Today Patty Higgins, Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Benzonia, gave us an update on Habitat for Humanity in Benzie County.  Patty has been a Board member of the local organization for a year and a half.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian non-profit operating worldwide.  Its goal is to provide "Not a hand-out but a hand-up."  Thus those who receive homes are required to provide sweat equity, helping to build their homes and pay affordable mortgages.
Habitat for Humanity in Benzie County was set up as a separate non-profit in 2005 and built its first home in Thompsonville in 2008.  Using a standard floor plan the group tries to build about one house a year within communities such as Benzonia, Honor, Lake Ann and Thompsonville.  In addition to building new homes the organization is now rehabbing existing homes, as with the recent replacement of a roof in Benzonia.
Local issues faced by Habitat include:
  • Finding suitable families
  • With job stability needed to get a loan and get a house
  • Completion of existing paperwork
  • Acquiring suitable land
Habitat always welcomes those willing to serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors, although one need not be a Board member to serve on one of several committees:
  • Family Selection & Support
  • Site Selection & Construction
  • Resource Development & Public Relations
  • HFHBC Restore
To thrive Habitat for Humanity needs community support.  This can come in terms of volunteer work, monetary contributions, gifts in kind or fundraising events.  Further information can be found on the organization's website.