Skulduggery
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales

Total posts: 8428
Posted:Whilst doing a bit of research on a project I came across THIS site.

This is what it says it is all about

Written by: Habitat for Humanity's web site
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organization.

We welcome all people to join us as we build simple, decent, affordable houses in partnership with those who lack adequate shelter.

Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 175, 000 houses, providing shelter for nearly 900,000 people worldwide. Now at work in 100 countries, we are building a house every 26 minutes. By 2005, Habitat houses will be sheltering 1 million people.




I was wondering if any of you know anything about the organisation.

I'll be honest, the part about this organisation that worries me is the religious angle. I'm a bit wary of any group that states that it is a religious group when it comes to charities and alike. The reason for that is, I sponsored a child in Africa for a few years through a "Christian" group. I found out after 6 year, and a change in the law, that the group were only spending about 2p of every pound I gave them on the child I sponsored. The rest of it was spent on expenses for the charity board directors.

I'm in no way suggesting that this is going on with Habitat for Humanity. I'm just trying to find out if any of you know anything about them and their set up.

The Theory behind what they are doing, I think, is fantastic. Helping people to help themselves IMO is always better than just rail roading in to an area and telling them what you are going to do for them to help them out.

So many times in the past Charities have done that. They mean well, in most cases, but they fail to take into account that these people are just unlucky enough to be in need and not stupid. The charge in and sometimes their do-gooding does more harm than good.


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ado-p
GOLD Member since May 2004

ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland

Total posts: 3882
Posted:A friend of mine worked with these people for the summer. He cycled the whole coast of ireland to raise money and then went off to south america to build houses.



And he fell in love there. smile



Anyway. I'd be happy to put you in contact with him.


Love is the law.

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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Christians aren't always evil. You do get the occasion Christian (rare as they are) who is actually Christian.

According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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Skulduggery
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales

Total posts: 8428
Posted:I wasn't trying to imply that Christians or Christianity is evil. I was just using an example of why I find religious driven Charities a worry. It was a personal experiance and in no way meant to imply that all christians are bad.

If anyone took what a wrote to mean that then for that I am sorry. That was not my intention at all.


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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Written by: Skulduggery

I wasn't trying to imply that Christians or Christianity is evil. I was just using an example of why I find religious driven Charities a worry. It was a personal experiance and in no way meant to imply that all christians are bad.

If anyone took what a wrote to mean that then for that I am sorry. That was not my intention at all.

I was being slightly tongue in cheek. I ought to have used a wink .

hug


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX, USA

Total posts: 2014
Posted:Skully, I've volunteered with Habitat many times over the past 10 years. It is actually my favorite group to volunteer for. In all that time, I've never had the religious aspect be an issue. Each homeowner is required to work x amount of hours on their house before they are allowed to actually own it. The homeowners themselves work these hours, and they can also bring in people to acrue hours for them. I think it's a good thing that Habitat forces the future homeowners to work on their houses as well because it enables the homeowner to build pride in their residence. Members of the community can help out with the building of the structure - no previous experience needed, and there are all sorts of tasks required. You can branch out and try something new like staple gunning planks to the roof, or just sweeping out the inside of dust/debris if that is more to your liking. They receive many of their building supplies from donations (frequently by large companies) - this is actually what they are most in need of in my town at the moment - monetary donations. Oprah is sponsoring the building of a 65 home neighborhood for Hurricane Katrina evacuees and the volunteer turnout for build days have been phenemoneal.

So, I say give it a go and don't be discouraged by their religious aspect in the summary. They help enable people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it a place to raise their family with a nice roof over their heads.


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nearly_all_gone
SILVER Member since Aug 2004

nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1626
Posted:I don't support any group that discriminates on basis of religion. Even if I was a Christian, I think I would feel the same. To me the notion of a "christian" charity is just a ploy to make Christians feel they have something in common with those who are suffering, which they might not have, and so motivate them to donate through guilt.



I once wrote an extremely long and impassioned letter back to a "christian" charity who had written to me several times asking for a donation. I guess they didn't wish to deal with the questions it posed, as I never recieved a response. The gist of it was "Why, on a planet where people of all beliefs suffer from poverty, famine, disease and war should those who already have the grace of your God on their side deserve to recieve more help than those who are, by your implication, "Godless"?"


