Episode 2 – Habitat for Humanity Gallup
In this episode, Christine Reidhead talks with Bill Bright from Habitat for Humanity Gallup.
Habitat Gallup is ten years old, they are affiliates of a big international group. Almost everyone knows about Habitat for Humanity. Where the community comes together to help others get a home.
They applied to start the organization ten years ago. Three people from various churches sent out a letter to about 50 churches in Gallup. Bill was designated the one to run it, he was the only one in the group that was retired, has time and not burned out. They all came together and obtained a 501c3.
Bill stated they are about to complete their sixth house. Have to take their time building a house, if they go too fast they run out of funds. They have to stop and sometimes raise funds in between houses. Started out with the initial donations, then someone talked to corporations and some grants. Habitat is a hand out not a hand up and people really like that about Habitat. People need to be active in building the home. They pay a mortgage back to habitat and use the money to finance the next house. Use the money from all the other five houses to pay for the next house.
They build efficient homes. Chris Chavez from the college was interested in going green. Their utility bill is low. They are building the most efficient house in gallup. Minimum amount of bills.
University of New Mexico Gallup comes in and builds the Habitat homes. They have three classes coming a week working at the house. The administration at University of New Mexico, Gallup support the Habitat building.
Bill stated they try not to advertise Habitat homes. If they advertise they get about 100 applicants, so they just quietly advertise. He gets about one or two calls a week.
Bill suggests one of their greatest strengths is their partnership with University of New Mexico, Gallup.
Some of our biggest challenges is the falling away of volunteers. The new generation do not volunteer and it’s a nationwide problem. It’s hard to get volunteers, so we really rely on those classes coming in to build the homes.
Bill shared the need to do more social media and PR to get the word out. Keeping up with social media has been a challenge.
The City of Gallup really helps our nonprofit. The city has been really good to us.
Habitat houses in Gallup still look like new because of the materials they use to build it. They build it low maintenance to the family.
Some of the things Bill is most proud of is meeting with the people. It is definitely a spiritual process. Great needs arise and someone comes by with the right skills, solution or just something that we needed. It is an amazing process.
Ninety nine out of a hundred people do not apply for Habitat housing. They don’t realize they will have a mortgage. The area has gotten used to everything free, free health care, free housing where everything is free. That narrows the list down.
The requirement is 300 hours of sweat equity if you want a Habitat house.
It’s not just a house it’s a step up of thinking. They have to go through certified classes and learn about interest. They have to get out of that system as much as possible.
Current house should be completed by the end of this semester, which is May. We have another house in mind. Working with the city to get another condemnation.
This is one of Bill’s retirement jobs, he has several and loves what he does. He has a background and can read people when they come in to help.
For more information visit: habitatgallup.org