"What we look at is building community. What better way to build a community than to help build your neighbor's home? You get to know them on a personal level, you understand what their desires are for their families. You get to work in a community of individuals who are all of like mind, they want to do better and have a better chance at life."
That's Steven James, the volunteer coordinator for the Houston chapter of Habitat.He says six of the houses in that community are alreadyunder construction.But it'll take about 2,000 volunteers to complete the joband build the next four homes.
"Times like this we look for the general population in Houston to come out and support our activities to build homes for very deserving families in the Houston area. Anybody who wants to volunteer ages 16 and up are qualified to come out. The commitment for the 4X4 build is 7a.m. to 12-noon because of the summer heat. What we ask everyone to bring is a hammer, gloves and eye protection and also sunscreen."
James says they often rely on corporate sponsors for theirvolunteer base.But for this project, they're turning to the entire community.These particular homes are for Hurricane Katrina evacueeswho want to permanently settle in Houston.
"Many times you'll hear true joy in the voice of an individual who came and relocated to Houston following the storms. Where previously they would not have had an opportunity to purchase a home and now you're here in Houston, a chance to start your life over and own a home, an opportunity you may not have had before."
Habitat for Humanity has built a number of homes for Katrinaevacuees.And they build homes for other low-income qualified applicants.Homeowners purchase the homes at cost with zero-interest loans.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.