Over 58,000 hard-working, low-income Austinites live in substandard or overcrowded housing. Monthly rent often exceeds a family's monthly household income. Bills are juggled from one month to the next, families go without necessities and communities deteriorate into squalor when there is no hope of a better tomorrow.
Habitat For Humanity gives families that hope of achieving their dreams of a place to call home. In 22 years of building homes in partnership with low-income families, Austin Habitat volunteers have created over 200 affordable new houses for people in need.
Each year Manchaca United Methodist Church joins with other Methodist congregations in the area to help build a home for a needy family here in Austin. It is a chance for us to “get our hands dirty” reaching out to help others in the community. It is a wonderful source of Peace to know that you are acting as the hands and feet of Christ to help someone who really needs it.
This is definitely one of the four United Methodist focus areas: “Engaging in ministry with the poor.” It is a good opportunity for a “face-to-face” ministry because the family is always on site. This is not a “handout”; it is a “hand up”. Once the families are determined to be eligible for the program (by being identified as living in conditions that you and I would deem unacceptable), they provide “sweat equity” by helping to build houses for others; they attend 24 classroom hours to learn how to handle their money and maintain their house; they have to pay back the loan for all of the materials that went into the house; and then the “hand up” is the labor provided by you and I.
There could have been another verse added to Matthew Chapter 25: “Lord, when did we see you living in poverty and help to build you a house? And the King will answer, when you did it for the least of these, you did it for me."
Are there any requirements for participation?
All volunteers are required to complete the Austin Habitat for Humanity online orientation and bring a signed waiver, which can be downloaded from this site, to the work site with them. On-site training will be provided, so no skills are necessary to participate.