By Emily Banks Wooten
Amy Borel, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Polk County, spoke to the Rotary Club of Livingston recently, sharing updates on the local affiliate of Habitat International.
The nonprofit, Christian based housing ministry began in Atlanta, Ga. in the 1970s and now operates affiliates throughout the world, with the goal being to eliminate substandard housing by providing adequate, affordable housing which is available to all who can afford and qualify for a reasonable no interest mortgage.
“We build homes for low-income families and think of it as giving a hand up, not a handout,” Borel said, commenting that Habitat for Humanity of Polk County has been in existence since 2003.
“Habitat affiliates are grown and created locally, with affiliates throughout the United States and in 70 countries nationally. When we fundraise here, a portion goes back to Habitat for Humanity International, so when you give locally, you’re also giving globally,” Borel said.
The homes are built by volunteers with help from the homeowners themselves who provide sweat equity. Depending on where the group builds and the expertise of the volunteers, they do have to subcontract work from time to time. The homes are funded by contributions and donations from individuals, Polk County churches and businesses, as well as the proceeds from ReStore, Habitat’s local resale shop, located at 1402 N. Washington Ave. in Livingston.
Borel said that the ReStore resale shop accepts construction pieces, housewares, used appliances and will even provide pickup for large loads. She added that the ReStore has also recently begun selling good quality, eco-friendly paint and paint supplies.
“We’ve built 18 homes right here in Polk County since 2003. We have a new partner family and we’re raising funds to start that build. We’re always looking for volunteers,” Borel said.
Members of the public can help by volunteering their time, money and slightly used household items and building materials. Without the public’s help, Habitat for Humanity cannot continue to build low-cost homes or operate its store enough hours to fund their projects. For additional information call 936-328-8529 or follow on Facebook.