Former President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will be in the state with other HFH volunteers to build approximately 50 homes-30 in Detroit and 20 in Benton Harbor. A total of 225 homes will be built throughout Michigan. HFH will send 10 percent of all donations, including ours, overseas to help the recent tsunami victims.
Detroit and Benton Harbor are the state's two host cities for the 2005 JCWP. What makes this especially satisfying is that our company will solely sponsor one of the Detroit Habitat Homes. A very heartfelt thanks for the incredible support of our advertisers and readers over the years, which enables this wonderful contribution. Special thanks to Whirlpool Corp., Masco Corp., Lafarge, USG, The Dow Chemical Co., Lowe's, Great Lakes Capital Fund and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
This "blitz build" takes place for six days, June 19 through 24, and the staff from 12 BNP publications will be on hand to help. Does this mean the editor of Roofing Contractor will be doing the shingling, the editor of Floor Covering Installer will be handling the carpets, the editor of Point of Beginning will survey the lot with me putting up the drywall? No way! They got rules about that stuff and HFH supplies pros like you to make sure it's done right. The rest of us will be doing as we're told, wielding the ‘ol claw hammer, perhaps armed with a caulk gun, wearing our nail pouches proudly.
Our habitat home will also lean toward green. This energy-conscious, 1,150-square-foot home will be part of a grand plan to rehabilitate existing land in Detroit, not only as part of a single neighborhood of homes but also with playgrounds and green spaces, watch groups, community centers and more. Theses homes are being built in the footprint of former homes that were torn down, resulting in a highly efficient reuse of otherwise vacant space. Habitat also rehabilitates existing vacant houses. Anyone who's been to Detroit over the years knows it needs help.
Habitat for Humanity International's JCWP is an annual event. The Carters join volunteers to build affordable houses. Through a partnership, families in need have an opportunity to own a home of their own, which they pay for through no-interest loans. Habitat for Humanity has built and sold more than 175,000 houses since it was founded in 1976. There will be opportunities for contractors to build for a good cause. All this should remind the construction profession of its true noble purpose: to provide homes. Every building is a home and even though it's a hard business, construction professionals can always take pride in knowing that if nothing else, they are the ones providing the homes.
When I was interning at the local NBC affiliate, learning that TV journalism was not for me, I did get a chance to cover an HFH project. It was in Detroit back in 1995 and I got to watch the family being given their home. It was a single mom, if I remember correctly, with two children. Sharing that emotional moment when someone experiences generosity and selflessness, and is genuinely grateful for the gift of a home for her family, is something that I did not forget. She cried when she was presented with the key and simply beamed once inside, savoring every tile and every cupboard. It's a beautiful thing to be part of and construction professionals are lucky enough to have the opportunity to contribute in a real way to this cause.
I think it was best summed up in "It's a Wonderful Life," when a young restless George Bailey told his father, owner of the building and loan, that he wanted to get out into the world and "do something big, something important," to which his father replied: "You know George, I feel that in a small way, we are doing something important. It's satisfying a fundamental urge. It's deep in the race for a man to want his own roof and walls and fireplace."
Again, thanks to all of you for contributing to our success, which in turn, enables us to contribute to the success of a deserving family who just needs help getting a home of their own.
Thanks to Environmental Design + Construction Editor Michelle Hucal for her assistance with this column.