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US Groups Work to Eliminate Homelessness by Building Affordable Houses

  • Chris Simkins

Groups of volunteers are helping to build and repair affordable houses for low income families in several American cities. Our reporter visited one project in Washington, designed to revitalize a troubled neighborhood while giving deserving families a house they want to call home.

These volunteers are helping to build a better future for low income families in a neighborhood in Washington.

"There are two units here, one on this side and one on the other side, and so this is a group that is leading this effort to build a two bedroom, two bathroom home," said Kent Adcock.

Kent Adcock is president of the Habitat for Humanity in Washington. Since 1988 the organization has provided more than 200 families with new or rehabilitated houses.

"We are in one of five sites that are right now expanding what we call neighborhood revitalization initiatives to build and rehabilitate housing," he said.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers Habitat for Humanity and its partners are committed to building 58 to 60 new houses over the next three years in this poverty stricken neighborhood.

Volunteer Kerry Weiland is a member of the U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team.
"Everybody is doing it with a smile and an open heart and that's what's most important," said Kerry Weiland. "We can learn new skills but at the same time we know that we are doing something great for the community and for people who are deserving."

Andargachew Negash, his wife and three children are moving into this three bedroom home. But in order to own it, he and his wife must first invest 300 hours to help build it. Negash is from Ethiopia. He says the work he puts into the home will be well worth it, and allows his family to move out of an expensive two bedroom apartment.
"Mostly, whatever we make [in income] we are spending on home expenses like rent and we don't even get to live in a good area with good facilities," said Andargachew Negash. "So I believe this is going to be very good not only for myself but for my children too."

Kent Adcock says expanding homeownership means making sure people have a vested interest in their community.

"If we can engage the family to help build their home or their neighbors home then they have a sense of not entitlement but a sense of ownership that make all the difference in the world," he said.