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Heading West

With the Griffith Avenue project nearly complete, NPAHFH is heading west down 3rd Street to what will be the future home for Amanda and her two boys. It is the first single lot we've done in quite some time.

Last Saturday we raised the walls on this home nestled almost squarely in the middle of the block. On one side, a trio of relentlessly barking dogs who are either welcoming us to the neighborhood or warning us off the property. It may also simply be a request for attention, and they have certainly done that. Down the street a little guy, maybe six years old, every interested in what we are doing. I'm basing that on the number of questions he asks when he comes around.

The sun was shining and warm on this early October morning when nearly a dozen volunteers, including the homeowners brother, mom and dad, gathered to raise the walls on House #52. Although I've been to five of these in my short career here with Habitat, it never gets old. Everyone is so excited on these special days. Its when the house really begins to take shape. Its fun to watch the prep as the crew line up the studs and hammers them in place along the top and bottom boards, reaching an almost melodious arrangement in their work. The new volunteers begin quite tentatively but as the more experienced volunteers lend a hand to teach them tricks and tips, they grow bolder in their efforts.

When it is finally time to lift the completed wall into place, everyone is eager to grab a handhold and add their own Sweat Equity to the effort. The smile of self-satisfaction on the faces of those who've come out on these early mornings to build something for someone they don't know, is extremely gratifying. Its a big deal, making real change in the community you live.

I try not to let the experienced volunteers see me, off to the side taking photographs, with a silly little tear of emotion as this all comes together. Although, I'm sure they experienced that at some point themselves. Whether they'd admit it or not is another story.

So, out west we go and continue with our mission to build homes, one at a time, for those families who need shelter.

Through shelter, we empower.

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