What is Habitat for Humanity?
Habitat for Humanity is a nondenominational Christian ministry which is devoted to the vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Habitat for Humanity does not give away houses! Instead HFH forms a partnership with the potential homeowners and with folks from the community to build, renovate, or remodel a home for that family. Habitat is a hand up not a handout! Because many of the materials and most of the labor are donated, the mortgage for the home can be kept within the financial reach of the family. Payments made by a HFH family go back to the organization to provide some of the funds for future homes. During the build, the HFH family members invest some of their own labor into assisting with the construction. The “sweat equity” invested by the family members also contributes to their pride in ownership of the home. HFH homes are not slum dwellings. They are nice homes. One of the goals of HFH is to help to replace slum dwellings with nice homes. Even though Habitat is a Christian Ministry, everyone who desires to be a part of this work is welcome, regardless of religious preference or background. Habitat has a policy of building with people in need regardless of race, religion, or nationality. Volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds are welcome to participate in the work of Habitat for Humanity.
The Wheeling Park High School Habitat For Humanity Club
Although former President Jimmy Carter is most often associated with Habitat for Humanity, he did not create the organization. Habitat was founded in 1976 near Americus, Georgia, by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan in partnership with Millard and Linda Fuller. Together, they developed the concept of “partnership housing.” The concept centered on the idea that those in need of adequate shelter would work side by side with volunteers to build decent, affordable houses. The houses are built at no profit. New homeowners have no interest loans. Their mortgage payments are combined with money provided by donors or earned from fundraisers to create a fund at the local Habitat affiliate which is used to build more homes.
President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn Working on a Habitat Build
Thanks to the personal involvement of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn and the awareness they have raised, Habitat now works in 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in nearly 70 countries and has helped 6.8 million people to obtain safe, decent and affordable housing.
Habitat’s mission is to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.
About The Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity
In the late 1980s local businessman Tom Bloch, president of Bloch Brothers Tobacco Co., was in Charlotte, N.C., and witnessed what the Charlotte Habitat for Humanity affiliate was doing building homes for people who could not afford them. When he returned to Wheeling he started seeking people who would be a part of starting Habitat in Wheeling. David Whalen, an episcopal pastor with the Upper Ohio Valley Vestry, had seen Habitat in other areas where he had served. The two men set out to put together an organization in Wheeling. In 1989, Habitat for Humanity – Wheeling Area, Inc. was incorporated with the help of local attorney Fred Stamp (now federal judge.) The first board of directors consisted of eight people with Mr. Bloch as president.
The first homes were renovation projects. House number one was located on Vine Street. The family of Lavonne Bradley, a grandmother with two daughters and a granddaughter, was the first Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity (WAHFH) partner family. It took WAHFH 18 months to renovate the house, between running out of money and not having enough volunteers. One of the things WAHFH learned on that first house was that sometimes it’s best to say “thanks, but no thanks.” The only things that weren’t replaced in that first house were the studs and some of the joists (some rotted joists were replaced.) The dedication was very special. Lavonne was crying and many of the HFH folks were also crying. Her only remarks were, “Thank God and you guys for my house. Without God this wouldn’t have happened.”
The next projects were renovations in North Wheeling. One of them was on Main Street where the New Hope Six development now stands.
The WAHFH’s first new build was on Grandview Street. The American Baptist Men of West Virginia were having their state convention in Wheeling, and they wanted to leave something significant behind to signify that they had been here. They donated funds for materials and worked on the project during the week that they were in town. Margo Toliver’s family was the partner family. She was living with her mom and dad and her grade school age son. Several weeks after they moved into their Habitat home, Margo shared with Bob Kennen that she had received a phone call from her son’s teacher saying, “Mrs. Toliver, I need to set up a meeting to talk to you about your son.” When Margo got there she was worried. What kind of trouble was he in this time? When Margo asked the teacher what was the problem, she replied, “Oh no, I just want to know what was going on with your son? He’s a different student these last months. Better behaved, paying attention, getting better grades. What happened?” Apparently, home ownership had made a major impact in her son’s life!
Working on the Blitz Build in 1995
In 1995, board member Milton Gutman persuaded WAHFH to do a Blitz Build similar to President Jimmy Carter’s Habitat Project in Georgia. The foundation was built ahead of time. On the Friday morning after Thanksgiving WAHFH started framing the floor and 54 hours later, on Sunday at 3 p.m., the house was blessed and turned over to the family which consisted of a single dad with two children.
During the last 20 years WAHFH has built homes in North Wheeling, Triadelphia and South Wheeling. WAHFH even did an all-woman build in Triadelphia and has built townhouses in East Wheeling. The Poole family is the Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity’s 19th or 20th partner family. God has been good.
(Many thanks to Bob Kennen for providing this history of the Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity!)
