Houston Habitat For Humanity
The first time MCFA announced the opportunity to volunteer with Houston Habitat For Humanity (Habitat), the registration sheet was filled up so quickly that the Human Resources Department had to turn away volunteers. Since then, MCFA’s involvement with Habitat has taken on a life of its own and grown into a mutually beneficial partnership.
One of the families, among the hundreds who have been helped, has made quite an impact on the employees of MCFA. When a team of volunteers arrived one early September morning in a neighborhood just east of downtown Houston, Chavauna Carrier was there to welcome them. She was there to work and she was there to offer her thanks. The home currently under construction was that of Chavauna. She and her children had earned the opportunity to purchase the home from Habitat, and MCFA was one of several companies offering to co-sponsor the construction.
“It was such a pleasure to meet so many friendly and kind-hearted people who were all a part of this beautiful process in making me and my family believers in knowing that dreams do come true,” said Chavauna Carrier. “Every weekend, working to build our home, I had the opportunity to meet and greet new smiling faces from different companies like MCFA.”
Corporate volunteers like those from MCFA are helping Habitat address the issue of affordable housing in the Houston community one family at a time. Their accomplishments include the building of homes for families that would otherwise not be able to afford a home. Most beneficiaries are hard-working, low-income Houstonians who are offered mortgages on a zero-interest basis, often with little or no down payment. In exchange, home buyers, among other criteria, are required to contribute 300 hours of “sweat equity” by working on their own homes or the homes of their neighbors.
Chauvana introduced herself to the MCFA group, thanked each of the volunteers and picked up her hammer. “The family and the mission start to mean something to you when you meet the homeowner and work side by side with her to help build her new home,” said one MCFA employee. “We put the roof on her new home, hammered on the siding and framed the windows. We listened to her talk about how much her children would benefit by living there.”
For Chauvana Carrier, the three bedroom, one bath home she helped build means a roof over her family’s head, a safe neighborhood where they can play and a mortgage she can afford. “We are so excited and can’t wait to move in,” she said. “I am not only thankful but blessed that God has chosen my family to be a part of the Habitat For Humanity Program and to be able to connect and become team members with those that work with MCFA and other companies that dedicated their time to help support me and my family.”
According to Paula McKenzie, corporate development manager for Houston Habitat, the impact on corporate giving is that many companies are reducing grants and matching programs and are looking for creative new ways to make an impact in their communities. The partnership between MCFA and Houston Habitat for Humanity embodies this trend in corporate giving.
“At Houston Habitat for Humanity, one of our greatest assets is our volunteer support,” said McKenzie. “Not only do our corporate donors underwrite the cost of the supplies and materials for our family partners’ homes, but they supply the volunteer labor as well. While our construction staff is extremely skilled in home building, one of their main talents is organizing, leading and directing corporate volunteers to build our homes in six days. Corporate volunteerism is critical to our mission.”
Habitat for Humanity is one of the country’s most extraordinary and successful nonprofit organizations. Since its inception nearly 40 years ago, they’ve helped countless people build and purchase a simple, decent home in which to live and worked toward eliminating substandard housing in communities across America.
The Houston branch of Habitat is no exception. To date, Houston Habitat – with the help of thousands of volunteers – has built approximately 800 affordable homes and served more than 2,700 people – half of whom are children.