CONYERS -- The Conyers/Rockdale Habitat for Humanity affiliate is hoping to open the door to more volunteers and increased donations.
Jack Arvin, a member of the local Habitat board of directors, said Tuesday that volunteers are always needed. The affiliate also hopes to solicit more donations that will go toward helping those less fortunate achieve Habitat's vision: a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
In Conyers, Habitat for Humanity has already built a number of houses, most recently completing a house at 990 Green Valley Drive. Local Habitat volunteers are in the process of constructing another house on Green Valley Drive, and the affiliate has 28 lots where houses can be built in the same vicinity.
Arvin said volunteers generally work on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to about 2 p.m. Construction experience is not necessary.
"We try to scale it so that some of the folks have a good amount of construction capabilities, but there are slots for people like myself who can swing a hammer a little bit," Arvin said. "There is always something there to keep people involved as opposed to just standing around and looking."
Donations are welcomed, as well, Arvin said.
"Lowe's donated $30,000 in store credit last year, and Chick-fil-A has volunteered to provide lunch (for volunteers) for two months," he said.
Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry that has helped to build more than 500,000 affordable houses and served 2.5 million people worldwide.
According to Habitat for Humanity:
"Decent, affordable housing dramatically changes a family's life;
"The cycle of poverty is broken;
"Health, physical safety and security improve;
"Educational and job prospects increase;
"A sense of stability and dignity grows;
"Money is freed up for other essential needs."
Arvin said the Habitat homes are generally built along guidelines provided by Habitat -- adhering to energy efficient and green principles. The homes are about 1,400 square feet with a fair market value of between $70,000 to $80,000.
"The houses are done in such a fashion that they are extremely attractive, very much energy efficient," Arvin said.
Those who would like to purchase a Habitat house are required to meet several qualifications. Although each affiliate has its own guidelines, in general prospective homeowners must be citizens or legal residents, prove steady income, have good credit, earn a monthly income that falls within minimum and maximum limits, sustain a savings account over a specific period of time, invest sweat-equity hours in building the home, make an affordable down payment, make timely mortgage payments and attend homeowner education classes.
"It's not a free house by any stretch of the imagination," Arvin said.
Habitat also operates a resale store on West Avenue where funds are generated to help build the houses. The store is open on Fridays and Saturdays.
Anyone interested in volunteering or donating should email Susan Spain at email@example.com, or local Habitat President Marget Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.