Group constructs home in Michigan neighborhood


KALAMAZOO TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The pandemic hit Habitat for Humanity hard.

The organization was unable to build because volunteers couldn’t gather together. Two years later, they’re finally back at it.

Around 90 volunteers gathered in Kalamazoo Township Tuesday to construct a home for the annual Women Build hosted by Habitat for Humanity.

“Goosebumps, right? It is phenomenal. Without getting too emotional, it is phenomenal to be able to be part of contributing to someone having their first home experience,” said Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity volunteer Alisa Haynor.

Haynor told FOX 17 it was her first time volunteering with Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity.

“From my perspective, it just seemed like a really good opportunity to be with some other folks who are maybe not as skilled and take this opportunity to learn together, to learn with the other ladies in the group and maybe make some new friends,” said Haynor.

Habitat for Humanity hosts Women Build every year, and this chapter has been participating for more than a decade.

The executive director for Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity said the event began in the 1990s when women banded together to help build a home for the organization.

“When we talk about these really well built, affordable homes, one of the ways that we’re able to do that is with volunteers. Volunteers are so critical to the work that we do both on building homes and our home repairs, being able to save on that labor,” said Rob Oakleaf, Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director.

Oakleaf said volunteers don’t need to be experts in construction. On-site leaders will teach them everything they need to know.

“We build new homes, often engaging in neighborhood revitalization and urban infill, and then we work with people who are at about 30 to 60% of the area median income, so families that aren’t able to access traditional financing for homes, but could really benefit from the power of home ownership,” said Oakleaf.

The idea is to make it affordable for people who would benefit from home ownership, and volunteers, like Haynor, say they’re glad to be part of the experience.

“Being a part of that and helping them get through that process and in that door so they can have a home? I think that is wonderful,” said Haynor.

The home for this year’s Women Build is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Habitat for Humanity already chose a family who will move into the home.

Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity said they’ve built around 200 homes to date.

Click here if you’re interested in volunteering or applying for a home.

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