Building more than houses

Published 1:34 pm Thursday, July 31, 2008

By Staff
Habitat for Humanity of Beaufort County recently built its 15th house in Beaufort County. That’s impressive, but not as impressive as some of the other things the organization is building.
It builds homes. It builds up families, which turn Habitat for Humanity houses into homes. It builds up confidence and hope in people like Malinda Beasley and her granddaughter, Ariel Beasley. That 15th house was built for them in Chocowinity. It builds up the inventory of affordable homes in the city and county. It builds up the tax base in the city and county.
It builds a sense of community among those who help build the houses and the recipients of those houses.
Habitat for Humanity of Beaufort County does all that without money from local, state and federal sources. The funding needed to carry out its mission comes from local residents, churches and businesses. Volunteers, including many contractors, either provide their time and skills at cost or no cost, helping reduce the cost of building a house.
Habitat for Humanity also builds a sense of ownership within the families it helps, requiring each homeowner to contribute “sweat equity” in building that homeowner’s house. That means that homeowner-to-be must be actively involved in building his or her house. And it’s a safe bet that someone who helps build his or her house likely will take better care of that house than they would of a dwelling in which they lived but did not own.
Habitat for Humanity uses more than lumber, bricks and drywall when it builds a house. It uses the self-esteem of those required to provide that sweat equity as their houses are being constructed. It uses the neighbor-helping-neighbor philosophy, which helps build foundations of respect and understanding in communities where Habitat for Humanity houses are found.
That results in Habitat homeowners helping others become Habitat homeowners. Habitat homeowners make great Habitat volunteers because they know first-hand just how important the Habitat for Humanity mission has become.
Habitat for Humanity provides more than just dwelling for needy folks. The organization’s Web site provides the following examples of how people who move into Habitat homes are affected:
Habitat for Humanity’s use of bricks and mortar to build houses for deserving people is commendable and should be encouraged.
Habitat for Humanity’s use of caring volunteers and others to help build families and improve communities is an investment that pays dividends far beyond just meeting one of life’s basic needs — shelter.
And when Habitat for Humanity builds its 16th house in Beaufort County, think about helping out by using a hammer, working with a saw or putting a roof on that house. You will be building upon a foundation of caring that’s rock solid.