Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives! A Chance At The American Dream!
Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives!
A Chance At The American Dream!
by William L. Bulla
In 1931, James Truslow Adams coined the phrase "American Dream" in his book Epic of America. "The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement." Today, that term "American Dream" is often used as a synonym for "home ownership".
Habitat for Humanity of Washington County works hard to make that American Dream a possibility for hard-working, low-income families. But they don't just select a family and give them a house! Habitat for Humanity provides a hand-up, not a handout!
Applicants for homeownership go through an extensive selection process, including a review of financial status, job history, residency, and other qualifications. Applicants must meet Habitat's income guidelines, have good credit, a minimal level of debt, and be willing and able to perform 500-hours of "sweat equity" to build their own homes. Volunteers provide most of the labor, and individual and corporate donors provide money and materials to help build Habitat houses.
After construction is completed, houses are sold to partnering homeowners at cost with zero-interest mortgages Homeowner's monthly payments, include taxes and insurance. The money paid back goes into a fund for more housing. Yes, it is a hand-up, not a handout.
Habitat families take immense pride in homeownership. They are personally invested in their home and feel strongly that their home will provide a better future for their children and future generations. Like any other family, Habitat families establish roots in their communities and become involved in schools, community service and business.
Shelter from rain, wind and sun is a basic human need. With your help, more deserving families can have decent places to call home. You can help give needy families shelter, self-respect and the hope for a better life. All funds for each home must be raised before the construction is begun. This pays for all materials and fixtures that have not been donated. All of the labor is donated through volunteers.
Habitat for Humanity here in Washington County is working to end poverty housing by creating opportunities for homeownership with low-income families. Habitat wants to make safe, decent, affordable shelter a matter of community conscience and action. Your support can help build our community, and help our neighbors, achieve the dream of having a decent, affordable place to raise their families.
You can enter into this partnership of building homes and hope.
There are many volunteer opportunities other than "swinging a hammer" where you can help provide a home for some family. Every cash gift you send will make a difference! And for that we thank you! Mail contributions to Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, 100 Charles Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740. Call 301-791-9009 for more information.
"The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune." President Grover Cleveland made this observation back in 1847. It was true then, and it is true today.
William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.