When you hear about Habitat for Humanity, you might picture Jimmy Carter hammering and sawing away on a home build site alongside some other smiling volunteers, or maybe a Bible study group painting the living room of a house. That’s very much what I imagined when I heard about our local Habitat chapter in Dalton. I learned, however, that Habitat is much more than just building new houses! It’s also the ReStore on Glenwood Avenue, where donated goods are sold to help fund our home builds. It’s the Repair Program, helping members of our community that need help with a leaky roof, or new windows, or adding a wheelchair ramp. It’s building strength and stability through shelter for those in our community that need it the most.
Greater Dalton Habitat has been active since 1987 and we’re currently building our 58th home. The homeowners that we partner with will build their homes alongside volunteers. They must apply to the program, go through a rigorous background and credit check, agree to put in over 350 hours of ‘sweat equity’ volunteer time, and then pay their mortgage once they’re in the home. I’d heard statistics about the housing issues in our community, and it’s very easy to gloss over thinking something like “Well that can’t be true in OUR community.” This past spring, I saw a Habitat home dedication write up in the paper. I immediately recognized the homeowner as one of my daughter’s favorite teachers at her school. I had no idea how unsafe her living conditions had been before Habitat. Her family now has a wonderful home in a safe neighborhood where her three children can play in their very own yard. The need for affordable, decent housing is everywhere in our community, you just need to know where to look. I’m thrilled our church family will be volunteering with Habitat, and I encourage you to come out and volunteer on July 13th and see the kind of impact you can have in our community.