What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:*giggles* nice answer NAG... like that one smile

devil


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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nearly_all_gone
SILVER Member since Aug 2004

nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1626
Posted:biggrin Thanks. Apparently, they didn't. Ah well.

What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX, USA

Total posts: 2014
Posted:I think this statement found in Habitat's FAQ's might be useful

Q: Do you have to be a Christian to become a Habitat homeowner, house sponsor or volunteer?
A: Habitat for Humanity was founded as, and remains, a Christian ministry: However, homeowners are chosen without regard to creed, both in keeping with the requirements of the law and Habitat's belief that God's love extends to all regardless of race, creed or nationality. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths or no faith, who can actively embrace Habitat's goal of eliminating poverty housing from the world.


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faith enfire
BRONZE Member since Jan 2006

faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Total posts: 3556
Posted:Obviously some of you have never come across H4H because then you would know that they they are a fantastic group that spread their religion by their actions and not their words...

i don't know that they would look at what they do as charity work but simply helping out people who could use a break...on the few house i helped my H4H friends with (they went and did this ALL the time) we never broke out in song or scripture...all it does is try and build a community and a neighborhood and a house (reversed it) by giving people pride in where they live and knowing that they helped and knowing that these people are there on their own time...the whole thing is such a positive experience


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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nearly_all_gone
SILVER Member since Aug 2004

nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1626
Posted:Written by: spritie

I think this statement found in Habitat's FAQ's might be useful

Q: Do you have to be a Christian to become a Habitat homeowner, house sponsor or volunteer?
A: Habitat for Humanity was founded as, and remains, a Christian ministry: However, homeowners are chosen without regard to creed, both in keeping with the requirements of the law and Habitat's belief that God's love extends to all regardless of race, creed or nationality. Habitat also welcomes volunteers from all faiths or no faith, who can actively embrace Habitat's goal of eliminating poverty housing from the world.


Fair enough. I don't see the point in them distinguishing themselves as a christian group in that case, as I imagine most will assume, as I did, that they will be aimed at helping only Christians, as many groups are.


What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau

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Blayze
SILVER Member since Jul 2005

Blayze

Doesn't play well with others...
Location: CANADA

Total posts: 187
Posted:I have also spent time volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Until I read this post, I had no idea that there was any sort of religious affiliation at all. I have never had anyone bring it up while I'm volunteering.
I would definately recommend working with them! As spritie said, the homeowners are required to work a certain amount of hours to qualify for the housing, so you often get to know the people that you are helping out.
It's a wonderful organization and I've really enjoyed working with them.


I smile because I have no idea what is going on...

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Patriarch917
SILVER Member since Oct 2005

Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Total posts: 607
Posted:NAG, I think you're a bit confused. You seem to think that because a charity is "Christian" that this means they only help Christians. This is like suggesting a "secular" charity will only help secular people. Christians are under mandate to help each other, and non-believers. A "Christian" charity does not mean they only help Christians, or even that they only allow Christians to work there. Often, like H4H, it merely means the organization was started by Christians and founded on Christian principles.

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nearly_all_gone
SILVER Member since Aug 2004

nearly_all_gone

Pooh-Bah
Location: Southampton, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1626
Posted:I'm not confused, this charity helps people of all religions and I respect it very much for that. But many other charities, describing themselves as "Christian" (and I agree if you believe this to be a false claim in virtue of what comes next) and state in their literature that "Your money will go to Christians in third-world countries". I've recieved junk mail from about 4 of these (at least). I'm well aware that many Christian organisations support people of any faith and do great work, but some are extremely harsh in their discrimination to secure the donations of guilty Christians, imo.

What a wonderful miracle if only we could look through each other's eyes for an instant.
Thoreau

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Skulduggery
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales

Total posts: 8428
Posted:Ok Thank you people. I don't really want this to degenerate into a Christian Charity bashing thread.

Thank you to all the people that have told of their experiances with Habitat for Humanity. It would appear by your glowing praise that they are as good as the say they are on their web site.

Now I want to ask you another question about them. Do they aim to build a greenly as possible or is the project mainly just to house people as cheaply as possible. Do they have solar panels/ wind generators/ heating from renewable sources in the houses? All of these things are getting cheaper to install but they are not the cheapest way of building.

