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Front Page » June 3, 2003 » Opinion » Growing local habitat
Published 4,109 days ago

Growing local habitat


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By KEN LARSON
Sun Advocate publisher

Habitat for Humanity is a pretty familiar word to most of us. The program has been around since the former President Jimmy Carter was in office and many of us remember seeing photos of entire communities pulling together and building an entire home in a single weekend. These were the early visions of the program and now, some 26 years later, Habitat for Humanity International still operates in more than 3,000 communities in over 80 countries.

It has also been operating in Carbon and Emery county through the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity for 13 years. Locally it's kind of a quiet operation. There hasn't been a lot of fanfare and the local group is just finishing some remodeling projects on its fourth home in the area with plans shortly to kick off construction of a two more homes in the Castle Dale area.

Habitat for Humanity is a people-to-people partnership drawing families and communities in need together with volunteers and resources to build decent, affordable housing with people in need of adequate shelter. Habitat is committed to the development and uplifting of families and whole communities, not only to the construction of houses.

All of the homes in this area have been built as new structures, but Habitat for Humanity does renovate and repair simple, decent and affordable housing for people who are living in inadequate housing and who are unable to secure adequate housing by conventional means.

The Habitat program selects homeowner families based on their need for adequate shelter, their ability to pay for the home; and their willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity. All home owners contribute "sweat equity," which means they partner with the local group of volunteers to complete the project.

It's interesting that here in the Castle Country, a habitat house in Wellington has sat vacant for nearly a year because there isn't a family able or willing to partner with the local organization. I talked with Sylvia Nelson, chairperson of the local group and she says it's sad that those involved have to beat the bushes for applications to get people into some of these homes.

Some people are willing to work but do not have the resources to make the monthly payments while others have the need and resources, but appear to be unwilling to provide the matching volunteer time.

In many communities churches are the primary sponsors and advocates of the Habitat program, but in Castle Country there isn't any one church that has developed a partnership or relationship with the organization on an ongoing basis. Although the local affiliate has had many volunteers over the years, one group, the CEU Sun Center, has been exemplary as a committed college campus community partner. The young men and women involved have been extremely active over the years.

Sometimes these quiet movements are worth recognizing for their importance to a community. At present there are only four homes that have been created by the program, but plans call for future construction. There are certainly families out there wishing they could find a nice home to settle into.

For more information to make a donation, to volunteer on an upcoming work day or to inquiry about applications for the program call 636-3200.


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June 3, 2003
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