“A hand up, not a hand-out”
Through Habitat for Humanity‘s new-construction program, partner-families and members of the community come together to build homes from the ground up. Partner-families purchase the homes provided by Habitat, but with a zero-interest mortgage at close to half the going market-rate in the area. The application process is extensive in order to provide the right families with this opportunity (based on need, goals, and financial literacy).
On-site, there are full-time staff and full-time volunteers to ensure new volunteers (like us!) have the proper training and guidance to complete the various daily tasks. On average, Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity finishes six houses per year via local funding and volunteer hours. Learn more about Habitat for Humanity monetary donations and volunteer options.
Submaterial at Habitat
Last weekend our team spent seven hours on-site in Santa Fe building a home for a local family of four. Upon arrival, we saw the rain-washed concrete slab which had many of us wondering how an entire single-story home would fit on such a small footprint. We were pleasantly surprised to witness the division of space happen as we put up the wood framing, and contrary to what we expected, the slab looked larger as the framing went up.
Our team of eleven was split into three groups; two groups were on framing and the other was responsible for accurately copying the architectural floor-plans onto the slab using blue chalk (you can call those blueprints!).
We were able to secure about 80% of the framing to the slab and completely finished copying the plans to the concrete.
Before we left, each of us had the opportunity to sign the framing for the family. The family will read each encouraging note left by the volunteers prior to their walls being completed. We thought this was really special and took the opportunity to share positive thoughts with the partner-family.
Although our team is a group of craftspeople who are accustomed to the art of making, many of us had no experience on a construction site. We had so much fun, each team member expressed the intention to return in the near future.
Veterans Off-Grid is a non-profit organization we learned about while on-site last week. Founder Ryan Timmermans was there picking through the material Habitat is unable to utilize in the home-building process. Veterans Off-Grid focuses on providing work and housing for veterans in order to help them reintegrate into society.
“We are an off the grid community living in Earthship-inspired homes thriving without utility bills, mortgages, and roaring bureaucracy. We enjoy the quiet bliss of the Rocky Mountains along the Rio Grande and strive to minimize our impact to the environment.”
This organization also accepts volunteer help and can provide you with knowledge of sustainable housing practices. Our team plans on taking a trip to Carson, NM in the next few months to help support their mission and also grow together as a team. Learn more about joining their volunteer network here.