On Aug. 11, the walls were raised for the Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity’s 100th house built since the organization’s founding in 1990. The house, scheduled to be completed in January 2017, will then be sold to the Johnson family, who will repay a no-interest mortgage to Habitat for Humanity.
The house was funded in part by sales from Habitat’s ReStore, the organization’s thrift store in Bluffton, with a majority of the funds coming from the Fund for Humanity project, a way for current Habitat homeowners to give back to the community by using their mortgages to fund construction costs for new houses.
“The people who are recipients are now donors,” said Patricia Wirth, CEO and president of the Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity. “The ability to help someone can help everyone. This can’t be understated.”
The Habitat affiliates’ 100th house is a part of The Glen, the organization’s first affordable-housing development located on Hilton Head Island. In 2014, Habitat broke ground on land previously donated in 2010 by the Town of Hilton Head. The Glen is constantly expanding, serving as a reminder of Habitat’s mission: to promote decent, affordable housing for all and give those in need a shot at being a homeowner.
“There’s nothing wrong with renting, but when you want to become a homeowner, it can make all the difference in the world for the family dynamic,” said Wirth.
Starting soon, Habitat will begin its sixth house built under the Women Build program, to be completed in 2017. The program allows women to learn construction skills and provide affordable housing to single mothers and children.
Women in Philanthropy, a giving circle of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, donated $50,000 towards the construction costs of the house.
All of Habitat’s builds are entirely constructed by volunteers – men, women and teens from local churches, schools, neighborhoods, civic and service organizations, and groups of all kinds.
“We’re a group of volunteers with skills across the spectrum. We’re all there to give people a helping hand,” said Tom Rochon, a Habitat board member and volunteer of four years. “We get a chance to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s a special feeling.”
Volunteers like Rochon, along with sponsors, philanthropists, local government and the Habitat homeowners themselves, have all made the previous 99 houses possible. By working together as a community, they’re tackling poverty one build at a time.
“The people who come out and work on the site understand that people are living in substandard housing,” said Wirth. “They know the entire community is stronger when no one is in need. They are aware and they are committed to making a difference.”
Wirth said Habitat could use some additional help to finish building the 100th house. To donate or volunteer, visit www.habitathhi.org or call the main office at 843-681-5864.
Sam Posthuma of Bluffton is a freelance writer and production assistant for The Hilton Head Sun.