Habitat for Humanity aims to raise awareness about its role in the community in helping veterans, as well as generating more volunteers for future projects. Ellen Potts, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Tuscaloosa, said Habitat for Humanity wants to honor the sacrifice veterans and their families made for our nation.
“There are many of our veterans and surviving spouses who own their own homes, but as the homes age, they are unable to maintain them. Some live in really difficult conditions – leaky roofs, collapsing floors, and extremely high utility bills, because the house was built without adequate insulation, etc.,” Potts said. “Habitat for Humanity of Tuscaloosa wants to honor the sacrifice the veterans and the spouses made for our country by living our vision: ‘A world where everyone has a decent place to live.’”
Homes are repaired and improved via two repair programs Habitat has for veterans and surviving spouses, Potts said. One program is assisted through the Federal Home Loan Bank, which funds larger repairs, such as complicated roof replacements, HVAC work and more.
The second program, known as Habitat for Humanity’s Vets for Vets program, tackles smaller repairs that are easier to manage. Veterans volunteer to help repair another vet’s house, replacing porches, building wheelchair ramps, repairing small-scale roofing issues, and more.
“The Vets for Vets program also helps people who ‘fall through the cracks’ of the FHLB program, which has very strict qualifications. The Vets for Vets program has a little more leeway in the qualifications,” Potts said. “As to sustainability, most of these veterans are elderly. The repairs we do in most cases will last for the remainder of the homeowners’ life.”
The Vets for Vets event will feature live music from Soul Tide and a silent auction of tickets to a race at Talladega Superspeedway, a gas grill, restaurant gift cards, Hudson-Poole jewelry, and more. Potts said those who work to make other people's lives better are usually happier people in general.
“I think this goes double for people who served in the military, most of whom joined out of a desire to serve the nation and serve others. That desire doesn’t end when they receive their discharge papers,” she said. “The veterans who volunteer with us love getting together with fellow veterans to serve others.”