As the nights grow colder, we can enjoy the warmth and comfort of our homes. Unfortunately, many of our neighbors in Scott County and across the nation do not have this luxury. Their homes lack not only proper insulation to keep out the cold air but also sufficient roofs and wiring. The National Center for Healthy Housing estimates that 5.7 million U.S. families live in such substandard housing, defined as “housing conditions that cause significant illness, injury and deaths.”
In 1976, Millard Fuller founded an amazingly innovative and successful Christian housing ministry that we all know as Habitat for Humanity. This organization has provided “simple, decent, affordable housing” for over 2.5 million people around the world. In 1990, Fuller’s vision spread to Georgetown when retired FBI agent Tom Scholl, who graduated from Georgetown College in 1950, founded the Scott County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity (SCHFH). Thanks to the work of countless community volunteers, including many students, staff and faculty of Georgetown College, SCHFH will soon dedicate its 29th and 30th houses. Amazingly, Tom Scholl has worked on every one of these homes.
The Habitat concept is simple but effective. Through the use of volunteer labor and donated materials, construction costs are kept low. With respect to Scott County, Habitat homes cost about $80,000 to build. However, these homes are not given away. Partner families are selected based on their need, their dedication to partnering with SCHFH and their ability to pay back a zero-interest loan for the appraised value of the home. Mortgage payments go toward construction of future homes. The partnership between homeowners and Habitat is built through hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” that each homeowner earns through working on his/her own or another Habitat house.
In recent years, SCHFH has expanded its reach significantly. Two grants from Home Depot have allowed SCHFH to build a new kitchen for the American Legion and replace the windows on a disabled veteran’s home. In 2007, the Habitat ReStore opened, now located at 122B Frazier Court near Wal-Mart. The ReStore raises funds for Habitat by collecting and then selling donated household items (furniture, appliances, building materials, etc.). It is a great place to go to furnish a dorm room at the start of a school year or to donate items you don’t want to pack home at the end of the year.
In 1995, Georgetown College started its own chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which continues to work in partnership with the Scott County affiliate. Next week, our campus chapter will highlight the work of Habitat for Humanity in two venues. On Tuesday, a NEXUS event will give the campus community a chance to learn how Habitat changes lives. Donna Chesser, Executive Director of the Scott County chapter, will join one of the newest Habitat homeowners in a discussion of how Habitat changes lives. Barbara Smith, Campus Chapters Associate for HFH will also participate by way of an online connection. The event will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 11:00 a.m. in Asher Science Center, Room 131.
Then, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 and 10, the Annual Habitat Classic basketball tournament, sponsored by Toyota Tsusho, will be played in the Davis-Reid Alumni gymnasium. This major fundraising event was organized and sustained by retired head women’s basketball coach Susan Johnson. To date, this effort has raised over $75,000 for Habitat. Coach Johnson’s work with Habitat has continued with service on the Scott County Board of Directors. Recently, she accepted a job as Executive Director of a Habitat affiliate in Tennessee. We encourage everyone to come out and support both the Lady Tigers and HFH by attending. Georgetown will play at 8:00 p.m. on Friday night (Nov. 9) and at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 10).
If you would like to get involved with Habitat for Humanity, please contact our chapter President, Ashley Fox, or Secretary, Whitney King. Our chapter works with SCHFH to eliminate substandard housing in Scott County. We welcome any level of participation. This year our work days have been spent painting the newest Habitat home and laying sod. This Saturday, Nov. 3, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. we will be volunteering at the Habitat ReStore. Please join us!
Released by the Georgetown College Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity