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Habitat for Humanity’s $60,000 Building Campaign

The Habitat for Humanity Middlesex trailer is waiting to transport construction materials to its next project.

by Lyle Predmore

When we hear “Habitat for Humanity” or just “Habitat,” the two most common responses are “that is the movement that Jimmy Carter started,” and “they give away houses.”
Both of these common statements about Habitat for Humanity are false. 

Habitat was started in 1976 in Americus, Ga., by the late Millard Fuller and his wife Linda.  President Carter and his wife Rosalynn, whose home is eight miles from Americus, in Plains, Ga., have been longtime Habitat supporters and volunteers as an expression of their Christian faith. They have helped bring national attention to the organization’s house-building work. Every year they lead the Jimmy Carter Work Project.

Secondly, a Habitat house is not a freebee. The family selected for the house is required to contribute 300 hours of “sweat equity” on the house. When they become a homeowner, they also have a mortgage with the local Habitat Affiliate and make monthly payments. The part that makes home ownership affordable to a lower income working family is that there is no interest on the loan, a luxury that banks cannot afford to offer their clients. The monthly payments in turn help with the expenses of building additional Habitat houses. 

With these two myths behind us, Habitat affiliates have developed into all sizes and shapes in the last 35 years. Some include large metropolitan areas like Richmond or Hampton Roads.  They build dozens of houses a year and include a paid staff to look after details.

At the other end of the spectrum is our Middlesex affiliate. We have the minimum suggested population base of 10,000. We are an all-volunteer staffed group. For us, this works. Sometimes it is hard work. The spin-off is affordable houses turned into safe homes.  And we find ourselves working with the best of Middlesex in so many ways.

Part of the hard work is fundraising. Our coffers are low. Very low. A goal of $60,000 has been set for our Building Campaign. We feel confident that the best of Middlesex will help us.

The staff at Southside Sentinel has agreed to help. It will be reporting on the results of our campaign over the next 10 weeks. Tax-exempt receipts will be issued for checks mailed to HFH Middlesex, P.O. Box 492, Hartfield, VA 23071.  Contributors will be listed in the Sentinel each week.

posted 07.15.2009

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