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Habitat for Humanity-an experience unlike any other

  • LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Leslie Howes, director of Monroe County Habitat for Humanity and chairman of the public relations committee, Bob Van Derheyden, presented a program on Habitat for the ladies of the Western Pocono Women's Club.
    LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Leslie Howes, director of Monroe County Habitat for Humanity and chairman of the public relations committee, Bob Van Derheyden, presented a program on Habitat for the ladies of the Western Pocono Women's Club.
Published November 20. 2009 05:00PM

Leslie Howes, director of the Monroe County Habitat for Humanity and its chairman of the Public Relations Committee, Bob Van Derheyden, presented a program about the organization at a meeting of the Western Pocono Women's Club.

They presented a short video on who and what Habitat for Humanity is.

Habitat for Humanity was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller. They had visited Koinonia Farm, a small, interracial, Christian community outside of Americus, Georgia which was founded in 1942 by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan. Jordan and Fuller developed the concept of "partnership housing." The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses. The houses would be built at no profit and interest would not be charged on the loans. Building costs would be financed by a revolving fund called "The Fund for Humanity." The fund's money would come from the new homeowners' house payments, no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fund-raising activities. The monies in the Fund for Humanity would be used to build more houses.

It was the hopes of the Fullers to bring the concept to developing countries. In 1973, the Fullers traveled to Zaire and helped people build affordable housing. Three years later when they returned to America, the Fullers saw Habitat for Humanity International become a reality in 1976.

Howes shared some amazing facts with the ladies.

Habitat had built 200,000 homes by 2006. The challenge was to have 400,000 homes built by 2011. Already in 2009, that number has reached 350,000.

Every 10 minutes a Habitat home is completed.

Habitat homes have been built in 90 countries.

Habitat for Humanity came to Monroe County in 1990 and was recognized by Habitat for Humanity International in 1994. The first Habitat home built in Monroe County was in 1996 and has averaged about one and a half homes a year. Currently, they are building two homes a year and hope to increase that to three to four by next year.

In 2004, Monroe County Habitat for Humanity opened an office at 912 Main St., # 203B, Stroudsburg, PA 18360-1641.

To date, they have built 13 homes.

Recently they received an $825,000 grant to purchase five foreclosed homes and will renovate them to be sold to families selected.

"We do tithing as well. We have sponsored the building of 11 homes internationally," said Howes.

She explained that a family that is selected to receive a home must meet certain criteria and they have to work between 250-400 hours on the home.

Howes thanked the WPWC for their donations over the years and told them they are dependent on the generosity of its donors and volunteers.

"If you've never done it, please consider volunteering. You'll never experience anything like it when you finally hand over the keys to the front door to someone who's never owned a house before. I've seen big strong construction guys cry," said Howes.

If you would like to make a donation or volunteer, call Howes at (570) 476-9846.

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