The Union Recorder

August 2, 2013

A gift that keeps on giving

Community can Adopt-A-Home to aid families in need

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Local native and longtime businessman Jason Childre never really understood the full concept of the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Habitat for Humanity and how the nonprofit has come to the aid of so many local families. After speaking with local Habitat Executive Director Murali Thirumal about the organization’s mission, Childre felt confident and inspired to give back as a sponsor for Habitat’s new Adopt-A-Home program.

The Adopt-A-Home program is conducted as a partnership between the local Habitat and the community, including businesses, organizations, churches, college groups and individuals. The intent of the Adopt-A-Home program is to engage all aspects of the community to invest time, resources and funds to help improve the standard of living for families in dire need of home improvements, specifically within the Harrisburg neighborhood.

“The most exciting part of the Adopt-A-Home program is that it’s part of the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. So many of our long-time citizens come from the Harrisburg neighborhood and it’s exciting to see those residents joining with the community, businesses and college students,” said Doris Moody, local Habitat board president. “It’s so pleasing to see Habitat able to address more issues and serve more families through the Adopt-A-Home program with a relatively small financial commitment than being able to repair one home at a time.”

Partners, or sponsors, have the option of adopting a home by providing monetary contributions. The funds are a “loan” to the partner families, and the financial contribution will be used as a catalyst and be recouped to upgrade additional homes.

“The program is scalable where individuals can give anything from $200 to $1,000 to Habitat. The money is set aside to invest in rebuilding, remodeling, painting or other critical needs for impoverished homes in Harrisburg,” Thirumal said. “The donor is encouraged to participate in sweat equity hours with their team so they can get involved.”

Currently, the Adopt-A-Home program has received pledges of $3,000 total from three local businesses, including Childre Nissan, Bruce Vaughn, Jr. of Wells Fargo Advisors and one who wishes to remain anonymous. First United Methodist Church has been one of the strongest supporters since the lifetime of the local Habitat.

“Habitat is taking the money their getting and using it the best way possible to improve the life and livelihood of those who need it the most,” Childre said. “Those that don’t understand the concept of Habitat should try to educate themselves on their mission and concept so they realize it’s a great cause and something our community can benefit from. I look forward to getting our employees that are able to go out and volunteer to help with any of these projects that will come through our adoption of a home.”

Habitat selects homes based on the following criteria:

• Homes must be located within Baldwin County.

• Homes must be owner occupied, rental homes do not qualify.

• Owners should have lived in the house for at least 12 consecutive months, and should show intent to live in the same premises for at least the next 12 months.

• The partner family should show a significant need and the ability to pay.

• Partner families who qualify and are selected for the program will be required to pay back the lesser of 50 percent of the total market value for the repair, or the total cost of materials. Based on the family's current income, Habitat carries an unsecured promissory note to secure payment.

“The Adopt-A-Home program will last a couple of years since we can only elevate the standards so much; the community will have to sustain the rest of it,” Thirumal said. “By elevating the standards of living, we make our community better and healthier, and that has to be done at the grassroots level. These businesses really believe in Habitat’s mission. This $3,000 will be the gift that keeps on giving.”

Habitat has built 4,633 homes for hardworking families in Georgia since 1976.

For more information about Habitat, to volunteer time, or to sponsor a project, contact Thirumal at 478-453-9617.

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