How to honor habitat humanitarian?
February 3, 2009 3:32 PM   Subscribe

The founder of an international nonprofit group has passed away.
posted by JoKeR (19 comments total)
So hoping it was Ingrid Newkirk.
posted by gman at 3:34 PM on February 3, 2009

posted by Foosnark at 3:56 PM on February 3, 2009

damn. I was thinking it was going to be Givewell.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:26 PM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Enough with the coy FPPs - give a name, please.
posted by gottabefunky at 4:51 PM on February 3, 2009 [4 favorites]

Here's how you honor him: go out and volunteer at something yourself. Doesn't have to be with Habitat, just take the five minutes to find someone in your neighborhood who could use you for an hour to make someone elses' life more manageable.

Got a senior center nearby? Perfect.
How about an SPCA? Awesome.
Any local charities doing anything to keep people warm and dry this winter? Find 'em.

That's how you honor other humanitarians. Become one yourself.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:03 PM on February 3, 2009 [9 favorites]

posted by eclectist at 5:50 PM on February 3, 2009

I just learned of this tonight when I visited Koinonia Partners. From their site:

Millard wanted to be buried in the same manner as was his spiritual mentor and friend Clarence Jordan. So, like our founder Clarence, Millard will be buried on Picnic Hill in a shipping crate with no significant marker for his grave.

Simple people can do such great things.
posted by justlisa at 5:54 PM on February 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

So hoping it was James Carter.
posted by dawson at 6:32 PM on February 3, 2009

posted by klanawa at 7:05 PM on February 3, 2009

I also was hoping it was Ingrid Newkirk. Since gman's post tells me it wasn't, I no longer give a shit and didn't bother clicking to figure out who the fuck you think I should care about having died.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:50 PM on February 3, 2009

"I can't add much to this except that we once stopped by the old Habitat headquarters in Americus while on the way to Florida, and expected little more than some brochures and maybe a photo exhibit. Millard Fuller himself appeared, and ended up giving us a personal tour of their local projects. There was this one shrunken little black dowager who had moved into her Habitat house from a drafty shack. (I had a feeling she was used to being an example -- Fuller practically walked us into her house unannounced.) It was educational but also a bit weird." -- me
posted by dhartung at 9:24 PM on February 3, 2009

Thanks for posting; I had no idea who he was until I saw the URLs, even though Habitat's been a favorite charity of mine for several years now, and am sorry to hear of Fuller's passing. Lipstick Thespian's advice is right on.
posted by estherbester at 11:11 PM on February 3, 2009

Isn't our problem now not a lack of affordable housing, but a surfeit? Poor neighborhoods are burdened with hundreds and hundreds of empty houses, many of which can be purchased for a pittance. Habitat built a new house from scratch in my town in a poor neighborhood on a block full of empty houses. For the cost of that habitat house, they could have renovated six standing houses. My point? Habitat seems like a good idea until you start to think about it.
posted by Faze at 4:48 AM on February 4, 2009

Faze, how familiar are you with what you're going off about?
HfH does sometimes rehab old buildings. The structure I live in was once a crack house-esqe apartment squished in with a bunch of others. HfH bought the slum lords out then spent five years rehabbing this 30-building complex which is now a condominium community.

I agree that using structures already standing vacant makes tremendous sense and I wish they'd do it more often, but it isn't always just that easy. The cost of rehabbing buildings which have fallen deeply into disrepair can sometimes be significantly higher than the cost of starting a home fresh from the ground up. And because the land is one of their largest expenses they usually rely on property given or bequeathed to be used for the new home construction. It is possible that the buildings in your neighborhood are owned by someone who would't accept what HfH had offered for the property, or that it was just too expensive to purchase outright. If you're interested in getting the local story you could contact your local chapter for the details on why they didn't rebuild those unoccupied units. My guess is that you'll hear it was cost prohibitive.

If Mr. Fuller hadn't decided to try something new and different I would not have been able to buy a HfH home twelve years ago. Warts and all, Habitat IS a good idea.

posted by mcbeth at 7:08 AM on February 4, 2009

From what I understand he was self-made and very wealthy by the age of 30.His humanitarian work started in a Georgia farming community in the 1960s after he and is wife divested themselves of their millions, created the "Fund for Humanity",and developed the concept of "partnership housing," where those in need of adequate shelter would work side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses.

From H for H site, a letter he wrote to the community:

What the poor need is not charity but capital, not caseworkers but co-workers. And what the rich need is a wise, honorable and just way of divesting themselves of their overabundance. The Fund for Humanity will meet both of these needs. Money for the fund will come from shared gifts by those who feel they have more than they need and from non-interest bearing loans from those who cannot afford to make a gift but who do want to provide working capital for the disinherited . . . The fund will give away no money. It is not a handout.

Habitat for Humanity is not without it's flaws- but he started with an honorable idea that holds up pretty well as far as I'm concerned.

posted by hellboundforcheddar at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2009

last sentence should not be italicized
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 8:55 AM on February 4, 2009

posted by jonp72 at 8:56 AM on February 4, 2009

posted by Man with Lantern at 9:50 AM on February 4, 2009

Also - another way to help out is now B of A is giving out new ATM cards that help support charities if you're signed up for their Keep the Change account. Basically every time the bank does its Keep the Change matching thing, it donates money to the charity you pick. And Habitat is one of them.

So you can do something really simple like switch your ATM out when the time comes and Habitat gains a little more support. And it's free.

Not shillin', just sayin'. Just another thing to consider if you want to honor the work this agency has done for people.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 11:55 AM on February 6, 2009

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