Fixing housing insecurity one house at a time
More than a half-million people in the U.S. do not have a home in which to live. Housing issues also affect people with disabilities whose homes are not accessible and people whose homes have been damaged and who do not have the funds to fix them.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can help people find, build, or rehab homes. Whether you are handy with power tools or willing to devote time to support organizations dealing with housing insecurity, this may be a fulfilling way for you to help people who need a place to live.
Home building help
When we think of housing help for people in need, the default is often Habitat for Humanity. The organization has helped nearly 40 million people build or improve their homes since it was founded in 1976. There are chapters throughout the country that rely on the help of volunteers. Founded by the family that launched Habitat for Humanity, the Fuller Center for Housing is a faith-based organization that also relies on volunteers to build homes for people in need. The organization 1 Mission operates a bit differently by offering people opportunities to “earn” homes by volunteering and serving their communities.
Housing for veterans
According to the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans, more than 40,000 U.S. veterans are without shelter on any given night. Fortunately, there are a number of organizations working to end housing insecurity among veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs is working with states and communities to ensure all veterans have homes. Homes for Heroes’ goal is to gift one mortgage-free home every 11 days. Purple Heart Homes provides housing solutions for aging veterans and veterans with disabilities. And Wounded Warrior Homes is a nonprofit organization that provides transitional housing to help alleviate homelessness for post-9/11 veterans experiencing PTSD or traumatic brain injuries.
Sometimes, people have homes, but they have fallen into disrepair. These homes may become uninhabitable because of damage or because the owner just did not have the resources to maintain them. A number of organizations collaborate with volunteers to help restore and rehabilitate them. Rebuilding Together works through local chapters to rebuild and repair homes of seniors, families, victims of disasters, and people with disabilities. Habitat for Humanity also offers home restoration services. Various community groups also help with home repair. Contact your state office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for more information.
For more volunteer opportunities to alleviate housing insecurity or help in other ways, visit Create the Good®.
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Help Students Succeed
Students who experience homelessness face more challenges than their peers, and there are more students in this category than ever before. To help them, contact your state's homeless education coordinator or reach out to youth shelters and housing programs, which provide places for college students to stay.
Organize a school supply drive in your community or check out the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth to learn more and get involved.