By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published August 20, 2015
ATLANTA—Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, with the help of an anonymous donor, has raised the majority of funds needed to begin construction of a home in honor of Pope Francis this November.
The Pope Francis build is one of a number that Habitat for Humanity has organized in conjunction with the visit of the pope to the United States in September. Volunteers in a number of cities including Wichita, Kansas, Greenville, North Carolina, and St. Louis, Missouri, have already begun or completed home builds in the pope’s honor.
The Atlanta build is set to take place over eight Saturdays beginning Nov. 14, according to Haley Hart, sponsorship associate with Atlanta Habitat. It will be the last Habitat project of the year.
A call that went out to parishes, schools and Catholic organizations to help with the build has drawn a lot of interest.
“We’ve had a really great response,” said Hart.
She has compiled a list of groups who are ready to volunteer on site to construct the home for a working family. Additional volunteers, Catholic and non-Catholic, are still needed to help with the celebratory build.
Volunteers are needed also to provide lunches, and Hart plans to ask priests to come out to bless the meals for those working on the homes.
The specific location of the home in Atlanta has yet to be determined.
“We take into consideration the areas they want to live in,” explained Hart.
Since 1983, Atlanta Habitat has served families by building or renovating more than 1,360 homes for 5,000 people.
Families qualify to purchase Habitat homes by meeting requirements regarding steady income, having good credit, and being first-time homebuyers. The homebuyers must invest 250 sweat-equity hours, either assisting in building their own home or working in Habitat offices or in its warehouse or Habitat ReStore.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity this year to build a home in honor of Pope Francis,” said Lisa Gordon, CEO of Atlanta Habitat, in a statement announcing the build.
“The faith-based community has been one of our most important and outstanding partners since Atlanta Habitat’s founding 32 years ago, and we look forward to coming together to build this home for a working family in Atlanta,” her statement said.
Building a house for a low-income family aligns with Pope Francis’ commitment to social justice, said Hart. She would like to see this become more than a one-time event in Atlanta Habitat’s schedule, but instead an ongoing event.
“I would love to make this a sustainable long-term build,” she said.
To join Atlanta Habitat for Humanity in the Pope Francis challenge, visit www.atlantahabitat.org/pope-francis-challenge. Contact Haley Hart, sponsorship associate, at haley.hart@atlantahabitat .org or 404-223-5180, ext. 171.