Several RCRV members have been involved in helping build houses for Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity. Their most recent habitat project was to help build the Pope Francis house in Cedar Rapids.
Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity (CVHFH) is a nonprofit, Christian housing ministry dedicated to building and rehabilitating simple, decent, and affordable homes in partnership with families in need in Linn and Benton counties. Partner families make a down payment, invest hundreds of hours of sweat equity into the construction of their homes and other Habitat homes, and make monthly mortgage payments on a zero-interest loan. Since 1988, Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity has built or rehabilitated more than 130 homes.
All who believe that everyone needs a decent, affordable place to live are welcome to help with the work, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, political views or any of the other distinctions that too often divide people. In short, Habitat welcomes volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds and also serves people in need of decent housing regardless of race or religion. As a matter of policy, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliated organizations do not proselytize. This means that Habitat will not offer assistance on the expressed or implied condition that people must either adhere to or convert to a particular faith, or listen and respond to messaging designed to induce conversion to a particular faith.
Individual volunteers have helped make many of Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity's goals and achievements possible through their involvement with committees, assistance in the CVHFH office, helping at the resale store (ReStore), and efforts on construction sites.
In 2015, the Cedar Valley chapter of Habitat for Humanity is partnered with donors and local businesses to construct 7 new, affordable homes for families in our community who otherwise would not qualify for a home loan. One of these new homes, the Pope Francis House has an interesting source of financial support.
In late 2014, CVHFH received a call from an anonymous donor who wished to make a $60,000 gift to support the construction of the new home in combination with local partners. The donor challenged local Catholics, and others, to then contribute an additional $40,000 to fully cover the balance of a local home sponsorship. Key partners in this special home building project include Mt Mercy University, Xavier High School, Wells Fargo, City of Cedar Rapids (donor of the flood-impacted lot for the home site), Iowa Economic Development Authority, and area Catholic parishes. Financial support and the pledge of volunteer labor to construct the new home is already in place, and construction began in mid-June.
The CVHFH Pope Francis house in Cedar Rapids is the second such home in Iowa and among many such homes being built around the country, with all projects embracing the same tenets:
• To honor Pope Francis for his commitment to social justice & reinvigorating the Catholic Church
• To provide a unifying, celebratory opportunity for both Catholic and non-Catholic volunteers to work towards a common goal; and,
• To further Habitat's mission of building and preserving homes.
RCRV volunteers who recently helped in the construction of the Pope Francis house include: Bob Clark, Tom Brennon, Jurgen Bruckner, Dwight Olson, and Jim Vacherlon. Many other RCRV members also support other new home Habitat builds throughout the construction season.
In addtion to supporting new home construction, other volunteer opportunities exist, such as working in the resale store, or participating in their Brush with Kindness program, wherein volunteers assist the needy with exterior painting, landscaping, and minor exterior repairs of existing homes.
If you are interested in a volunteer position in Habitat, please visit their website at www.cvhabitat.org for general information, and their volunteer hub website cvhabitat.volunteerhub.com to see specific, upcoming volunteer opportunities.