It’s been about a year in the making, and the first day is done. Right about this moment, another team of Habitat for Humanity Chicagoland affiliates are prepping for the second day of the Raise Your Hand Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity affiliate blitz build. What started yesterday, will conclude on Sunday and will produce a total of 13 homes built for 8 Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity Affiliates.
The Raise Your Hand Chicagoland initiative is one that has taken lots of work and lots of planning on the parts of all affiliates involved. It’s also been beneficial in making sure that building efforts in each of the Habitat focus neighborhoods stays on track. Yesterday, walls for two homes in the West Pullman neighborhood were built, and this included teams from BMO Harris Bank, Lowes, and the Chicago Bears Rookies swinging hammers all day long.
Mr. Houseful and I were able to share our story with several hundred people, and we were able to break preconceived notions of what a Habitat for Humanity family looks like AND receives. So many people feel that if you are on the lower end of the income spectrum that you have to look a certain way, or even act a certain way. Not so. While we have learned how to budget properly for ourselves, having a six person family in the city of Chicago can present quite a few challenges.
At one point in time during the day, my husband and I sat back and listened to the whirring of the circular saws, and the singing of hammers hitting nails into lumber. It was glorious. It did my heart good to know that two of our neighbors will be receiving the walls to their homes soon! The schedule that the Raise Your Hand Chicagoland Blitz Build is on is a bit hard – walls for 12 homes in 4 days – but it’s there to show all of the walking traffic on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, just what goes into building a Habitat home.
While being interviewed for Raise Your Hand Chicagoland, we were asked what we were most looking forward to when we move in. I’m a winter lover, so I one of my answers was being able to build a snowman in our back yard that the children can be proud of, and won’t suffer the plight of passersby knocking over. Also, being able to pick up snow without worrying about those individuals who don’t pick up after their dogs. It’s disgusting. My garden will finally come full circle, and being able to send the kids out to play freely, not worrying about the twizzlers running onto a busy boulevard like we live in now. Growing up, we lived on a street full of children, and while where we live now is PERFECT for commuting, and getting downtown and in a PRIME location for people with no children or older children, it’s just not cutting it for us anymore. I love our place. I do, but there are some things that just don’t work for us anymore.
I’m hopeful that by sharing our journey that you are learning more and more about the Habitat for Humanity program, and that perceptions that you had are either supported (that it’s an awesome program that helps families find affordable homes) or shattered (that it’s a program handing out free homes to people who have suffered huge plights.) Each day that I work alongside our affiliate employees, I’m wowed by something else that I learn.
We came back from the first day of the blitz build exhausted but happy. Muscles were singing, and backs were aching, but the smiles on our faces were as bright as they were the day we found out about becoming a partner family. There’s something to be said about building your community from the foundation up. In a way, we’re vetting our neighbors before they even have the chance to move into the neighborhood. We’re working alongside them, and building relationships that will last for years to come. I want to celebrate graduations, proms, new jobs, marriages and babies being born. I want that community.
Building a home is hard work. Paying a mortgage and being responsible for home can be hard work. Being able to do it freely is priceless.