WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - The Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity has been working in the Walnut neighborhood in Waterloo since 2016. The nonprofit constructs and rehabilitates homes for families who have barriers to purchasing one on their own.
“Just the idea that people can come together and volunteer and do something as a team to build a house is just not something you think about doing every day,” Executive Director Ali Parrish said.
Constructing homes from the ground up and repairing already standing homes is what volunteers and professionals have been working on for the past four years.
The families who will eventually live in these homes will have the mortgage paid off from the Habitat for Humanity, and will in turn volunteer hours with the organization, as well as pay them back over the years. The homeowners work alongside the volunteers in the construction process of their home.
“It’s really nice to see homeowners not just see it come to completion but also helping with the process as well,” volunteer Trevor Smith said.
The pandemic did however bring some problems to this project and the Habitat for Humanity's efforts. The need for homes is still present, but the volunteer numbers are lower than needed.
“We’ve also seen a lot of the volunteers unfortunately not be able to come out during the pandemic, which causes a problem if there’s more need and more projects to do, or the existing projects to do, and less volunteers. It’s definitely been a struggle in that sense," Parrish said.
A way in which the public can volunteer and help the nonprofit is by giving some time in helping build these house for families. Volunteers can sign up on the Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity website, or call the office at 319-235-9946.
The Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity ReStore location in Waterloo is another way in which volunteers can help out. The store sells home goods at a marked down price, and the funds end up going back toward building and repairing homes. Volunteers for this opportunity can also sign up on their website, or call the ReStore at 319-883-3331.