Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hands on Housing

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The Happy Homeowners

Photo by: Jon Montgomery

Yesterday while Suna took the kids to the UIL competition, more than 100 volunteers and I participated in Hands on Housing (HoH)—a project of Austin Area Interreligious Ministries (AAIM).

Twice each year, AAIM organizes a massive number of volunteers to repair up to 35 substandard homes. Beneficiaries are typically elderly persons who own their homes but who are financially unable to maintain them. Often, physical handicaps prevent the beneficiaries from helping on the projects, but the beneficiary from the Spring project was among the volunteers on Saturday. This time we worked on two houses in the same neighborhood.

We do a lot of what both Presidential candidates would call, “putting lipstick on a pig,” but the beneficiaries appreciate any improvement. Besides, the lipstick will probably last as long as many of them do, even if we don’t or can’t fix the underlying problems.

More than 100 people helped. These are some of them. I’m in the red hat, helping hold up the Live Oak banner.

Photo by: Jon Montgomery

Among the projects I helped with are:

  • Putting siding and trim on the back of one of the houses
  • Covering up a water-damaged ceiling on the front porch of the other house
  • Putting 1x4 trim in one kitchen to inconvenience the rodents that had eaten through the walls
  • Rebuilding and hanging a weather-damaged door

And as proof that no good deed goes unpunished:

  • I gave my knee a good twist, and it bothered me most of the evening.
  • Rev. Kathleen’s car was rear-ended, incurring fairly significant damage.
  • I know of a couple of other minor injuries.

I only hope that the combination of these negative occurrences with good intentions pays double on any karmic debt we have or will accrue.

28 October Update: If you’re interested in more pictures of the even. Jon posted some on Picasa.


Dragonfly said...

one year when I was able to, I spent every Saturday for 15 weeks helping Habitat for Humanity near my work. It was a good experience.

Lee said...

Yes, it was tiring but fulfilling. I was the last non-organizer to leave. Thankfully, it’s only twice a year.

The other great thing is the HoH gets the kids involved. We had lots of little ones laying pavers and painting under adult supervision.

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