By Eric Magana
Beginning Oct. 24, B/CS Habitat for Humanity will again partner with the Greater Brazos Valley Builders Association to finish the Angel’s Gate subdivision in Bryan, which broke ground 10 years ago with a Home Builders Blitz.
For many, the dream of homeownership may seem impossible to achieve. Together, Habitat and the Greater BV Builders Association will make the dream come true for two new homeowners, the Pedraza and Juarez families.
Habitat’s vision and mission is a world where everyone has a decent place to live by bringing people together to build homes, unity, and hope, according to the website. B/CS Habitat has helped more than 270 families reach that goal since the first Habitat Home was built 1989. In 1998, work began on the Miracle Place subdivision in Bryan, a 16-home development project comprised of all Habitat homeowners. The Home Builders Blitz is just one of the partnerships between Habitat and community and corporate volunteers to build safe, affordable housing for low-income families.
For the October Home Builders Blitz, professional contractors from the Greater BV Builders Association will join together with B/CS Habitat. Randall Pitcock of Pitcock & Croix Custom Homes and former president of the Greater BV Builders Association is looking forward to Home Builders Blitz.
Pitcock took part in the first Blitz in 2006 when he and the group of home builders and contractors were tasked with completing 10 homes within a seven-day span. He recalls how the volunteers and builders would gather around 6:30am and wait for the sun to rise. The first step in the process is always a group prayer, says Pitcock. Afterwards, the workers and volunteers spread out to follow the building plan for the day. During the construction stages, the builders inspect the ongoing build of the houses and foundations to determine the next step for each house.
Home Builders Blitz is unique in taking on the task of building two homes in a five-day span. Pitcock, now on the Greater BV Past President’s council, says the task seemed daunting at first. However, having completed more than one Blitz, he says he is confident the job will get done on time. With a big project like the Blitz, Habitat coordinates and registers the volunteers who will help during the event.
Over 27 years, Habitat build events have attracted high-profile volunteers including athletes. “Ryan Tannehill came out to an event his freshman year,” says Pitcock. There have been many athletes, male and female, collegiate and high school involved in past builds, he says. Pitcock describes volunteering for Habitat as a rewarding experience that allows families who have been living in substandard housing to start a new life.
“We are grateful to the Homebuilders Association for the help and support they put into this event and the impact they are having on College Station,” says Maggie Dunham, marketing coordinator for Habitat.
Even in the Home Builders Blitz, community volunteers are key to Habitat’s success.
Volunteers can come in groups or as individuals. Before the build, they must review safety guidelines and sign a release and waiver of liability form. Building, however, is not the only way to volunteer. With the Builders Blitz and other Habitat events, Habitat needs volunteers to provide lunch, assist as Spanish translators, and serve as Habitat Restore assistants.
Habitat Restore is a retail outlet where new and used building materials, appliances, furniture, and home décor are sold. Many of the products are donated through local businesses and individuals and the profit goes towards building more homes, according to the Restore website. Volunteers show up during normal business hours and sort out donations to the store and assist customers and donors.
“Not everyone can swing a hammer or pick up a paint brush,” Pitcock says. “But any bit helps whatever it may be.”
For more information, call (979) 823-7200, or visit www.habitatbcs.org.
Qualifying for Habitat for Humanity Homeownership
To qualify for Habitat for Humanity homeownership, a potential Habitat family must go through a background check. Homeowners must be U.S. citizens or legal residents who have lived or worked in the B/CS area for a minimum of one year. Families must currently live in overcrowded houses, or homes that are in bad condition. Families must demonstrate an ability to make regular monthly payments for rent, utilities, and other credit obligations such as real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance.
If selected, homeowners must also participate and complete 500 hours of sweat equity before purchasing their Habitat home. This may include hours on construction sites, in the Habitat office, or at the retail store. In addition to those hours, families attend home maintenance and landscaping classes, as well. Families pay insurance and property taxes just like any other homeowner, but receive an interest-free loan; all mortgage payments go back to Habitat to fund more houses that other Habitat families will buy, according to the website. For those interested in finding out more about qualifying to own a Habitat for Humanity home, informational sessions are held regularly and listed on the website, www.habitatbcs.org.