Habitat for humanity is an international non-profit organization that describes itself as devoted to building simple, decent and affordable housing. Their goal is to fight poverty and their mission statement is seeking to put God’s love into action. Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. They are a Christian faith-based housing ministry that works with local communities to build or reconstruct homes for the poor. These homes are built with volunteer labor and then sold at no-profit to the organization.
Macon has its own Habitat affiliate called Macon Area Habitat. It started as a Sunday school class at the Northminster Presbyterian Church and grew into a full affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. With a special bond to their Christian origin they work closely with local churches. They also work with the local neighborhoods and Mercer University to fulfill their mission of supporting the needy. Macon Area Habitat expands beyond house-building towards revitalization with house-building as the main focus of the program because there are many homes already built but left abandoned that could be revitalized and resold.
Currently Macon Area Habitat is working on a neighborhood called Lynmore Estates in south Macon in partnership with the Mercer Chapter of Habitat for Humanity which is separate but connected with Macon Area Habitat. Mercer’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity is one of more than 800 campus chapters all over the world. The Mercer Chapter built its first house in 1996 and has built houses almost every year since. The chapter has built a total of seven houses and with continued support plan on building more for the foreseeable future.
Other projects that Macon Area Habitat has running includes a car show in partnership with Mercer’s greek fraternity Alpha Tau Omega. Called the ATO Charity Car Show, they volunteer to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. ATO members are also volunteering with the Lynmore Estates project. According to Macon Area Habitat, this neighborhood has about 435 homes, and about 122 are abandoned. Macon Area Habitat for Humanity has so far raised $326,700 through its 2012 Priceless Gifts Campaign. Of those funds, $291,000 will be used to help pay for the construction costs of six new homes in Lynmore Estates with the overall aim of building 46 homes by 2014. This means a big job for ATO, Macon Area Habitat and the Mercer Chapter, but the rewards will be restored and new homes at a low cost to the neighborhood. Restoring these abandoned homes could bring new life and fight poverty in the neighborhood if they are successful. According to them, “This year will mark a fresh start for Mercer Habitat as we reorganize and concentrate on educating the campus about poverty, as well as providing financial and physical support for builds in Lynmore Estates. A core of interested students will provide innovative leadership for the chapter as we rethink our mission. Students at Mercer have always responded generously with their time to assist on builds.”
If you are interested in participating in the restoration of the Lynmore Estates neighborhood or you just believe in giving your time to help fight poverty you can email Macon Area Habitat at [email protected] or visit their site at www.maconhabitat.org. Even though they are Christian faith-based organization they are willing to take in any volunteer regardless of faith.