Habitat for Humanity shifts focus for 2016

Habitat for Humanity completed two major builds in 2015.

Habitat supported Helping Hands in completing the new Mother’s Cupboard building and also completed a home for the Nash family just before Christmas.

These efforts diminished our financial reserves for 2016.

Because of this, we will focus on fundraising for the next house build along with expanding our mission beyond full house builds.

In 2016, Habitat for Humanity will focus on “Brush with Kindness” in an attempt to help more families in the Brown County area who are in need of light repairs to their home, some help with accessibility issues and, if needed, assistance with more serious repair required to maintain a safe and livable home environment.

“Brush with Kindness” is not the typical Habitat single-family-home building project but focuses on people already living in their own home as No. 1 priority. It helps preserve local home ownership by partnering with homeowners who are struggling to restore and maintain a safe and viable place to live.

When basic expenses exceed income month after month or a large unexpected expense occurs, home maintenance is the usual casualty. Years of delayed maintenance can cause a downward spiral of a home leading to deterioration and potentially unsafe living conditions.

“Brush with Kindness” will try to address some of the following situations:

• Homes where challenging circumstances have created issues that are beyond what the homeowner can handle on their own.

• Homes where people may be living in an unsafe or unlivable condition.

• Homes where the homeowner may have to choose among paying for food, medication, taxes and basic utilities.

There is a need in the Brown County area, and if you feel that one of these questions describes your current living situation, contact us for more information about the Brown County Habitat for Humanity “Brush With Kindness” Program. We may be able to help. The phone number for Habitat for Humanity is 812-988-4926.

We cannot address all the needs within the Brown County area in a single year, so our Brush with Kindness team will review the needs and the urgency of the need and the magnitude of the project to assure that we can address the highest priority issues first.

Also, we cannot address the needs of rental properties. While the need may be there, it is the responsibility of the rental owner to maintain their properties, not “Brush with Kindness.”

Several projects have already been completed in 2016, including providing a ramp for a lady who had no means of getting out of her home to see her doctor and also providing hot water for several families in need.

“Brush With Kindness” brings resources, volunteers and homeowners together to replace damaged windows and doors, repair plumbing and electrical problems, provide necessary ramps or complete other critical maintenance and safety-related tasks.

As with all Habitat builds, if homeowners are able, they work side-by-side with “Brush with Kindness” volunteers to complete repairs to their home. And if they are able, homeowners repay the cost of materials.

Our home repair program brings volunteers from service groups, businesses, churches and community agencies to help low-income homeowners who are challenged by age, disability or circumstance.

If you would like to be part of this effort, please contact Habitat for Humanity at 812-988-4926.

John Werner is the Brown County Brush with Kindness coordinator and a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.