I’m really excited to be a part of Pittsburg County Habitat for Humanity. It’s been a long time coming. We started the process of becoming an affiliate nearly 2 years ago. But now we are to the point of selecting partner families and building homes.
I know that Habitat will be a success because I have seen our community rally to meet needs. I think of the Nutrition Club. We learned that 1 in 5 children was in danger of missing meals. We decided that this was not acceptable in our community. So through the efforts of individuals, churches, and businesses Shared Blessings now distributes nearly 500 bags of food each week to 16 schools in our community, and we plan to see that every elementary school in Pittsburg County is covered by the end of 2013.
What’s great about Habitat is that it is a life change for a family. Home ownership has the ability to lift families out of poverty. For low income families it is the only way to generate financial stability, but without help, for families living below the poverty line it is nearly unattainable.
Home ownership has the ability to break the bonds of generational poverty. Children who’s parents own their own home are 60% more likely to go to college and 50% more likely to own their own home one day.
Children who live in substandard housing are 60% more likely to develop asthma than those who don’t. They are less likely to graduate high school and less likely to go to college. Home ownership has the ability to positively affect future generations.
Habitat is about development, more than relief. Relief is when we meet temporary needs. Someone needs food, we give them food. Someone needs clothes, we give them clothes. There is a time and place for relief, but development is about moving someone to a better situation. Development requires those who need assistance in improving their situation to participate in the process. Habitat is about development, so it is a hand up and not a hand out. Partner families have a small no interest mortgage, but that mortgage is offset through their participation in the sweat equity program which requires working on their home, community service, and classes on personal finances and home ownership. But in focusing on development rather than relief you are positively affecting families for generations. Relief is easier than development and requires less of those giving and those receiving, but development has the potential to be life altering rather than creating dependency on relief.
The reason I believe in Habitat for Humanity is that this my community. This is your community. We are the ones who decide whether or not our neighbors live in substandard housing, which over 1,200 households and 1 in 6 children do. We are the ones who can decide if we want to improve the outlook for future generations and help families obtain the dream of owning their own home.
It is a massive undertaking to make this happen. But consider being a part. Here are a couple of ways to do that.
1. Volunteer – you can volunteer in the building process or in the areas of family support. To sign-up go here.
2. Donate – in order to help offset the cost, we rely on donations. We low overhead, so you can feel secure that your donation will go to construction projects.