Habitat builds a house in a box
Jackie Schlotfeldt News-Bulletin Staff Writer; firstname.lastname@example.org
Belen Volunteers from Monte Vista Christian Church in Albuquerque along with Habitat for Humanity of Valencia County volunteers spent a Saturday setting up the framework to a house that was constructed a week before.
The concept is called "house in a box," and what that means is the structure or framework of a home is completed at one site and shipped to another for faster construction.
Rev. Laurie Hart of Monte Vista Christian Church said the way the house ended up in Valencia County was really through a chance encounter where she met Habitat's Resource Development Coordinator Gayle Romeo and Re-Hab Coordinator Bob Wiseman.
"We tried to get Albuquerque's affiliate to hook us up with a House in a Box but they kept putting us off," Hart said. "When we went down to BARN (Belen Area Network Recovery) to see how we could help, we met Gayle and Bob. It was a kismet chance — an act of God's grace with the right people in the right place. I was ecstatic."
The idea of House in a Box has been used to quicken the rebuilding of some of the homes in hard-hit areas such as the Gulf Coast, where Hurricane Katrina devastated the region. Romeo said 1,700 Habitat affiliates in the United States began this process to provide help.
Approximately 110 people from the church, Habitat for Humanity and the Nob Hill neighborhood volunteered their time and skills to put the framework of the house together and then load it on a flatbed truck to be transported to Valencia County. Many businesses also supported the project and provide materials and services.
"They (Monte Vista Christian Church) pledged the framing package which is about $11,000," Romeo said. "Monte Vista more than helped re-new our faith in churches.
"We're 100 percent fully dependent on local support, and without local support, we can't make progress."
Habitat for Humanity Valencia County Board Member Mary Andersen was on site as the walls to Misty Lindaman's home were going up.
"It's wonderful," Andersen said. "What's really clever is they took a plan, divided each section that someone was responsible for, put a name on it so when it got here (to Valencia County) they just had to look for the name of the sections of wall that fit together."
The three bedroom, two-bath house will be home for Lindaman and her three children once they complete it, and she said it was an early Christmas present to them.
"It's exciting," Lindaman said. "We're going to continue volunteering even after our house is done."
Lindaman's 12-year-old son has been helping with the building of their new home as well.
Hart said the project worked out really well and they plan on doing it again, and they also plan on putting Habitat for Humanity of Valencia County into their budget.
"It was just wonderful," Hart said. "They're doing the best they can to serve the people of Valencia County, and they're not afraid to stretch their imagination."
While Hart said they hope to head to Honduras to volunteer there in the near future, it's important to realize what needs to be done in your own area.
"The point is stuff needs to be done around us, and we need to be grounded in that," she said. "We have work to do right here."
Romeo said making the community aware of the social and political impact is important and Habitat builds homes to support families for those who make less than 50 percent of the median income.
"It's not a charity," Romeo said. "People are paying mortgages that are affordable. They're hardworking people with kids who are trying to make ends meet just like the rest of us."
For more information on Habitat for Humanity Valencia County and the programs they offer, visit www.habitatvalencia.org