A great model for charity

Published 9:53 pm Monday, October 26, 2015

The framework for two new houses went up in the Lake Kennedy neighborhood on Saturday, as more than 100 volunteers from Habitat for Humanity took part in a “Framing Frenzy,” designed to kick off major construction activities for what will eventually be nine new houses for families that otherwise might never have a chance to experience home ownership.

Throughout the morning, more than 100 volunteers drove nails under the watchful eyes of expert volunteers and Habitat staff. They cut the lumber, assembled walls, raised them into place and nailed them down.

Habitat for Humanity has built or repaired more than 1 million homes, serving more than 5 million people around the world since its inception in 1976. Several of those homes have been in Suffolk, including one on Locust Street restored in 2014. That home is now owned by Malika Traynham, who was one of the volunteers helping to frame the newest Lake Kennedy houses on Saturday.


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Traynham, like other Habitat beneficiaries, was required to help build other Habitat homes as part of the “sweat equity” portion of her contract with the nonprofit agency. But she’s already met the sweat equity requirements, and her work this weekend was simply a way to have a little fun, experience a bit of fulfillment and give back to the organization that got her and her three children out of a tiny apartment and into a new house.

Sweat equity is one of the great ways Habitat ensures that its new homeowners have a sense of personal responsibility when moving into their homes. The recipients are also required to buy their houses and keep up with the no-interest mortgage payments. They also must meet eligibility requirements that include income and credit hurdles, and they must pass background checks.

Whoever is selected to move into the new Lake Kennedy homes when they’re complete will have to meet the same sorts of requirements, including investing time into helping build other Habitat homes — perhaps even the others planned for their own neighborhood.

Habitat for Humanity is a great model for doing charity well, and the personal responsibility demonstrated by those who buy the new homes will help ensure that they are great neighbors in Lake Kennedy.