As the state support organization for Habitat affiliates in Wisconsin, we spend a lot of time answering questions - from Habitat staff, volunteers, and the public. Sometimes people call looking to make a donation or to volunteer. Often they are looking for their nearest ReStore. Too often, though, we field calls from homeowners looking for help. They’re elderly men and women needing help with roof repairs, or they’re someone’s son or daughter looking to make their aging parent’s home wheelchair or walker-accessible.
The best-case scenario is that when someone calls needing help, they are lucky enough to live within the service area of one of our affiliates. We give the caller the phone number and any information we have, and we wish them the best.
Often, however, these calls come from people without a local Habitat. And, too often, they’ve already reached out to their locally available resources, only to find out the funds are depleted, or they don’t qualify. Those calls are tough. We work for Habitat because we want to help people, because we understand the importance of having a home - and when we have no answer for someone in need, it hurts.
So, when the Corporation for National Service invited us to renew our AmeriCorps VISTA grant with a more focused goal, we decided to focus on home repairs. For seniors. For veterans. For communities that need more help. We’re encouraging affiliates to create or expand their home repair programs, and we’re working on ways to get these services to homeowners that need them most.
HFH Wisconsin will have nine full-year VISTAs and six summer VISTAs to get these projects underway. Habitat International has an array of home repair programs, including Critical Home Repair and Repair Corps, and our VISTAs will work with affiliates to identify which program(s) will best meet their communities’ needs.
Full-year positions are posted online, and you can apply on the AmeriCorps website. The summer VISTA positions will be posted soon.