Happy belated Fourth of July! Hope you enjoyed your cook-outs and stayed (mostly) out of the sun. I don't know about you, but I can't think of a better way to celebrate our country than by helping someone and strengthening a San Antonio neighborhood in the process -- and that's exactly what SAHA employees did! The Build and Housing Construction On June 13th, San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) volunteer staff members joined Habitat for Humanity San Antonio to build a home for a public housing resident, Ms. Olivia, a current resident of one of SAHA’s properties. Ms. Olivia has adult-age children, and is currently taking care of her elderly father. She’s a busy lady, and she's been hard at work with Habitat to achieve her dream of homeownership. This home, built on the near west side, will allow Ms. Olivia to continue to live near her community, her current apartment, and her job. It also means that this build contributes to the SA2020 goal to increase inner loop housing construction. Every little bit counts in moving the needle! Social Connectedness As part of the process toward homeownership, Habitat for Humanity requires that everyone who receives a home contributes “sweat equity”. This means that future homeowners work at least 300 hours on their own home and those of their neighbors or volunteering in the Habitat administrative offices, the Habitat Home Center, and the warehouse. This also teaches the homeowners about home maintenance and repairs that can be used to care for their house in the future. This means that Ms. Olivia has contributed to building homes and supporting others alongside volunteers. So far she’s clocked in about 281 hours toward building her home and the homes of her neighbors. As they build their homes together, the neighbors also build bonds that connect and support their neighborhood. This social connectivity is something that SA2020 seeks to increase as we approach the year 2020 because of the positive impact it has on neighborhoods and community safety. Volunteerism Thirty SAHA volunteers spent almost eight hours working on Ms. Olivia’s house. This volunteer opportunity through the partnership between the San Antonio Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity San Antonio offered a chance to increase volunteerism among SAHA employees. One SAHA employee who loves volunteering said that this Habitat build offered her an opportunity to meet and work alongside other SAHA employees. She was driven to volunteer because she believes that everyone should have a roof over their head and finished in saying “if I need to build any part [of that house], I’ll do it.” Her desire to provide housing to others was apparent. She enjoyed being able to work with others to help one person get their first home. This volunteer opportunity provided space for SAHA employees to serve one of the Housing Authority’s current residents and to help her move into further independence. What You Can Do If you’re interested in helping individuals build and own a home, you can volunteer with Habitat for Humanity as well. They have volunteer roles in bringing lunch for other volunteers during the weekend and building houses. You can also contribute to increasing social connectivity in your own neighborhood by meeting and serving your neighbors. Take a walk and say hi to the people you encounter, deliver baked goods, help with yard work, or host a block party. Get out and get to know your neighbors too!