I am writing to you during this really exciting time for Athens County Habitat for Humanity (ACHFH) to share with you our story and seek your support.
On March 9, ground was broken on W. Fourth Street in The Plains, Ohio. We are especially proud to be involved in this build to create a home for an alumna, Robin Brigante, '05. She was rendered paraplegic after a car accident in fall 2004 and has shown incredible strength as she earned her Bachelor of Specialized Studies. Brigante and her 20-year-old son, Treavis Poynter are scheduled to occupy the new home by June 30.
Habitat for Humanity is not just about building houses. It is also about building community and improving lives. Without the numerous volunteers and affiliate members of the ACHFH, families in need would not otherwise have a safe, healthy, and affordable place to live. We are exceedingly grateful for our current volunteers. We need active volunteers to help families in Athens County.
There are several levels of the building process aside from the actual construction that could use your help. For example, under the guidance and leadership of Associate Professor David Matthews, more than 20 interior design architecture students have volunteered. These students are part of the Design Group student organization, which initiated its partnership with Habitat for Humanity because of its desire to be active in the community projects while learning directly from the design and construction experiences. More than 60 students are involved in the Ohio University student chapter of Habitat of Humanity that donates their time by fundraising, in addition to working on various projects in the community. Other students are volunteering in the Athens County Habitat office on Union Street, filing in whenever necessary, assisting in clerical work and on the numerous committees.
Athens County Habitat for Humanity and the Ohio University Coalition is actively pursuing grants from foundations and low-income housing projects. The majority of the funding comes from the community in the form of donations and house sponsorships. The purchase of the Brigante lot was made possible by a grant and also by an Ohio University employee, Jim Yute and his wife Maggie, who agreed to sell the property at below market value.
The Ohio University Coalition is proud to have contributed and participated in two builds. Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis has said, "Ohio University is committed to actively sharing their resources and improving the community and quality of life in southeastern Ohio."
Athens County Habitat for Humanity's mission/philosophy is to build affordable, decent homes for families based on the level of need, the willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity and the ability to repay a no-interest loan. Their mortgage payments are then recycled to fund more Habitat Homes.
My association with ACHFH dates back to 2001 when the newly formed Ohio University Coalition was planning its first build in Nelsonville. Since 2001, I have had the opportunity to participate in five different builds including the upcoming Brigante build. ACHFH's current vision is to average building five homes a year, and eventually 20 homes per year by 2025. ACHFH can not accomplish this goal without the help from the Ohio University family. According to the Athens Metropolitan Housing Authority, "Just this year alone, over 900 families in Athens County are living in poverty."
I ask that you join us in our efforts to eliminate substandard housing in our community.
If you would like to get involved by either making a contribution, or volunteering your time, please contact ACHFH at (740) 592-0032. Or send the contribution to Athens County Habitat for Humanity, 525 West Union Street, Athens, Ohio 45701. Be sure to indicate "OU Coalition" on any monetary donation.
Ohio University Coalition
President, Athens County Habitat for Humanity