The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International | December 1999/January 2000
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Building on Faith '99
By Suzanne Lewis

During "Building on Faith" week (Sept. 11-17), members of the faith community joined with more than 250 Habitat for Humanity affiliates worldwide to build hoses with people in need of shelter and to highlight the role of churches in Habitat's work.

Perhaps the most significant effort was in Selma, Ala., where members of 43 area churches-both black and white-and others united to support "Building Beyond the Bridge," giving of their financial resources and working with prospective homeowners to build 20 homes in a week. Selma was the site of a violent clash between civil rights marchers and state law enforcement officers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in March 1965.

"This build may be one of the levers that unlocks some of the groups and churches that have unconsciously been held up by racism," says 74-year-old Walter Scott, an out-of-town volunteer who, 34 years earlier, marched with the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the fight for civil rights. Selma is now a place of renewal and grace," Scott says.

Because of such strong church support, Selma, Ala., habitat homeowner Patricia Rowe's family and hundreds of others across the globe now have simple, decent homes of their own.

"I think Habitat is one of the most blessed things that anyone could be a part of," says Rowe. "It's all about God and people coming together."

Other notable builds occurred in Mexico City, Mexico, where the house designated as Habitat's 80,000th house built worldwide was dedicated; in Omaha, Neb., where Omaha HFH dedicated its 100th house; Atlanta, Ga., where the affiliate dedicated its 500th house; and the Alta Verapaz community in Guatemala, which celebrated the construction of its 1,000th house during Building on Faith Week.

"I'm grateful that the 80,000th house was built during Building on Faith week, because it's important to recognize the role of churches in our ministry," says Sister Betsy Van Deusen, director of Church Relations at Habitat for Humanity International


About Habitat World's Recent Cover...

Several Habitat World readers wrote recently to express concern about the image of the 1999 Jimmy Carter Work Project's Maragondon site in the Philippines that appeared on the cover of the August/ September issue of the magazine.

Many felt the Habitat houses were built too close together, providing no open spaces or room for landscaping. Others expressed misgivings that the new community would become a slum.

In response, we share the following information in hopes that it will provide further context and allay concerns.

Habitat's partner families decided upon the lot sizes, collectively opting for one large community-use space rather than larger individual lots. In addition, they selected the house designs, choosing from among floorplans designed by a local architect in collaboration with local Habitat staff. (Prior to this year's JCWP, more than 2,000 Habitat houses of similar design had been built during the past 10 years in the Philippines.) Rick Hathaway, JCWP project director and HFHI's regional director for east and southeast Asia, also reports the following: The lot size is three to four times larger than the families' previous living space, and house foundations were constructed to support a second floor, should the families be able to afford expansion in the future. Further, on average, the size of the JCWP houses is two to three times larger than that which families lived in previously and is larger than typical government housing there.

Generally, the houses feature a steel-reinforced concrete floor, septic system, water seal toilets, a kitchen/eating space with a counter, sink with running water, electricity, insulated metal roofs with hurricane straps, windows with glass panes and two partitioned sleeping areas. Because the land is owned by the families, as opposed to living as squatters on squatter land, they no longer fear eviction.

Since the JCWP, work has continued on each of the six sites of the project. At Maragondon, the community has developed a plan for placement of native trees, bushes and shrubs, and the yards have been landscaped. In addition, the construction of a playground, full-size basketball court, day-care center, community center and health clinic have been completed by other partnering organizations.

For more information, visit the August/September 99 Online edition

Affiliates Celebrate Anniversaries

Along with the arrival of a new millennium, many Habitat for Humanity affiliates throughout the United States celebrate milestone anniversary dates in the year 2000. In fact, 98 affiliates will observe fifth anniversaries; 96 will mark their tenth; 45 will note their fifteenth, and two affiliates-Tucson HFH in Tucson, Ariz., and Paducah-McCracken County HFH in Paducah, Ky.-will celebrate 20 years of bringing houses and hope to those communities; collectively, they've housed some 4,000 families.

A growing number of volunteers are helping affiliates bring the goal of eliminating poverty housing closer to reality every day. They represent all walks of life, including adults of all ages, families, churches, businesses, health care providers, corporate sponsors, entertainers, celebrities, clergy, authors, students, lawyers and many more. If you would like to join their ranks, check Habitat's Web site at or call (800) HABITAT, ext. 2552, for the name of the affiliate nearest you.


Reprinted from Habitat World Magazine, December/January 2000.
This article may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
©1999 Habitat for Humanity International




-The Editors


Reprinted from Habitat World Magazine, December/January 2000.
This article may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
©1999 Habitat for Humanity International




 

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