11/13/2012 1:33:00 PM Habitat for Humanity in the works in Dodge Center
By Ruth Hanson
"The ultimate goal of Habitat for Humanity is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the face of the earth by building adequate and basic housing. Furthermore, all of our words and actions are for the ultimate purpose of putting shelter on the hearts and minds of people in such a powerful way that poverty housing and homelessness become socially, politically and religiously unacceptable in our nations and world."
One might add, "One house at a time."
The words are on the flip side of Kevin Worden's business card.
He is the Executive Director of the Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity (RAHH). He presided over a meeting of volunteers, a group of about 25 people who got together at Faith Lutheran Church on November 5 to lay the groundwork for building a Habitat for Humanity house in Dodge Center.
He was pleased to announce that McNeilus Properties has donated a lot at 801 Fifth Avenue NW.
"That is phenomenal," he said, excitement in his voice.
He divided the group into two smaller groups, one to act as a steering committee and one to be the family selection committee.
He explained that Habitat for Humanity builds homes, builds lives and builds community. The organization is an affiliate member of Habitat for Humanity International, which is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry. RAHH invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to join together in a mission of partnering with God's people in need to provide simple, decent, affordable housing.
The group was established in 1990 to respond to the need for affordable housing in Olmsted County. It began with rehabilitating one house each year. Then the group began constructing a new home each year, and soon two and then three. The growth continues. Kasson and Mantorville are now part of the program.
RAHH builds simple, decent, affordable homes with families who could otherwise not afford home ownership.
RAHH enriches the lives of the families and volunteers by providing the opportunity to learn life-enhancing skills.
RAHH unites families, volunteers, churches and businesses from around the area to help create affordable housing. By bringing together diverse members of the community, RAHH builds positive attitudes and increases understanding between individuals.
Families are chosen based on their need for affordable housing, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with RAHH. Each adult family member that is selected for a Habitat home puts 200 "sweat equity" hours into building their own home and others.
Committee members volunteer countless hours planning, organizing and implementing RAHH's activities.
Building with volunteers is what makes the homes affordable. Volunteers need no prior construction knowledge to work on site.
Through the generous giving of donated materials and contributed funds RAHH has been able to provide affordable housing to many families in need.
"We have an application process," Worden said. "The family must need better housing, must have the ability to make their Habitat mortgage payment, meet income guidelines and a willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity - a commitment to the sweat equity and to attend classes. We are ready to help people in Dodge Center to build a Habitat house."
He added that the families do not make a down payment and they don't pay interest.
Generally the houses are three to five bedrooms, and most often split level because they are so cost effective.
"Volunteers work under a construction manager or site captain," Worden said. "There is a battery of inspections to make sure the house becomes a quality home. We provide the tools and the manager will coach the volunteers. We shoot for zero accidents."
He said he hopes to start the house in Dodge Center in March.
"The process takes a lot of work and a lot of prayer," he said. "We will start the meetings soon. For more information about volunteering or building a home, people should call me at 507-252-0849 extension 2. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Dodge Center has so many talented people. I am looking forward to working with you."