I have emailed the people at Habitat for Housing, but they have yet to reply.


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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13921
Posted:I can vouch for Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity, although a Christian organization in background, is actually pretty secular in the work they do. They are a widely-known organization in the U.S. and they are well-respected for the good work they do. I've had a number of friends who have volunteered with HfH and they have all been impressed.

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX, USA

Total posts: 2014
Posted:Skully, on the houses I have built, they haven't used any of the things that you mentioned. Of course, those things are not exactly common place in the states, so I can't say Habitiat doesn't use them because of their cost or because of the rarity over here.

I can say that the houses are not large by any means. They ususally consist of a kitchen, a living room area, 3 small bedrooms, and a bathroom. This is far more than people have before going into them, so it is a huge improvement. The houses do have to meet building codes in each specific area, and the ones that I have worked on have all had aluminum siding instead of wood or brick for the exterior because it wears well and is cheaper.


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Skulduggery
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales

Total posts: 8428
Posted:Thanks Spritie.

I was kind of guessing that they weren't going to be building mansions and after all who really needs a huge house. I was wondering how they felt about making the houses as draft proof as possible and if they heavily insulate the houses to prevent heat loss (in colder climes) or heat gain (in the hotter places). I'm guessing the people that end up living in these houses they build are going to be of the lower income bracket and IMO the more you can do in the building of the house to keep costs down on the running of the house the better.

From what you discribe though it sounds as if they just go for cheap building costs rather than looking at the longer term usage costs.

I'll let you know if and when they email me back what their reply on the subject is.


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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX, USA

Total posts: 2014
Posted:As far as insulation goes, they do a decent job at least down here in TX where it doesn't stay below freezing for more than 2 days at a time. The house I worked on last month had some form of insulation put up on the outside of the house (under the siding) and was slated to have insulation sprayed in before the sheet rock went up on the insides. Around here, they are on concrete slabs with everything butted up against that, the windows had some pretty serious form of tape around them before the insulation went up, so it seemed pretty draft proof. Down here, there are no fire places (the need really isn't here), so that eliminates another point for drafts to occur. The windows we put in were double pane ones which add another layer of insulation as well.

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faith enfire
BRONZE Member since Jan 2006

faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Total posts: 3556
Posted:around here they build the houses on a budget, but cheap does not necessarily mean poor quality...
they did not use solar panel or stuff like that...they did what they could so the house would conserve energy...which is helpful for the owners too...i don't know if they still are by our energy company used to give conservation kits with low flow/high pressure shower heads, special lights, there was some other stuff in them too i just don't remember


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed

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NOn


activist for HoPper liberation.
Location: ffidrac

Total posts: 1643
Posted:i don't know anything about this particular charity, but if you are worried about it, there is a website where you can check up on charities expenditure and the like, and where it goes, plus they all have to produce annual reports, which you have every right to request to see. I heard about the website when someone told me that they had found out a particular cancer charity had a large number of investments in the arms trade... I can do a search and try and find it for you, only problem is i can't remember the name of the site, and i have no idea what to type in, to find it on google... so i'm a bit useless really, but there definately is such a thing in existence biggrin

Aurinko freedom agreement reached 10th Sept 2006

if it makes no sense that's because it's NOn-sense.

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Skulduggery
GOLD Member since Aug 2004

Skulduggery

Pirate Pixie Crew Captain
Location: Wales

Total posts: 8428
Posted:I had a reply from this organisation. It didn't really mention anything about the enviromental questions I asked them, it just gave me local contacts and way I could donate or volunteer. That's ok. I suppose that the central organisation cannot oversee all of the materials used on all the builds around the world. If I want the houses to be built in a greener way I will have to volunteer for work with them and come up with affordable solutions to building problems that are of a greener nature.

From the research I've done they do appear to be a genuinely good charity. The religious angle only ever worried me because in the past, I have come across a few charities that make money by claiming they are of a religious group, but they didn't show any of the spirit of the religion they claimed to be members of when they lined their own pockets with most of the money collected.

This organisation does appear to help people to help themselves out of homelessness. I for one will be happy to support them in the future.

Thank you all for posting replies to my questions and voicing your opinions.


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