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From no house to a home in four days

People grouped around a habitat for humanity house
Help build a house for a low income New Zealand family.

Salvationists get to put faith into action and build a house for a low-income New Zealand family this year, as part of their activities over the four days of Just Action and Congress 2013 (18-19 and 20-21 September)

The Habitat for Humanity house will become home for a New Zealand permanent resident family who have never owned their own home, where their current house is unsafe, damp, too small, not enough bedrooms or too expensive for the recipient family to rent.

‘The affordability and availability of housing for low and modest-income New Zealanders has progressively gotten worse, and it’s a very real difficulty for too many New Zealand families, particularly in Auckland,’ says Major Campbell Roberts, Director of The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, which is organising Just Action. Housing is an issue the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit is passionate about tackling—they have released two landmark reports on housing in New Zealand and Auckland, with a third report due in the next few months outlining proposals around housing policy and the accommodation supplement.

The house will be built on site at the Vodafone Events Centre over just four days and The Salvation Army’s international leader General Linda Bond will dedicate it at the conclusion of Congress on Sunday 22 September.

The recipient family will also take part in their house build (and other house builds) by working 500 hours of ‘sweat equity’. They’ll develop practical maintenance skills, a sense of ownership, and help other community members by working on other Habitat for Humanity builds, says Conrad LaPointe, the organisation’s Resource and Development Manager. ‘As the poverty cycle is broken, a family’s financial situation improves, and their dependence on local social services is decreased,’ he says. ‘In addition, pride of ownership leads to a renewed sense of confidence, and along with their stable, long-term housing arrangement, they become long-term contributors to the community and the local economy.’

The ultimate goal of Habitat for Humanity is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness worldwide. Habitat for Humanity also aims to ‘put shelter on the hearts and minds of people in such a powerful way that poverty housing and homelessness become socially, politically and religiously unacceptable’.

Habitat for Humanity in New Zealand is a not-for-profit Christian organisation that works in partnership with people of goodwill and families in housing need, to eliminate sub-standard housing by building, renovating and selling simple, decent houses on an affordable basis. Since 1976, it has built, repaired and renovated homes in nearly 100 countries, with a new house being completed every 15 minutes. Construction on the 300,000th house started on 13 November 2008. Habitat for Humanity have housed more than 1.5 million people around the world.

Building such a home is the perfect fit for Just Action, with its conference theme of ‘rebuilding justice together’. To borrow words from James’ letter in the Bible, people thoughtfully joining their faith with deeds is what Just Action is all about.

The time slots for Just Build are 8 am-12 pm or 1 pm-5 pm, 16-21 September. No experience is necessary, just a willingness to pitch in and work hard in your time slot (approximately four hours). Builders, plumbers and electricians who would like to donate their time are especially welcome. If you or your corps would like to contribute or fundraise towards the house, please contact Justin Latif of the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit.

Register for Just Build

Go to www.salvationarmy.org.nz/justaction for further Just Build registration details or email justin_latif@nzf.salvationarmy.org.