Habitat for Humanity capably demonstrates two things we should never forget about charity:
It can be accomplished without government. Habitat for Humanity is a private organization that raises its own money and relies on volunteer labor, donated materials and the sweat equity of the recipients of its homes. It is a Christian ministry but represents the best of ecumenism. Its volunteers come from every religious faith. Founder Millard Fuller (hence the subdivision's name) called it the “theology of the hammer.” Whatever differences among faiths, he said, “we can all agree on the idea of building homes with God's people in need.”
It can be done the right way, to offer a hand up in a way that encourages self-help instead of a handout that creates dependency. Families who qualify for Habitat for Humanity homes are economically stressed but employed. In addition to paying mortgages, they are required to contribute 300 hours of service, half of it on construction work for their own or other houses. They also have to take classes on such things as money management and home maintenance. Because they are invested in their homes, they are less likely to fail.
Fuller's Landing represents a challenging effort for the ministry and a blessing for Fort Wayne. Habitat for Humanity homes have improved neighborhoods (and the charity often pays for sprucing up nearby homes as well). The subdivision should add vigor to a whole area of town.
And here is something to think about: Children who grow up in stable homes instead of having to move from one rental to another are 25 percent more likely to graduate from high school and twice as likely to get post-secondary education – boom, cycle broken!
God's work indeed.