Habitat has changed lives for the better

December 09, 2003

Dear Editor:

Since 1990 a quiet revolution has been occurring in Boyle County, a revolution that has radically changed the lives of over 50 residents. It has not been brought about through debate, politicking or sign carrying. This revolution has been launched with hammers, nails and humility.

Census data from 2000 indicates there are 3,250 renter-occupied units in Boyle County. What is not tracked or measured is the number of these units that provide inadequate shelter. Many renters endure unsafe heating and electrical service, faulty plumbing, overcrowded living conditions, and often feel they have no alternative. The small but dedicated group of community volunteers that comprises Boyle County Habitat For Humanity is answering the needs of this population. We do this by partnering with families in need; building houses with them, not for them; turning renters of low-grade apartments into owners of high-quality homes. When the house currently being completed in Perryville is dedicated later this month Habitat will have built 21 houses in Boyle County, well over $1.2 million in real estate, without a single paid member on staff.


Here is how it is done:

* The Family Selection Committee works tirelessly to network with needy families in the community. Public meetings, radio spots, contact with volunteer fire brigades, flyers sent through the local school systems are just some of the methods used to connect with this difficult-to-reach population.

* The Site Selection Committee scours the county securing diverse and adequate plots of land to provide suitable choices to our families at low cost.

* The Family Support Committee provides friendship and counsel to partners during the construction process and for as long as they need support. These individuals provide help to develop budgeting skills, payment strategies, maintenance plans and whatever else is needed for the family to become self-sufficient.

* The Building And Construction Committee develops floor plans, coordinates labor and constantly works to reduce material costs to ensure affordability. In addition to providing the bulk of the labor, networking with local merchants, contractors and building supplies vendors is an important part of their work. Most recently, a partnership with Central Kentucky Technical College enabled students to get hands-on experience while providing low-cost electrical installation.

* Behind the scenes others provide lunches, solicit volunteers, submit grant proposals, and many other tasks needed to keep the enterprise going. At the same time, the local chapter has tithed over $70,000 to fund international building projects from Uganda to Sri Lanka.

During the Christmas season, when many thoughts turn to giving thanks for their blessings, it is good to remember the efforts of those who seek to extend their own blessings to the needs of others. In that spirit, Boyle County Habitat For Humanity seeks to change lives one house at a time.

Tom Quilligan, Secretary

Boyle County Habitat For Humanity

Central Kentucky News Articles