Habitat for Humanity
Giving Hope…One Family at a Time
Learning About Habitat for Humanity & Holy Trinity
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these
least brothers of mine, you did for me” Matthew 25: 40
Have you ever heard these words spoken by our Lord and thought, what can I do to live out this calling? As a parish that “Believe and Belong”, we have the opportunity to help a deserving family with one of the most fundamental American dreams – home ownership.
Here are some interesting facts to introduce Habitat for Humanity (HFH):
1.) HFH is an ecumenical, Christian organization working with God’s people to build simple, decent, affordable homes without interest or profit
2.) HFH International, established in 1976, is headquartered in Americus, Georgia
3.) HFH International has built over 300,000 houses helping house over 1.5 million people
4.) HFH San Antonio is the first affiliate of HFH International
“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” John 13: 35
Let’s learn how partner families are accepted and the costs associated with a house. Habitat houses are sold to families in need at no profit and financed with affordable loans. Families are accepted into the program based on need, ability to pay a zero interest mortgage, and their willingness to partner. In the US, the average cost of a Habitat house is nearly $60,000. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses. A typical partner family has an income that is 25%-60% of the area median income. A typical loan payment is $450 a month over a 20-25 year, zero interest mortgage. There is less than a 2% foreclosure rate.
Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest 300 hours of their own labor into building their house and the houses of others.
“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…” John 15: 16
Let’s examine why a program like Habitat for Humanity is so needed. The world is experiencing a global housing crisis. About 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing and 100 million are homeless. In the United Sates alone, 95 million people, one third of the nation, have housing problems including payments too large for their income, overcrowding, poor quality shelter and homelessness.
A clean, decent affordable housing provides: 1.) Stability for families. 2.) Increased sense of dignity and pride. 3.) Improved health, physical safety, and security. 4.) increased educational and job prospects. 5.) A great means of wealth creation. For families, especially those with a lower income, who are able to own a home, ownership is an important means of wealth accumulation in the form of equity and forced savings resulting from mortgage repayment.
“This I command you: love one another.” John 15: 17
Let’s learn more about Habitat for Humanity’s Christian Ministry. Habitat's ministry is based on the conviction that to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ we must reflect Christ's love in our own lives by loving and caring for one another. Our love must not be words only, but needs to be shown in action. Habitat provides an opportunity for people to put their faith and love into action, bringing diverse groups of people together to make affordable housing and better communities a reality for everyone. When people act in response to human need, giving what they have without seeking profit or interest, God magnifies the effects of our efforts. Habitat is a partnership founded on common ground -- bridging theological differences by putting love into action. Everyone can use a hammer, paint brush, etc as an instrument to manifest God's love.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” John 13: 34
Let’s learn what Habitat for Humanity houses are like. Habitat for Humanity houses are built according to the same guiding principles: simplicity, decency, affordability. Habitat houses are modestly sized -- large enough for the homeowner family's needs, but small enough to keep construction and maintenance costs to a minimum. Habitat uses quality, locally available building materials. Trained staff supervises Habitat house construction and educates volunteers and partner families. House designs reflect the local climate and culture. The labor of volunteers and partner families, efficient building methods, modest house sizes and a no-profit loan make it affordable for low-income families.
As a faith community we have chosen to partner with Habitat and work with a deserving family to build a home with them. This will not be a small task, but it is one that with God’s help we are capable of.
As a parish we have always believed in the tithing of time, talent and treasure. Because of your continued financial contributions, the parish is able to fund the construction cost of the home out of our Sharing Fund -- no separate fund raising is required. Through your on-going generosity, our first hurdle of “treasure” has been overcome.
Now we need your “time” and your “talent”. That talent can come in two different forms. We will need volunteers to work on the construction of the home as well as volunteers to provide lunch for our construction crew. So, if you don’t think you can swing a hammer or a paint brush, we still need your talent to feed the work force. The only age restriction is that all “construction” volunteers must be 14 or older. The “construction” work varies greatly depending on the phase of the building process and Habitat provides a trained staff member to direct our work, so don’t be worried about lack of experience. Lunch will also vary as some days will be “home made” meals while others will be restaurant prepared.
Holy Trinity typically partners with Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio during the Spring build cycle. We will be on the construction site from 8:00AM until approximately 3:00PM most every Friday and Saturday during our three months of building.
Watch the parish bulletin or this site for information on this year’s build.