habitat has replaced roofs, floors, doors, and windows. They have also built handicapped ramps and helped with the overall safety of a person’s home.

“My favorite part about volunteering is that I get to meet people from all different backgrounds,” said Kemmerer. “ Some people are in construction or they’re teachers or students. It is nice to come together to help someone live in a safer more decent way.”

Habitat for Humanity is a great way to help the community around you. Start right here in Monroe County.