Caring and Sharing in the Building Industry

By: Gary Ashton

While Habitat for Humanity has been around for a while, with environmentally friendly home-building gaining popularity, the international recycling and building organization is getting more and more well known.

Habitat for Humanity is an organization that builds homes for people who wouldn't normally be able to afford a home. Homes built are sold with no interest loans, and at cost, which means the building is done with volunteer labor. Many businesses and churches contribute to this good cause by donating time or money, so that low income families can enjoy the stability of home ownership. The great need for affordable housing in Brevard County, and all over the nation, means that organizations like Habitat for Humanity are extremely important.

Another branch of this organization is their ReStore, a large store full of used building materials. ReStore is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to build or renovate on a budget. In addition to a variety of wood, most ReStore outlets have things like tile and paint, as well as hardware, tools, sinks, toilets, cupboard doors and just about anything you can imagine that could be taken out of a home. This store makes it possible for lower income people to do home renovations, or for anyone who would rather support using recycled materials than to have everything new.

The benefits of Habitat for Humanity's programs go even further beyond recycling and creating homes for the needy. Their programs create community and build confidence by involving people in the building of their own homes. Often, the builders are not professionals, but individuals, learning the empowering skill of home building.

As a real estate agent, so often we get caught up in the latest and the greatest in new construction trends. So many buyers want new homes, and working in the industry with them, it's possible to forget that they are not the majority. Many people cannot afford such a high-end home. I feel that it is important for those of us with a little more, to give to those who don't have so much. That is why I would encourage anyone doing a renovation to contact their local Habitat for Humanity. Chances are, there's a ReStore in your community. Consider donating whatever you rip out of your home during a renovation or demolition, to your local ReStore.

Recycling your old fixtures and building materials saves them from ending up in the landfill, and this alone should earn you good "green" karma. But giving your old but perfectly functional things to help people that would be unable to afford them new is truly a doing a good deed.

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