Habitat For Humanity – Helping Our Community

Family (woman holding little girl and father) standing in room of their completed house, desk in background.

We all understand the need and want to have a place to call home. Not just a house, but a home that provides a healthy and safe environment for growing and learning. A place to spend time with the ones we love and create lasting memories that we cherish for our entire lives. Not everyone has the good fortune and ability to attain that ideal on their own. Habitat for Humanity understands that and has created a way to help those in need, while also giving them a way to help themselves.

“With a little help, we all have the potential to stand on our own.”

Millard Fuller and Clarence Jordan first developed the idea of building houses for those in need at no profit or interest on loans in 1968 in Koinonia Community in Americus, Georgia. Fuller and his family spent three years, 1973 to 1976, building hundreds of houses and laying the groundwork for what would become Habitat in Zaire and Central Africa. In 1976, they returned to the U.S. and officially formed Habitat for Humanity. Since then, Habitat has expanded to more than 1,300 towns and cities in the U.S., Canada, and 57 other countries, building more than 600,000 houses sheltering more than 3,000,000 people.

Habitat purchases land and materials for each Habitat home using donations and sponsorships. Volunteers join the family in need in building the home and then Habitat sells it to the family at cost, with no profit or interest. The mortgage for each Habitat home is often less than what the rent would be for the family. Habitat also
renovates and repairs homes that have become inhabitable, but can be saved, by offering interest free loans for materials and provides volunteers to help the families do the work. (Pictured above: A Brush with Kindness project, Habitat for Humanity of Addison County)

Each Habitat family comes from a home that is unsafe to live in, whether it be a leaky roof, overcrowding, rodent infestation, mold issues, or high cost in an unsafe neighborhood. By requiring the family to help with the building of their own home, it gives them the satisfaction that they’ve done the work to improve their lives. It gives them the confidence to live independently and become successful homeowners. By giving these families safe, decent, affordable housing, it allows them to concentrate on the things that matter: food, medicine, childcare, education, and other essentials. Their health improves and their job and education opportunities along with it. With a stable home environment their children no longer have to stress over adult problems and can concentrate on school and doing what kids to best: playing and having fun. (Pictured above: Future Habitat Homeowner Roxanne Ross and her daughter, Willow, and Habitat for Humanity Addison County Volunteer Robin Bentley.)

We at the Swift House Inn believe in helping our community thrive and that starts with helping those who live in it. On Thursday, February 9th, we will be donating a portion of our profits from our onsite restaurant, Jessica’s, to Habitat for Humanity of Addison County. You don’t have to do anything special; just come in for a candlelit dinner by the fireplace with your significant other or best friend. Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer, and order your favorite entrée or try something new, and we will donate a portion of your meal cost to Habitat. Habitat for Humanity of Addison County has plans for building four homes in the next three years in Cornwall, their first multi-home development plan.

Have plans for February 9th and are still looking for a way to help out at Habitat for Humanity? Habitat has many volunteer positions: construction, administrative, and a number of committees including finance, marketing, publicity, family selection, advancement, and faith relations. Have a few hours to spare? Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity, which services Chittenden County, has a resale store called ReStore where members of the community can donate their time by working in the store. They sell and accept gently used or new furniture, building materials, cabinets, household goods, and appliances, keeping good items out of landfills and selling them at an affordable price, while using the funds to build Habitat homes.

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