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Lebanon Valley College students serve with Habitat for Humanity

LVC students serve at a variety of organizations throughout Lebanon County and the surrounding area. Several of these nonprofits host weekly or monthly service opportunities. Here's a chance to learn more about Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity.

 

About Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity

Many people may think Habitat for Humanity is only about building homes, but the organization’s scope is much broader. Habitat helps people become first-time homeowners and seeks long-term, sustainable solutions to the issues of housing access, poverty, and community degradation. These issues are rooted in historic housing policies, racial and ethnic inequality, and unfair lending practices. The rising cost of homes, coupled with low-income rates, aggravate these problems and make homeownership out of reach for many people. 

To address these issues, Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates homes and sells them to low-income individuals and families for zero profit. The organization also acts as a mortgage lender with a zero percent interest rate and an income-based repayment plan. After finishing the application process and being selected, individuals and families must also complete “sweat equity” hours. They attend financial seminars, homeownership workshops, and aid in the construction of their new home.  

Lebanon’s housing access needs are exceptionally high, as there is urban and rural poverty, and the housing stock is much older. The cost of updating these older houses is a challenge faced by the Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity, as is the time it takes to build or renovate. Despite these challenges, the local Habitat staff, along with more than 1,000 volunteers, complete three to six houses a year. Jacquie Morges, the volunteer manager of the Lancaster Lebanon Habitat, says completing a house and giving the family the keys is one of the greatest joys of her job. She loves to see the immediate impact homeownership can have on the families and community. 

There is much that needs to be done, with 13 families still waiting for homes. LVC students can volunteer every third Saturday of the month* at the Cumberland Street project in Lebanon by registering on Redbook. Additionally, Morges encourages students to advocate and spread awareness about housing access and learn about the problem and ways to address it. Through volunteerism with the Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity, everyone can change communities, spread hope, and empower others, one home at a time. 

 

*Service times may be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.