By Tom Gipson, national builder chair of Home Builders Blitz
Editor’s note: From June 9-13, professional home builders partnered with Habitat affiliates across the United States to build, renovate and repair more than 250 homes.
Home Builders Blitz got started in Raleigh in 2002, with a discussion at a Habitat Wake County board meeting on how we could get home builders more involved with Habitat. I said I thought that I could get a group of my competitors to join me, and we’d each build a house using our own subcontractors and suppliers.
After the meeting, I made some calls and quickly got 11 other builders to join in the effort. The goal was to build the homes at low or no cost by getting our trade partners to participate and have everyone donate their part. We also wanted to make this easy on Habitat staff by having the builders do all the work — staff would just give the builders the plans and specs and have them build the homes. That first year, we were able to build 12 homes at very little cost to Habitat other than the cost of the lots.
I have always thought that the Home Builders Blitz provides a unique opportunity for home builders and their trade partners to make a huge contribution to their community. A builder friend of mine named Kent Seeley summed it up best with this question: “How else could I take a week of my time and make a contribution of $50,000 to my community?”
I’ll always remember, on the Thursday of that very first Home Builders Blitz, standing in a nearly complete home with the family who would soon move in. When the power company turned the power on, the lights shone, and the paddle fans started turning. The joy and glee in the eyes of the three young children who would grow up there made it all worthwhile. I knew I had to do Home Builders Blitz again.
I look forward to seeing the joy and satisfaction that this week gives to the builders, their subcontractors and suppliers — and to meeting more families and revisiting that same excitement with them when another safe, decent, affordable home becomes a reality.