By Bob Hoffman
Special to the Herald
Habitat for Humanity of Clinton County is one of the shining stars of our community.
Having good, clean, affordable housing is a major need that is impossible for some people to fill. Sufficient financial resources simply aren’t there.
People have to endure inadequate, unsafe and very difficult living arrangements. Enter Habitat for Humanity. Now the family can purchase a place of their own where they can raise their family in a home that truly meets their needs.
World Habitat Day was Oct. 1, and this was a good occasion to celebrate what Habitat for Humanity has been able to do. Since it was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, it has become a worldwide movement whose vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Over 500,000 homes have been built around the world and over 2.5 million people have been provided good housing.
It is estimated that 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing and 100 million are homeless.
It’s estimated that in the United States 95 million people have housing problems (e.g., overcrowding, poor quality shelter, homelessness, payments consuming too large a percentage of their income).
Having a good, clean, safe place to live does more than simply put a roof over people’s heads.
It provides stability for families and children, a sense of pride, dignity and well-being, and gives improved health, physical safety and security.
For example, children under five in Malawi living in Habitat for Humanity houses have 44 percent less malaria and respiratory or gastrointestinal diseases compared to children living in traditional houses.
It has been gratifying and inspiring to see our community’s support for our Clinton County Habitat. The seventh home built by Habitat for Humanity will be completed later this year. Many volunteer workers, trades people, businesses and donors have combined their efforts to make this a reality.
I encourage you to ride by the new home at 111 29th Ave. North and view the sign listing many of the businesses and groups of people involved.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization, and it is great to see so many people reaching out to those in need like Jesus said we are to do. This is a beautiful way to “give legs” to our faith. It is something not merely talked about; it is lived out.
I truly appreciate the way Habitat for Humanity operates. The goal is to provide simple, good housing. It is not elaborate or fancy. Under Habitat’s guidelines, a three-bedroom house is to have no more than 1,050 square feet of living space. This is not a handout — a free home given to one fortunate family.
There is an application process in which the level of need is assessed, the family’s willingness to partner with Habitat is ensured and the ability to repay the loan is determined. The recipient is required to put in many hours of “sweat equity.” Mortgage payments received can in turn be used to help build future homes.
I urge you to check out the new house being built next to the St. Iraneaus Cultural Center on 29th Ave. North.
I also urge you to support Habitat for Humanity of Clinton County by helping build (most Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m.), volunteering in other ways (providing lunches, serving on a committee), making a financial donation or in other ways.
Learn more by going to www.clintoncountyiowahabitat.com or by calling 242-4494.
Bob Hoffman is the pastor of Community Reformed Church and a Clinton County Habitat for Humanity board member.