In 2002, under the expert leadership of Raleigh, North Carolina custom homebuilder Tom Gipson, the first annual Home Builders Blitz took place. Tom recruited 11 other builders from the area to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Wake County to construct 12 homes in one week with hard-working families.
After a week’s worth of sweat, toil, and a remarkable coming-together of contractors, vendors, builders, and community members, they completed all 12 beautiful homes. So touched and fulfilled by the experience, Tom led another Builders Blitz in Wake County the following year. He then volunteered with Habitat for Humanity International to initiate Builders Blitz weeks around the country and the rest is history. Now, 14 years later, Tom is still in touch with the family that moved into that first house.
Today, more than 1,500 homes have been built or repaired around the country through the national Home Builders Blitz. We’re proud to say that CBUSA Members and vendor partners who participated in the 2016 annual Home Builders Blitz are too numerous to name. We caught up with three members, one of who, Chip Bishop of Robuck Homes, participated in the very first build. Robuck Homes has participated in the Blitz almost every year since.
“The Home Builders Blitz is a good way to give back,” Chip explained. “It gives these families the ability to turn their lives around. People learn responsibility, and how to get a leg up towards getting back on their feet. Giving them room to study, room to make plans and achieve them is really rewarding.”
CBUSA Member Jon Showalter of Homes by Dickerson affirms this point. “On many occasions, it’s the first time kids in these families have their own bedroom or bathroom,” he says. “It helps create healthy families and healthier communities.”
Rod D. Mangrum of Sundance Signature Homes has now built six homes for the Builder Blitz. “I am still amazed that we can build an entire house in less than a week,” he says of the experience. “Equally amazing is the incredible generosity, unlimited commitment and endless participation from our subcontractors and Habitat personnel. It’s a total team effort!”
Typically, each home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and measures around 1,200 square feet. The new owner pays a $1,700 down payment and assumes an affordable mortgage payment that is no more than 30 percent of their income. In addition, “sweat equity” (manual labor assisting the construction of their or their neighbor’s houses), and a series of new homeownership classes is required, ensuring each family is equipped to maintain and manage their houses. This has ensured a staggeringly high retention rate over the years and consequently, happier, healthier families and communities.
Even more inspiring is the overwhelming support and participation by trade contracts. “In all of the years, I’ve never gotten a ‘no’ when I’ve asked for support for the Blitz,” Chip reflects. “In fact,” he jokes, “if one year I ask for support from a different trade contract, the guy from the previous year will feel put out that I didn’t ask for his support.”
Danita Morgan, Vice President of Development and Communication at Habitat for Humanity of Wake County shares a similar sentiment to the builders that participate in the Home Builder Blitz. “When the families see builders take a week out of their year to do this, they get what it means; they understand it. It’s very touching.”
The 2016 annual Home Builders Blitz recently went off without a hitch, with a record number of CBUSA members in attendance. “Habitat for Humanity, especially in Wake County, is ramping up in a big way,” Danita told us. Next year is sure to surpass 2016’s massive success.
Are you or your business interested in getting involved? Donate to Wake County Habitat for Humanity or your local organization and get in touch with us to learn how you can contact participating CBUSA Members in your area.
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