Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Helping Habitat build homes aids entire community


When you donate your time, money or materials to Habitat for Humanity Tucson, your community reaps huge benefits.

It’s no secret that homeownership has a positive impact on families and neighborhoods. That impact is even more resounding when a low-income family has the opportunity to move out of substandard housing and into a Habitat home that those family members helped to build.

For every dollar Habitat for Humanity Tucson invests in a new home for a deserving family, the Tucson community reaps a 168 percent return.

A 2008 study for Habitat for Humanity Tucson by Community Services Analysis shows that the benefits of moving a struggling family into a nice home reach far beyond the walls of the house.

Like all homeowners, for example:

• Their children get better grades on reading and math tests and are less likely to drop out of school.

• The adults in the home are more likely to vote and volunteer in the community.

• The family often earns substantially more money than renters and is more satisfied with life.

And children of homeowners are more likely to become homeowners themselves when they grow up – so the better quality of life and achievement continues through the generations.

The family isn’t the only beneficiary, though. The positive changes ripple through a community when a family owns a home. Property taxes and higher payroll taxes help governments provide better services, and the pride of ownership usually leads people to take better care of their homes and their neighborhoods than they would as renters.

Investing in our community and in our own neighborhoods is more important than ever during a recession. More people need help – but fewer of us can afford to pitch in because money is so tight. I like knowing that my investment in Habitat for Humanity is so far-reaching.

In fact, Rosie on the House, along with Wells Fargo and Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, will break ground this weekend on a home in a once-depressed south Phoenix neighborhood. Contractors who are part of the Rosie on the House Referral Network will join me as volunteers to help build the house. We’ll work alongside the deserving family that will move into the house after pitching in some 400 hours of “sweat equity” to make their American dream come true.

You can help, too, and Habitat makes it easy. You can volunteer to help build a house even if you’ve never held a hammer. Sign up for a volunteer orientation by visiting HabitatTucson.org. If working on roofs isn’t your thing, show your support with a cash donation. You may donate with a credit card by visiting the Habitat for Humanity Tucson Web site.

The group also needs donations of materials – and specifically, it needs hard hats. Visit the Web site to find out how to drop one off.

For every dollar you invest, your community gets $1.68 worth of benefits in return. Every dollar helps a deserving family – one that will help build the home, pay the mortgage and live there for years to come – live a better life and pass a better life down to its children.

The folks at Habitat like to call this “a hand up, not a handout.” I like that, too.

Rosie Romero has been in the Arizona homebuilding and remodeling industry for 35 years. He has a radio program from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays on KNST-AM 790. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com or call Romero at 888-767-5348 during the show.


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