Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives! It Really Happens!

Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives!
It Really Happens!

Yes, it really happens! It happens time after time! Of course I am referring to those four words in the name of this column. "Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives!" I know it happens because I have seen it first-hand as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Washington County. Recently, it happened in the lives of Rana Rose and her daughter, Aaliyah. Their lives changed on the day Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home in New Orleans. They fled the city during the storm, only to return to find they couldn't get back into their home or retrieve any of their belongings because everything was under water. Relocating in Hagerstown, they are now living in a Habitat home built on Berner Avenue in Hagerstown by a generous $65,000 grant sponsored by First Data/Western Union Foundation. Building this home provided this family a new beginning! "I'm so thankful. It gives me a chance to start my life all over again," Rose said. Yes, building this Habitat home has started the rebuilding process in this family.
But this is just one example! Habitat for Humanity of Washington County has been building homes to help rebuild lives since 1994 when this affiliate was founded. During this period, Habitat has built twenty-four homes in Washington County. All of these homes were filled with families that were able to rebuild their lives.
"We have a great need to build more homes! We have families waiting for these homes to be completed. Their need is great! Their need is now!" said Sherry Brown-Cooper, Executive Director of the local affiliate. "We are facing challenges in obtaining land. We're looking for help! We're looking for donors, either monetary or those who can deed over a piece of land. There are tax benefits both ways! Or, if you are willing to sell it to Habitat below market value, you can use the difference as a tax write-off."
Habitat homes are primarily funded be contributions of money and in-kind donations of material, services and land. The homes are built with volunteer labor and 500 hours of "sweat equity" by the approved applicants for home ownership. Habitat then sells the home at no-profit and offers a zero interest mortgage. Payments from the homeowner are used to help build other homes.
There is a critical affordable housing problem in our community. Habitat donors and volunteers are addressing the issues of a basic human need, a place for families to live and grow, by providing safe, decent and affordable housing. They are "Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives!" You, too, can help! You can volunteer your services or be a donor of money, services or land. Mail contributions to Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, 20 South Prospect Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740. Or call (301) 791-9009 for more information.

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