Habitat for Humanity

LAYING THE FOUNDATION: Volunteer Glenn Dunning and contractor Mike Stevens work on the subflooring for the Habitat for Humanity/Lions Club International Foundation project.

LAYING THE FOUNDATION: Volunteer Glenn Dunning and contractor Mike Stevens work on the subflooring for the Habitat for Humanity/Lions Club International Foundation project.

Photo by Tom Angel

Habitat for Humanity, 526 Broadway, P.O. Box 3073, Chico, CA 95927, (530) 895-1271

With five homes completed in Chico and another under construction in partnership with the Lions Club International Foundation, Habitat for Humanity makes it possible for low-income families to have decent, affordable housing.

But Habitat President Pamela Easterly says there’s a lot more to Habitat for Humanity than putting a roof overhead.

“While building homes to provide adequate shelter to families in need is important to us at Habitat, what is really in our hearts is building ‘community,'” she said.

The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1993, and its first project was completed in Chico in 1996. There are now Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Paradise and Oroville as well, and the organization is in the process of reorganizing as Habitat for Humanity of Butte County. The family selection process is underway for Paradise’s first project, which will involve moving a donated house from one site to another. In Oroville, a building lot at Lake Oroville was donated to Habitat for Humanity, which it hopes to sell or trade for a more centrally located lot.

The Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) has launched a three-year partnership with Habitat for Humanity, committing a total of $9 million in grants specifically to build homes for individuals with disabilities. The LCIF donated $26,000 toward the Chico Habitat project currently underway. Local Lions Club members are raising additional funds and are organizing the building of the home.

The Lions/Habitat partnership home is located at 2051 Elm St. in Chico. Construction began last month and is scheduled to be completed on June 23.

Easterly said plenty of opportunities exist for volunteers, skilled and unskilled, to pitch in and help complete the house on schedule. Work days have been scheduled for the next several Saturdays, beginning at 8 a.m. Easterly encourages potential volunteers to call the Habitat office in advance to confirm if people are still needed for particular tasks.

The schedule for the next few weeks:

Saturday: Work on exterior walls continues, and roofing begins.

June 2: Roofing will be finished, while volunteers are needed to begin the exterior painting.

June 9: Sheet rock and insulation will be installed, requiring lots of volunteers, skilled or not.

June 16: Tile work is scheduled for the bathroom. Volunteers are needed for interior painting and landscaping.

June 23: Cabinets and appliances will be installed. Many volunteers are needed for touch-up painting and clean up.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, June 24, at 3 p.m. For the home to be completed on time, Easterly said the group lacks only a few things. Since the home is being built for a woman in a wheelchair, the bathroom is designed to have a tiled floor that slopes toward the shower. However, at this time the project lacks both the tile and a tile setter. In addition, disability-accessible appliances, such as a wall oven that opens to the side rather than from the top, are also needed.

Habitat for Humanity accepts homeowner applications from very low-income families who are willing to help with its construction in the form of “sweat equity.” Sweat equity is generally defined as 500 hours of physical labor on a Habitat house or other approved projects.

Habitat also looks for people who will be responsible about house payments and maintenance. The home is sold to the family at no interest and for no profit. The mortgage payments are reinvested in future Habitat projects.

Habitat for Humanity is an entirely volunteer-run organization. In addition to construction volunteers, the organization seeks people willing to serve on its board, or who are interested in public relations and fundraising. Individuals interested in learning more about upcoming projects in Paradise and Oroville are encouraged to call the Chico office for additional information.