A Day with Habitat
Habitat for Humanity is an organization that has enabled many first time homebuyers a chance to purchase a home at a substantially lower cost. Habitat for Humanity, Valley of the Sun is an independent affiliate off Habitat for Humanity International. They operate under the same principles as HFHI, but do all local fundraising and have a separate Board of Directors and 501(c)(3) designation. An equal opportunity housing provider, which complies with federal regulations regarding discrimination. It considers applicants without regard to their race, religious preference, gender, physical ability, familial status, or national origin (Habitat Website).
Established in Arizona in 1976, it consists of more than 1050 chapters and expands throughout forty countries. Worldwide, this organization has completed more than 30,000 homes. With twelve affiliate chapters in Arizona. Valley of the Sun Habitat has built more than 220 homes in the metro Phoenix area. Habitat communities have been established throughout in area such as Guadalupe, Glendale, Sunnyslope, South Phoenix, East Lake, Park Central, and Nuestro Barrio.
How they work. To keep homes at a very low cost, this organization does not rely on contracting builders or developers, but rather on the help of thousands of volunteers. These volunteers dedicate many laborious hours in constructing these homes as well as landscaping. Much of their new housings are built on donated parcels of land. Many Corporations, Individuals, Foundations, Faith and Civic groups sponsor homes which fund the costs of the construction materials.
A prospective homeowner must comply with their requirements as partners to Habitat. During the building process, homeowners are required to work 400 hours of labor on the construction of their homes and other’s homes. Referred as “sweat equity”, homeowners must complete the sweat equity prior to moving into their home.
The three criteria to qualify for a Habitat home rely on the basis of (1) Need: Family must be currently living in substandard conditions; (2) Ability to pay: Family income must fall between 30%-65% of the area median income. (3) Partnership: Family must be willing to work 400 hours of “sweat equity”.
With our visit to Habitat on way, I dreaded the thought of building a home. For the most part I could only measure such a laborious activity as compared to re-roofing our home in the middle of the scorching summer heat. Although its not summer, this is all that I had to compare to, especially considering the arduous tasks of building a home. Much to my surprise, building this home for Habitat for Humanity turned out to be a great deal of fun. I was amazed with all that this organization had accomplished thus far, and all they continue to carry out. Doing roof work on my own home seemed to be never-ending strenuously painful work. Oh did time ever lag! The time-spent building at this community site passed like I could never had believed. I enjoyed myself more on this day compared to any day exploring the neighborhoods of South Phoenix.
Looking back I feel that we, as a class, did accomplish a lot. The fact that we could come together as a group of students to take on such a task, really made me think. Together we all worked hard for the benefit of others. This in itself had kept me on a natural high throughout the day. The fact that this was not being done for myself, nor was it being done for a fellow classmate, but rather, it was being done for people we did not know-strangers so that they can live in an affordable home. As a class, I believe that we all had fun. As an individual, I am proud of what we had done. I encourage everyone to donate his or her time, to put aside a day and volunteer just as we had.