Habitats built with hope
By Senior Airman Marcy Copeland, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 17, 2014
AURORA, Colo. -- Beyond the construction fence, hammers nailing and saws buzzing are the sounds of hope for families in need.
Buckley Air Force Base members joined Habitat for Humanity Jan. 10 for a local project in Aurora. Nineteen members volunteered to saw windows and doorways while others climbed ladders three stories high to install roofing components.
"I think having 19 people show up, we just get a different kind of reaction from the community," said Staff Sgt. Eric Leyva, 460th Space Communications Squadron communications project manager. "It's a type of respect. Everyone acts professional. We get to have fun, of course, but I think that exposure is good for everyone on base. We don't always get an opportunity to interface with the community, and with this project, we did."
HFH is an international non-profit organization that has built or repaired more than 800,000 houses and serves more than 4 million people worldwide. HFH works with 1,500 partners in the U.S. and more than 70 organizations around the world to provide a safe and affordable place to live.
The HFH project does not just give away the homes. Each family that is unable to obtain financing must meet three eligibility requirements. To be eligible, a person's income must be 30 to 50 percent of an area's median income, must be living in a substandard or low income housing and contribute of 300-500 hours of "sweat equity" must be put into the build of their or someone else's home.
"These are people who have one, two, sometimes even three jobs," said Brady Nelson, senior construction supervisor. "These are hard-working folks who wouldn't be able to get a mortgage in the conventional setting."
The success of HFH has been achieved with donations of money, materials and land, but the true success is credited to the volunteers - men and women who are committed to helping the organization fight poverty and homelessness around the world. Military members, veteran, and civilians donate their time in aiding local, international and disaster relief projects.
Installing insulation in 20-mile-per-hour winds, trekking through snow and mud, and conquering a fear of heights was all worth the swollen hands and wind-burnt faces to know that efforts given by each volunteer brought HFH one day closer to giving a family a new home.