Our Smartie group recently volunteered for a Habitat For Humanity “Build Day” in Fitchburg, MA. In the blazing 90 degree heat with direct sunlight of course! (Better than rain!) We all arrived enthusiastic, grateful for our day outside of the office and ready to put the hammer to the nail. Or whatever our foreman Steve had in store for us.
Let’s get this started!
This was my first time participating in a Build Day so after reading the materials and watching a training video I was pretty much prepared to tackle anything that came my way, boots…check, water…check, lunch…check, sunscreen…DOH! Oh well.
We were offered a variety of jobs to tackle from digging a whole for a deck support, to grading a large pile of dirt, helping out on the scaffolding to being a runner. I was lucky to be a runner. I needed the exercise so I welcomed that opportunity!
“Sweat Equity Hours?!”
We were joined by the future owner of the home, which triggered some curiosity about how Habitat For Humanity runs the program. I have to admit, I’ve known a little bit about what Habitat provides, housing, but I truly had no idea how it provided it to the people in need. I overheard that the future owner was recording his own volunteer hours. I had no idea! So here is some information (Taken directly from the Habitat For Humanity of North Central MA website):
- Habitat homes are simple, decent, energy-efficient and affordable with approx. 900 to 1,200 square feet of living area (depending on the number of bedrooms).
- A typical Habitat home in north central Massachusetts costs between $100,000 and $120,000.
- The amount of time from selection to homeownership is normally 6-18 months. During this time you will be working on your “sweat equity” hours, attending homeowner education classes and saving money for closing costs.
- Like anyone purchasing a home, Habitat partner families are required to make a downpayment of a minimum 1% of the final cost of the home.
Habitat provides housing to people at a dramatically low cost, with donated materials, and much donated labor. How cool! The future owners of the home, the Yang family, have 6 children, many of them with disabilities including being in a wheelchair. So the home is being outfitted with numerous accommodations to help the children move about the home easily.
Not just affordable homes.
Not only does Habitat provide low income housing, they also provide critical repairs such as plumbing, electrical work, roof and gutter work and so much more at an affordable price for people who live in affordable housing units.
We worked a hard 8 hour shift, but if you have ever sat in a chair at a desk for most of your life, you’d understand that this labor was welcomed. We also welcomed the fact that we were not only helping our bodies stay healthy, but we were helping a family in need of a great place to call home for their family that was very much needed.
Visit the Habitat For Humanity of North Central MA website for more information about their prior, current and on-going projects as well as volunteer opportunities.
Our day on the job: