Happy Excited Couple in Front of Their New Home Construction Framing Site.

If you ever wanted to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, or if you’ve thought of applying — read on. Maggie discusses the local organization. Editor

Unconditional love is easily expressed through service to others. When we can pause our daily routine to help another person, we are not only practicing acceptance, but we are also challenging ourselves to love unconditionally.

One organization that practices these values is the Habitat for Humanity of Southeastern Ohio (HFHSEO) located in Athens County. Poverty plagues much of Appalachia and thousands of people struggle to even imagine becoming a homeowner. HFHSEO is committed to empowering families across six counties by offering them a chance at building and owning their own home.

IMG_1033Transforming Communities, One Block at a Time

HFHSEO is an independently chartered affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Their mission is to transform the lives of individuals in this region by working with families in need.

In the last 25 years, they have given homeownership to 39 families and made strides in breaking the cycle of poverty. In addition to building quality homes, HFHSEO also removes substandard houses from communities.

They encourage a valuable standard of living, therefore, HFHSEO is building more than houses; they are instilling a sense of security in families burdened by poverty throughout this region.

Open Door Policy

All who believe that everyone needs a decent, affordable place to live are invited to join in the HFHSEO mission to help people reach homeownership — regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views, or any other distinction that too often divide people.

Homeownership is extended to selected families that agree to commit 250 hours of “sweat equity”, per person 18 years of age or older, as their down payment.

This initial payment is then followed by monthly mortgage payments of no more than 30{5b6c00ae8a31f44c65b344f315968efbd322bfc6ea45e4e8cca9716c4473fad8} of household income. Potential homeowners must also attend personal finance workshops to obtain an education on home management and safety.

Lastly, guidance for participating in a homeowner’s association is also offered to ensure the household stays connected with the HFHSEO community and resources.

More than Recycling, We’re Restoring

Habitat for Humanity builds and manages Restores all over the country. Restore is a furniture and building materials store that collects donations from companies and individuals to sell at discounted prices.

I personally bought a couch from the Athens Restore a couple months ago and am very satisfied with my purchase and the service. Restores pride themselves in offering quality furniture at reasonable prices by taking the time to clean and ‘restore’ each piece.

The revenue generated by these facilities is donated to building new Habitat homes in Southeastern Ohio. HFHSEO inspires individuals to donate rather than throw away usable, structurally-sound materials or furniture so that we can reduce landfill waste and keep our country beautiful.

The Value of Homeownership and Secure Individuals

Owning your own home instills a sense of accomplishment and stability in a family and an individual. Stable households promote stable individuals and stable individuals push for a solution and stable communities.

The homeownership rate in Athens County between years 2009 and 2013 is 56.6{5b6c00ae8a31f44c65b344f315968efbd322bfc6ea45e4e8cca9716c4473fad8}, which is higher than the state percentage. This means a lot considering the rate of people living below the poverty level in Athens County is 31.7{5b6c00ae8a31f44c65b344f315968efbd322bfc6ea45e4e8cca9716c4473fad8}, also higher than the state percentage.

HFHSEO is one organization leading the way to breaking the cycle of poverty in this Appalachian region of Ohio. Their efforts allow hundreds of people to grow as individuals that spread unconditional love and gratitude across many regions far and wide.

No Experience Required

There are two different ways we can participate in this wonderful organization in many locations. (There are Habitat for Humanity branches in many cities throughout the nation.)

  • First, we can donate usable and structurally-sound building materials during store hours.
    • The Athens Restore accepts donations between the hours of 9 to 5, Tuesday through Friday and 9 to 4 on Saturdays. They are located at 309 West Union Street in Athens,
    • Ohio. Also for larger items a pickup service can be scheduled by calling 740-589-5865.
    • All donations are tax deductible.  Instead of tossing that old furniture that has been gathering dust in your garage, basement, or attic, how about dropping it off at your local Restore to bring fulfillment into another family’s home?
  • F1IAAIZH05NHGDQ.LARGEWe can volunteer our time and talents.
    • HFHSEO needs construction site volunteers that can gain hands-on experience in carpentry, roofing, siding, interior trim, painting, and landscaping.
    • Never done any of that? No experience is required to work on a Habitat site as there is a staff of seasoned volunteers that are eagerly willing to teach you all of these skills.
  • There are also volunteer photographer positions that document the progress and hard work at each project.
    • This position is crucial as photography is how HFHSEO shares their work and values with other people throughout the community, region, and nation.
  • And if you don’t want to get your hands dirty but still want to participate in this great cause, there are volunteer positions at the various Restore locations.

If you want to apply

Whenever a family gains a home through Habitat, they help more than just themselves. Go to the Habitat site and click the “apply” button to learn more.

Self Development Note — my thoughts on the significance and importance of volunteering:

When we recognize pieces of ourselves in other people, it becomes easier to accept and love them unconditionally. Through practicing this acceptance and love in our individual lives, we continue to grow, adapt, and evolve into the people we are destined to be. This journey of self-development will progress us through the life lessons until they become our habits and through these values will develop our character. We will begin to look upon our blessings with gratitude and our shortcomings as opportunities to exercise our strengths. With an abundance of love in our hearts, we branch out to share the wealth.

We’d love to hear about your experiences with Habitat for Humanity. Please share in the comments below.

Or, if you ‘d like your Habitat journey featured here on Marietta and Beyond, please write or call.

Thank you.