The Poole Family
The Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity is currently building a home for the Poole family on South Broadway Street on Wheeling Island just north of Wheeling Island Stadium. That project is in the early stages. Some late spring storms washed dirt and rocks back into the excavations for the footers, but volunteers with spud bars and shovels got them cleared and the footers were poured. A tree on the property line also had to be removed before construction could begin. LaRoche Tree Service came to the rescue and the tree was brought down. Volunteers removed the brush making room for crews to erect the basement walls.
The Poole House on 12-1-2016
Volunteers Are the Key
Every Habitat for Humanity project depends on the generosity of donors and volunteers. Their gifts of time and materials make it possible for Habitat for Humanity to build a home at a cost that is far below the normal commercial construction cost. That cost saving enables low income working families to afford the mortgage payments for a home of their own.
That long list of donors and volunteers includes church groups, contractors, suppliers of building materials, heavy equipment operators, business owners, school groups and individuals just like you!
How You Can Help
Keep Habitat in your prayers.
Above all, Habitat for Humanity is a nondenominational Christian Ministry. Everyone involved with this ministry is working to make the world a better place by helping one low-income working class family at a time. Lots of things need to happen to make that family’s dream of home ownership a reality. Your continued prayers are an important part of that effort.
Volunteers at Work on a Habitat Home in Wheeling
Donate your time
Habitat always needs volunteers who can do anything from digging a ditch by hand to plumbing or electrical wiring. Both skilled and unskilled workers are needed to build a home. Even if you have no ability to do construction work, you can still assist on the build site by helping out with lunches or with other support needs. Working on a Habitat build provides a great opportunity for you to learn some home construction skills or to refresh your existing construction skills!
Donate building materials or things for our fundraisers
Habitat homes depend on the generosity of the donors who support the organization and assist with the building projects. The Wheeling Area Habit for Humanity is blessed to have a long list of generous donors who support the building projects.
Fairfield Inn and Suites Partnership Dedication
One recent donor was the Fairfield Inn and Suites at the Highlands which has partnered with the Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity. To kick off that commitment, Habitat Board members were invited to be guests at the grand opening celebration for the Fairfield Inn and Suites Marriott at The Highlands. During that grand opening celebration, Fairfield Inn conducted a raffle for gift baskets that were donated for the event. All of the proceeds from the raffle were donated to the Wheeling Area Habit for Humanity. In addition, the hotel made a matching donation to Habitat. In the picture above are: Brenda Steiniger, Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity Executive Director, Matthew Young, General Manager of the Triadelphia Highlands Fairfield Inn and Suites Marriott , Amber Fahey, Wheeling area Habitat Board member and Treasurer, Lisa Werner, Wheeling area Habitat Advisory Board Member, Ron A. Witt, Jr, Wheeling area Habitat Board Member
Patronize Habitat fundraisers
Keep an eye out for our fundraisers. They are fun and they help to raise the cash needed to complete the build.
The Texas Roadhouse at The Highlands has partnered with the Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity to raise funds for Habitat’s current house construction project. They will be holding several specials during the month of December to raise funds for the Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity. Above, meeting about the partnership, are, from left to right, Amber Fahey, Habitat board treasurer; Habitat Executive Director Brenda Steiniger; Andy the Armadillo; Netsi Pruitt, Texas Roadhouse managing partner; and Brandon Wills, the restaurant’s marketing manager. Throughout the month of December, patrons of the restaurant can round up their checks to the next dollar, or donate any amount in support of the build. A donation of $5 or more will get diners a free appetizer on their next visit.
Texas Roadhouse is hosting a Ten Percent to Dine to Donate on Dec. 15 starting at 4 p.m. The first 20 people to donate $100 to the cause will receive a free turkey for the holidays and the first 10 people to donate $200 will receive free dinner for two each month for a year. You can assist with this fundraiser by simply dining at the Texas Roadhouse at the Highlands on December 15. Download and print the poster in the picture above or simply take a photo or make a screen capture of it on your phone. Then, just show it to your server and Texas Roadhouse will donate ten percent of your bill to the Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity to support the current build on Wheeling Island.
Join our e-mail list
If you would like to receive e-mail updates about the activities of the Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity, you may join our e-mail list by simply sending your name and e-mail address to Earl Nicodemus at this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like to also be added to the WAHFH list of volunteers, simply include that in your e-mail and your information will be passed on to our volunteer coordinator. Also be sure to mention any special skills that you can bring to the build.
Visit the Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity Web Site and Facebook Page
You can learn more about the Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity by visiting the web site at Http://habitatwheeling.org and by checking out the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/habitatforhumanitywheeling/. Be sure to “Like” our Facebook page. You can also assist by sharing the Facebook entries about our fundraisers and other activities on your own timeline so that your friends will also know about them. Information about how to become a partner family is available on the WAHFH web site.
To contact the Wheeling Area Habitat for Humanity, use the form on the WAHFH web page: http://habitatwheeling.org/contact/, or call Executive Director Brenda Steiniger at (304) 233-0887