Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives! We're Beginning A New Decade!

Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives!
We're Beginning A New Decade!
By William L. Bulla

In the year 2010, we're beginning a new decade. However, it is a year during a financial recession. How will that affect Habitat For Humanity's ability to produce homes for the needy? There may be an abundance of unemployed persons that would be willing to provide volunteer service to build a house, but can Habitat raise the funds to purchase the needed building materials?
Perhaps it can be accomplished with the help of the public. Times are tough, but some of us have a dollar or two that we can give to help our neighbor in need. Or perhaps, some of you may have material that is not being sold because of the economy. Maybe you would be willing to donate some of these materials and take a tax credit. Together we may be able to build a Habitat home for some needy family.
Many residents of Washington County are living in houses beyond their means. Most them have low-incomes and many struggle to just make rent payments. Sometimes the homes are nothing but dilapidated shacks with faulty plumbing or electricity. There's nothing safe and decent about them. Habitat for Humanity addresses the critical problem of crowded, unsafe, inadequate housing for those living near and below the poverty level.
It works in partnership with families-in-need to meet these housing challenges in our community. The homes are built with volunteer labor and the "sweat equity" of the approved applicant for home ownership. The applicant's family must contribute 500 hours of labor with Habitat before taking title to the home. Habitat sells the homes at no profit and offers a zero interest mortgage. Payments from the homeowners are used to build more homes.
In addition to sending a cash donation, or providing building materials, there is another way you may be able to contribute to helping build a Habitat home.
In April of this year, Habitat will again be conducting its biggest fund raising event. It will be the 17th Annual Habitat for Humanity of Washington County Dinner and Auction. Habitat volunteers are striving to find items to be auctioned off at that event. You may be in a business not related with building materials and still be able to make a tax credit deduction by contributing an item or service to be auctioned off.
Or you may not be in business at all, but would be willing to contribute an item to be auctioned off at the dinner.
Some of the items already donated include jewelry, wine, food baskets, bartending service for a private party, a county-western duo to perform at a private party, meals at leading restaurants in the tri-state area, trips, paintings, window cleaning, glass tinting for home, auto or business, autographed books, plus many others. Perhaps you, dear reader, may have an unusual item that would enhance this list of gift items to be auctioned. It could be an autographed picture or item from some celebrity in the past that may be packed away in your attic.
If you have any items you would be willing to donate to be auctioned off to benefit Habitat please call 301-791-9009. Or if you would like to make a cash donation mail it to Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, 100 Charles Street, Hagerstown, Maryland 21740.

William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.