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Erick G. Colon: Giving Back to the Community with Habitat for Humanity

On a recent Saturday I joined other community volunteers in the beginning phases of renovating a multi-family home in Manchester, NH. We tore down walls to the studs, removed original moldings and tin ceiling tiles to be rehabbed and re-purposed in other future projects, and stripped lead paint. When complete, we hope to provide habitable and affordable living spaces to two families in Manchester. It was exhausting and dirty but rewarding work.

This is part of my commitment to the Greater Manchester Habitat for Humanity, where I was recently asked to join the board of directors. The Greater Manchester Habitat for Humanity is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit ecumenical Christian housing organization whose mission is to unites the community in helping low-income families with affordable housing; it also provides special project assistance—from kitchen and bathroom renovations, to repairing failing roofs--for community members who need it.

Once every few years Habitat for Humanity buys a property—usually a two- or three-family home—and rebuilds or rehabs it. The organization assumes the mortgage, and once the project is complete we assist the families with securing low- or no-interest mortgages. If a homeowner in need can’t afford to make much needed repairs to their home, Habitat for Humanity can help by using government or state grants and local business donations to complete the repairs for them at no cost.

As the child of immigrants who came to the United States to achieve the American dream and provide future generations with more and better opportunities, I know firsthand the challenges of making that dream come true. Even with a two working-parent household, my family was unable to keep the first home they purchased, and we were forced to downsize to a two-bedroom condominium for my parents and siblings. I am grateful that I now have the opportunity to give back and be part of an organization that helps people afford a home. I feel like I can make a big impact on the organization, the community at large, and the families and their future generations who we help.

If you are interested in supporting Greater Manchester Habitat for Humanity, the organization is always looking for contributions in the form of volunteer labor; financial donations; and new and re-purposable materials, appliances and furnishings. Click here to learn more about how you can help http://www.habitatmanchester.org/