As I drove up to the Staghorn Villas townhomes off Silver Star Road in Orlando, I was reminded of a good-old-fashioned barn-raising as teams of energetic individuals, both men and women, bustled about the skeleton of a new home. Experienced construction foremen guided the volunteers through their paces as they learned new tasks in building a home, one of dozens being built in the 58-townhome community in west Orlando.
Habitat Orlando is in the midst of constructing its most ambitious homebuilding effort to date. Not only is this Habitat’s first multifamily development, it is their most energy efficient with the first completed buildings having received an ENERGY STAR rating.
Habitat Orlando is one of approximately 2,100 local affiliates of Habitat for Humanity International. Habitat for Humanity is NOT a government-funded program, each local affiliate works to serve its specific community through the support of donors and volunteers.
The organization brings together families and individuals in need with volunteers of all faiths in a partnership with community resources to build homes, strengthen neighborhoods and improve the community. Habitat for Humanity Orlando is a not-for-profit, Christian organization dedicated to transforming the lives of low-income, hard working families through the American dream of homeownership.
But, contrary to popular belief, candidates for a Habitat home are simply not handed the keys to a new home. Habitat applicants are accepted based on three main criteria: housing need, willingness to partner and the ability to pay a mortgage. Their home ownership comes through hundreds of hours of sweat equity first in building a neighbor’s home, then in constructing their own home side-by-side with community volunteers.
“This requirement of neighbors helping neighbors helps develop a sense of security and safety in their community,” explains Jennifer Gallagher, volunteer manager, Habitat Orlando. “And, the face of Habitat homeowners has changed over the last few years.”
The typical homeowner has changed with the economic downturn. There has been an increase in younger individuals who view home ownership as a pathway to a positive future. Habitat homowners come from all walks of life and chances are you probably know or have met a homeowner and may not have known it.
Volunteers are a critical need for Habitat Orlando – and not just in helping build a home. Your skills can be used in participating on a committee, devoting some hours working in the ReStore thrift store, donating services or products and through sponsorships.
Get involved now
Habitat for Humanity Orlando
Staghorn Villas – an ENERGY STAR community