Self Help Housing:
In the introduction to the “sweat equity” model Edward F. Moncrief describes the beginnings of the Self Help Movement in the San Joaquin Valley, California. Utilizing the Self Help Model, 12 families work together to build their homes. No one moves in until the families have completed all the homes. With the Habitat model, the community, together with the family, provides the labor—the “sweat equity.” In those early days Ed Moncreif met Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity, when he took him on a tour through some five thousand homes built using the self help model.
See: Self Help Enterprises: http://www.selfhelpenterprises.org/default.asp?contentID=632
This chapter highlights Millard’s own spiritual journey. He was like Zacchaeus in the Bible, a wealthy man who gave up his riches to serve the poor. Millard then provides a brief overview of the scope of Habitat for Humanity’s work around the world. He then zeros in on Habitat’s partnership with Peachtree Presbyterian in Atlanta, which will have built 148 Habitat by the end of 2008. The chapter captures how this one congregation adopted Habitat as a model for their outreach, and the blessing this has been both for the church and for those they serve. They began to listen to the needs of the community, bridging that with the need of the church to get involved in a tangible way. Stories are told of changed lives, of those who served and those who were served. The chapter concludes with reflection on realities and the lessons learned.
Peachtree Presbyterian: http://188.8.131.52/Mission_CommunityPartners.aspx
Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitat.org/
Sandtown Habitat for Humanity: http://www.sandtownhabitat.org/welcome.htm
(This is a very impressive Habitat model. It is church based, founded by New Song Church. They target a narrow 15 block area and are committed to eliminating the 350 vacant homes in that geographic. They provide 20 and 30 year mortgages with no interest charged, with payments going into a revolving fund which finance more homes. Cost is kept low through maximum use of volunteer labor and donated materials and the family who will own the home investing at least 330 hours of “sweat equity” in their own home and others. Their first 300 homes have been completed using this model.