Not Ready to Buy? Then Volunteer to Build a Home

So maybe you've already bought a home. Or maybe you're not ready to buy one. Maybe you're a little uncertain about the economy, perhaps you're unemployed? Even if the federal tax credit deadline isn't tempting you to buy a house, maybe you can help build one!

When slow sales meant employees had to take some unpaid time off, manager Jim Boschuetz at Rockwell Automation in Roseville MN thought about what to do with the 4 1/2-day furlough. They decided to do something constructive. Literally. They helped work on an eight-unit townhouse complex being built in Ramsey by Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.

The building, in the 14800 block of Olivine Street, is the last of three eight-unit townhouses built in Ramsey by Habitat. The $3.2 million development, which began in 2007, is just north of Ramsey's Town Center. To buy the land, Habitat received grants of $540,000 from Anoka County and $209,214 from the federal Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program. The city chipped in $6,000.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has reported a dramatic increase in attendance at its volunteer orientations, from 550 people last year to 900 this year. In fact, many organizations have seen an increase in volunteerism since the economy has taken a downturn.

The nonprofit agency sells houses with no-interest mortgages to Twin Cities families with incomes less than half of the metro median, but large enough that their monthly house payment is up to 30 percent of their income. Habitat-paid supervisors and volunteers have built 770 homes in the seven-county area since 1986.

I highly recommend reading the rest of this Star Tribune article about the home, the workers, and the community spirit that building these houses has encouraged.

If you'd like to volunteer, contact Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.

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