April 10, 2005

Habitat for Humanity tidbits

A new Habitat for Humanity home is finished every 26 minutes, and more than 1 million people are living in homes built through Habitat.

If you live in Michigan, you might want to participate in Habitat's Jimmy Carter Work Project this summer, from June 19-24 in Benton Harbor and Detroit.

I volunteered for the local Habitat affiliate for more than five years and never came across a person I didn't like. So, if you are looking for a way to get to know folks, or to do something good and have fun while doing it, you might consider Habitat for Humanity. Even if you are not into building things, there are many other opportunities there that don't take you anywhere near a hammer - legal work, fundraising, feeding the on-site Habitat crew, being advocates for the Habitat families, public relations, web-site construction & management, and so on.

Building homes with Habitat fits nicely into a few Catholic social justice themes - Dignity of the human person (everyone deserves decent shelter/housing), Common Good and Community (home ownership is good for people and communities), Option for the poor (Habitat helps poor people own homes), and Economic justice (Habitat homes have no down payment and no-interest loans).

A while ago a friend dug-up some research on how Habitat for Humanity homes have affected their owners. The most surprising one to me was that someone was able to quantify the savings: $34,000. That is how much was saved in public expenditures related to juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy, etc.

Of the adults in the homes:

  • 88% felt it made their families more stable
  • 90% felt more safe & secure

Of the children in those homes:

  • 25% more likely to graduate from high school
  • 116% more likely to go to college
  • 20% less likely to become teenage mothers
  • 10% more likely to attend church
  • 16% more likely to be involved in their schools & community

By the way, you can support Habitat for Humanity right here, or find your local Habitat group here.