Published Saturday, November 17, 2012
From Staff Reports
Local veteran groups have made a $2,500 donation to Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity.
Marine Corps League Detachment 1325, American Legion Post 57 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2667 joined forces to make a contribution to the faith-based non-profit that seeks to put families in their own homes. Guy Mitchell, commandant of the Marine Corps League; Dick Stender, adjutant of the American Legion; and Jeff Carroll, VFW commander took part in a presentation of the funds to Leslie Merriman, executive director of Newnan-Coweta Habitat.
“Hank Berkowitz and his fellow veteran supporters have been wonderful in their support of our new Hands-Up program, as well,” Merriman said. She said it has been tough — not only locally but nationwide — to identify veterans who need a hand to stay in their homes.
“Because veterans typically have a servant’s heart, the thought of asking for assistance is not easy,” Merriman said. She said the local Habitat affiliate is “working to reach out to the families” of veterans in hopes of identifying more.
Newnan-Coweta Habitat also teamed up with Jack and Jill of America to coordinate more than 60 volunteers for several volunteer projects on Nov. 10. Each project was designed “to address and promote the growing need for decent, affordable housing,” Merriman said.
The inaugural effort of Habitat’s local Hands-Up — Housing And Neighborhood Development Strategies — program was kicked off at the Corn Crib and Beverly Park subdivisions with neighborhood entrance repair and cleanup. Additional “kid-friendly” projects took place at the Habitat ReStore.
Through Hands-Up, the local Habitat group hopes to help revitalize the appearance of neighborhoods, strengthen connections within the community and preserve Coweta County’s housing stock. There will be a “key focus on helping current homeowners in Coweta County with much needed home repair,” Merriman said.
“The partnership with Jack and Jill of America is a natural fit,” said Melanie Frazier, volunteer coordinator for Coweta’s Habitat for Humanity. “Their mission and Habitat’s mission: to provide affordable, decent housing, are very much aligned.”
Pamela Simms, foundation chair for Jack and Jill of America, and Frazier worked closely to ensure the volunteer experience for all participants, ranging from teens to adults in all types of professions, was a positive and rewarding one.
Through its Rebuild America initiative, Jack and Jill of America is committed to raising awareness and advocating for universal decent housing — striving to dismantle and alter the systems that reinforce and entrench poverty housing. In doing so, it can make an affordable, decent place to live a reality for all. Its membership hopes that by raising awareness and advocating for universal decent housing we can dismantle and alter the systems that reinforce and entrench poverty housing.
The Peachtree City Latter-day Saints Women’s Group donated lunch for first 25 volunteers at the subdivision project on Nov. 10.
The donation by the military service groups will held kick start the Hands-Up program. The Hands-Up program gives top priority to Coweta veterans. Veterans or people who know a veteran who could use help with home repair can contact Habitat at 770-252-9049, extension 10, or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
“We encourage veterans in need of home repair to apply for Hands-Up. We welcome other members in the community to also apply, but the program has limited funds and will give veterans priority. Hands-Up is Habitat’s way of giving back to those who have given us so much,” Merriman said.
She pointed out that “Habitat’s Hands-Up initiative broadens the population Habitat serves to include existing homeowners.” She said the expansion of services “does put a strain on our limited resources” and noted Newnan-Coweta Habitat is “actively seeking sponsorships and partners to assist in serving more Cowetans.”
Because many home repairs vary in their level of severity, Hands-Up addresses home repair in three categories:
• A Brush with Kindness addresses exterior home preservation/beautification issues.
• Weatherization focuses on repairs to reduce energy consumption.
• Critical Home Repairs addresses interior and exterior issues which may affect the health and safety of the occupants.
In keeping with Habitat’s philosophy of giving “a hand up not a hand out,” every homeowner will be required to complete sweat equity hours on their home or on someone else’s home in the program. There will be a minimum of eight hours required with the number of hours to be determined by the size of the project.
“Each approved applicant’s financial situation will be carefully reviewed and a combination of required monetary and/ or volunteer contributions will be determined,” Merriman said.
“The repayment amount is based on each homeowner’s financial situation and may be waived or reduced.”
Those not qualifying for free or reduced repairs will be offered a no-interest loan with easy repayment terms.
For specifics on eligibility, contact Tammy Stover by email at email@example.com or by phone at 770-252-9049, extension 10.