Habitat filling needs

Published 11:29 am Wednesday, October 8, 2008

By Staff
The numbers tell a story of need. In Alabama alone, nearly 45,000 housing units are needed for low-income families.
An income of $33,000 is needed to purchase an average home. More than half of Alabama's families make less than that.
A wage between $10 and $13 per hour is needed for a medium-level apartment. Alabama's average wages are less than that.
Those are the sobering statistics provided by Karen McCauley, director of the Association of Alabama Habitat Affiliates.
But McCauley, speaking Monday night at a Brewton Habitat dinner, also gave numbers that tell a story of hope.
Habitat for Humanity has chapters in more than 3,000 communities. More than 300,000 houses have been built, serving more than 1 million people.
In Alabama alone, 36 affiliates serving 43 counties have built nearly 1,500 homes.
Those numbers haven't solved the housing needs yet, but they are making headway, one home at a time.
And amid the hand-wringing and anger and accusations over the housing crisis turned credit crisis, it is worth noting that Habitat for Humanity has been quietly helping families with a hammer and a hand up - not a handout - for years.
Habitat homeowners take part in the construction of their houses and of other Habitat houses, and many of our local homeowners continue to help build houses long after their own are finished and furnished.
Brewton's Habitat is one of the most active small chapters in the state, with 15 homes built since the affiliate was founded in 1996.
A third of those homes have been built just in the past two years.
Now Habitat is looking to expand to include the entire county in its affiliate, which will allow the chapter to accept more applications and land from other areas, and will also help attract more volunteers.
As we look toward an uncertain economic future, we will likely see the needs grow in our area and across the state and nation.
But our community's heart for Habitat is growing, too. That kind of generosity is going to help us through some tough times ahead.
Kerry Whipple Bean is publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at 867-4876 or by e-mail at kerry.bean@brewtonstandard.com.

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