by Dustin Lape, Americorps Vista Volunteer
Community Family Fun Day in the Park was a great success! Hosted by the First Baptist Church and sponsored by the Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center and the Warrenton Police Department, this free event was held on August 19 at Eva Walker Park in Warrenton.
Habitat for Humanity set up a booth with a theme of “Every Hand Makes a Difference“. To engage community members, we asked children and adults alike to trace their hand on construction paper and then describe how they make a difference in their community.
Everyone who came was reminded that their neighborhood is a better place because of them. Hopefully, we’ll inspire everyone to continue to ask, “How can I make my community better, today?”
There was more fun for all ages, too — free food, games, an ice cream truck, and not one but TWO bouncy houses for the kids…and even a carnival ride for anyone young enough to go a little spin-crazy!
Attendees also engaged in a bit of dancing, including the Wobble! Although we couldn’t get everyone to join in, plenty of residents had a blast wobbling together. Even our VISTA Member Dustin got groovy with it.
Some neighbors having fun doing the Wobble.
Paul Linz (Executive Director) engages with a community member
Our Family Services Manager, Mary Correia, tries her hand at our activity.
The affordable housing crisis is hitting rural, urban and suburban communities alike, as well as people of all ethnicities, cultures and faiths. More than 7 million extremely low-income families do not have an affordable place to call home and half a million people are living on the street, in shelters, or in their cars on any given night, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The Hill reports that “the problem is systemic and is reaching almost epidemic proportions. Rents are soaring in every state and community at the same time when most Americans haven’t seen enough of an increase in their paychecks.”
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development:
- Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.
- An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing.
- A family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.
Habitat for Humanity is one organization that works to create affordable housing for families around the world. We build. We repair and rehabilitate. We advocate for vital resources to build homes and improve communities. We partner with families to improve — and stabilize — their housing conditions.
Since 1976, Habitat has helped 9.8 million people find strength, stability and independence through safe, decent and affordable shelter.
Additional Solutions – Granny Pods!
Increasingly, more organizations, government entities and individuals are searching for affordable housing solutions for the millions of families in need. That’s why we love this story about the influx of Granny Pods in Portland, Oregon:
by Dustin Lape
Fauquier Habitat hosted an Ice Cream Social and community meeting on August 1 in Eva Walker Park as part of its Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative and to encourage resident participation in National Night Out.
Paul Linz (Executive Director) served up the scoops, along with Tom Bartkiewicz (Board Member), Mary Correia (Family Services Manager) and Dustin Lape (VISTA Member/Habitat volunteer). We had all kind–vanilla, chocolate, cherry, and caramel–as well as Italian ice for a non-dairy option. And we didn’t forget the sprinkles, fudge and whipped cream!
We were blessed enough to serve almost 40 residents. And, of course, some came back for seconds! The biggest surprise of all: two puppies and a dog joined us for the fun!
The meeting was also a success as we discussed issues of importance to the community, including neighborhood safety and possible upcoming events.
Thanks to all who came out! And double thanks to those who helped support this fun event!