Building Towards a Better Future: Habitat For Humanity

Ribbon Cutting

Habitat For Humanity is not just about building homes. It’s about helping people build a better future. Volunteers, employees, and sponsors work together to create a home for people in need. Their goal is to build a world where everyone not only has a place to stay, but a home to love.

History

Habitat For Humanity International was founded in 1976 by co-founders Millard and Linda Fuller. The founders found themselves dissatisfied with their lives and wanting to find a way to give back. Together, they developed the concept of “partnership housing,” in which decent and affordable housing is built by those who need it with the help of volunteers.

habitat for Humanity Co-Founders
Photo from Habitat For Humanity International at https://www.habitat.org/about/history/habitat-for-humanity-co-founder-millard-fuller

Millard and Linda took the giant leap to make this dream a reality, so they sold all their possessions and gave the money to the poor. Just 3 years later they started Habitat For Humanity, and the rest is history. To date, Habitat For Humanity International has helped over 9.8 million people in approximately 70 different countries.

What does Habitat For Humanity do?

Habitat For Humanity Logo
Photo from Pioneer Valley Habitat at http://austindesign.biz/pioneer-valley-habitat-humanity-volunteers-greenfield-home/

Habitat For Humanity provides various services to their clients. What they are most known for is their home construction program. With the help of no-interest loans and volunteers, they are able to build affordable housing for those in need. Some of their other programs include: neighborhood revitalization, disaster response, and financial education. These programs help to provide people with the shelter they need, and a solid foundation they can lean on for long-term success.

This amazing program has impacted people, and the communities they live in, in a powerful, multifaceted way. The building or renovation process offers the opportunity to volunteer, improve property values, build up tax base, and add to our local economy.

Habitat For Humanity is also making a difference for the future. The likelihood that children become homeowners and are financially stable increases if their parents are homeowners. By providing the chance for home ownership, Habitat is helping to improve the lives of those families in future generations.

Local Work

Carroll County’s Habitat For Humanity has grown immensely in the past five years. They have tackled many projects, and are planning even more. The projects in Carroll County fall under two main categories.

The first is the traditional home ownership program. In this program, Habitat For Humanity will either build a home from the bottom up, or take a foreclosed home and renovate it. This will give someone the opportunity to become a homeowner in a more affordable way.

Habitat Volunteers building a deckThe second program is the critical home repair program. In this program, Habitat For Humanity will make major repairs on a home that someone already owns to make it a more decent home to live in. These repairs often include fixing heating/cooling problems, roof repairs, plumbing repairs, and electrical work.

Past Projects

Within the last five years, there have been two major projects. The most recent one was a full build for the Dorsey family. This took about ten months to build, with the final move in on December 19th of last year. The finish of the home was like a gift for the holidays from Habitat For Humanity.

Union Crossing Town Home Builds

The other major project was the building of the five town homes in the Union Crossing neighborhood, off of Pennsylvania Avenue in Westminster. This project was an incredible feat. Volunteers and sponsors were able to come together to create homes for five different families.

Along with these two major projects, Carroll County’s Habitat For Humanity has been participating in major repairs for homes in need of them. Bryan Lyburn, Executive Director of Habitat For Humanity of Carroll County, says that these repairs are like “little victories along the way” in between the major projects.

Bryan Lyburn, Executive Director Carroll County Habitat For Humanity

Bryan Lyburn is the current Executive Director of Carroll County’s Habitat For Humanity. He took on the position five years ago and has been working hard to achieve the goals of the organization. Since he took on the role of Executive Director, Bryan has worked on 6 full home builds and 15 critical home repair projects. The organization has also grown in size with more employees, both full time and part time, and internship opportunities.Bryan Lyburn at Ceremony

Q: What is your favorite part about working for Habitat For Humanity?
A: The process of starting where there is nothing and then creating a home there is truly magical. Although that is not my favorite thing. My favorite thing is when I get to hand them the keys and tell them “it’s your house”.

Q: What would you tell someone who hasn’t volunteered for Habitat For Humanity yet?
A: Come on out and give it a try! It’s an amazing opportunity to make a difference. So, just give us a Saturday. What do you have to lose? If not volunteering for us, then volunteer with somebody. Just take a little time and serve your community.

A Day of Volunteering

Around one year ago I had the opportunity to spend a Saturday volunteering at a Habitat For Humanity build. The house was in its final stages. The volunteers were at the site bright and early, some even arriving by 6:30 AM. Once I arrived I met with the coordinator whose name was Aaron. That’s when the hard work began!

I have little to no experience with home renovation or handy work, but that did not stop them from assigning me every task under the sun! I began with lifting and clearing things out of the way, then moved on to painting. At some point I was asked if I had ever put cabinets up before. The answer was no, but I sure did learn how to.

One of the best parts of the day was, of course, lunch. It wasn’t just a chance to sit down and eat. It was the chance to sit down and really get to know who I was volunteering with. The other volunteers’ families brought food around noon, and we all enjoyed a potluck style lunch. We laughed and joked, and our spirits were lifted by the noble work we were doing. The potential owners of the home came through and thanked us all for our time with tears welling up at their eyes. It was truly a special time.

What can you do to help?

Volunteering for Habitat For Humanity was an eye-opening experience. I learned the true value of a home and what it can mean to someone. Instead of sleeping through the day, I took 8 hours of my time to make a difference. I feel that everyone should take the time and do the same. So, take the time out of your weekend and volunteer. Give back to the community. And, in the words of Bryan Lyburn, “what do you have to lose?”