House No. 20 is now the home of Efrain and Damaris Guevara and their five children.
“All aspects of this project were incredible,” said Tim Fausch, BNP Media Plumbing Group publishing director. “The Habitat organizers ran the project with great precision, our volunteers worked with amazing commitment, and the Gueveras represented the ideal family that everyone wanted to help.”
Plumbing & Mechanical donated $10,000 to the project; Supply House Times and 10 sister publications donated another $65,000.
“I was impressed by the enthusiasm my fellow BNP Media colleagues showed on this project,” said PM Publisher George Zebrowski. “I'm proud to work for this company.”
Known as a “Blitz Build”, the annual project takes a single location and constructs a large volume of homes in just one week. Low-income families receive the homes by committing to no-interest loans and providing hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” on their home and other Habitat homes.
For volunteers, the Blitz Build provides an opportunity to serve others in a meaningful way. Most Habitat families have undergone hardship and are struggling with housing. Habitat is able to provide affordable housing because of donated labor, materials and funds.
The Detroit project employed a strategy called “neighborhood infill.” The strategy involves placing homes on vacant lots located in the same neighborhood, thus increasing the appearance and value of an entire area. To reinforce the infill strategy, a new playground was installed in the center of the neighborhood. In addition, Habitat is working with local groups to encourage grants and further investment in the neighborhood.
BNP Media employees involved in building Home No. 20 left their office jobs during the week of June 20 and were greeted by only a foundation and floor base upon arrival at the work site. More than 50 people participated throughout the week. By the end of the first day, volunteers had raised the walls, installed trusses and roof boards, and framed interior walls.
Professional contractors then installed rough plumbing, electrical and HVAC. Over the course of the next five days, volunteers installed insulation, a bathroom tub, fixtures, sinks, faucets, shingles, doors, windows, siding, trim, floor tile, appliances, cabinets and landscaping. They sawed, drilled, caulked, painted, stapled and nailed. It was noisy, dirty, sweaty work. And yet they loved every minute of it.
Thursday, June 23, provided some nice memories for volunteers. In the morning, former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Roslyn, visited House No. 20 and presented a signed bible to the Guevara family. For lunch, the BNP Media work crew was treated to a Puerto Rican-style meal home-cooked by Damaris Guevara.
On the final day of the build, the crew and family celebrated together with a ceremony that acknowledged everyone's contributions. The ceremony concluded by handing the home's keys to the Guevara family.
For more information on the Habitat For Humanity 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Project, visit www.habitat.org.