Posted on Apr 30, 2018
L-R: Hattiesburg Club President, Paula Brahan; Maggie Reynolds and Akwete Muhammad of Habitat for Humanity, and their host, Shane Germany.
President Paula Brahan presided over today’s meeting.
Mark Killingsworth gave today’s invocation and Bill MacLauchlan led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mike also reminded members to go online and sign up as a volunteer to help with future meetings. He thanked those who have already volunteered to assist. He also thanked Mark Killingsworth, Tracey Fowler and Chrissy Cullinane-Yelverton for serving as our greeters today. Mark volunteered for the Meals on Wheels program last week and encouraged others to experience this project.
Mike had the only visitor today, Carol Jones Russell.
Paula encouraged every Rotarian to register and attend this year’s District Conference. The conference theme is “Making a Difference In Our World.” The event will be held in Biloxi June 7 – 10. Rooms at the Beau Rivage should be booked as soon as possible. There will be a fun run prior to the Friday Food Fest. The run is open to anyone who wishes to participate. They will also be welcome to stay for the Food Fest.
Paula asked for volunteers to assist with the 100th Birthday Celebration. The event will be rescheduled for later this year which will give the volunteers adequate time to properly plan an appropriate celebration. She specifically requested the involvement of long-time members.
Shane Germany then introduced today’s guest speaker. Maggie Reynolds is the new Resource Development and Community Outreach Coordinator for Hattiesburg area Habitat for Humanity.
Maggie notes that the Habitat vision is to provide an adequate place for folks to live in. Their mission is to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope.
Hattiesburg Habitat was incorporated in 1990. They served their first family in 1992. In 2004 they had built 22 homes in the Hattiesburg area. Today, they have expanded into five counties and just completed their 65th home. The National Basketball Association has provided funding for 10 homes in Mississippi. Six of those were built in Hattiesburg. Habitat also partnered with a Jimmy and Roslyn Carter work project in 2008.
To qualify for Habitat assistance a person or a family must show a true need for adequate housing. They must also demonstrate the ability to repay their mortgage and must also have a willingness to partner with Habitat. All recipients must provide a number of sweat equity hours in service to Habitat.
The average rent for a 2 bedroom home in our market is $915. The average Habitat mortgage payment is $350. Because Habitat is the construction company and the mortgage holder they can hold the mortgage payments as low as possible. Mortgage payments are used to fund future homes. The average construction cost for a Habitat home is $80,000. The homes are built to code depending on which municipality they are constructed in.
Hattiesburg Habitat for Humanity has served 101 families and made 66 families homeowners. Those owners have paid more than $306,000 in property taxes. An estimated 20,000 volunteers have contributed 200,000 hours of service, valued at more than $2 million.
In addition to constructing new homes, Habitat also offers their Brush with Kindness program which provides minor necessary repairs for qualified recipients. They also have a Critical Repair and Rehab service as well as a Weatherization program.
If you are interested in helping, they need volunteers, contributions, and people who are willing to fulfill several leadership roles.
Call Maggie at (601) 582-4663 if you want to get involved.
With no other business to discuss, Paula adjourned the meeting with our motto, “Service Above Self.”
Minutes provided by:
Lamar Evans, Executive Secretary
Rotary Club of Hattiesburg