Housing 'Blitz' Builds 237 Homes in One Week

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A quarterback blitz and a nationwide home building "blitz" both require speed, coordination and timing. But instead of creating chaos for a quarterback, Habitat for Humanity’s Home Builders Blitz is changing the lives of hundreds of families. [caption id="attachment_16258" align="alignright" width="300"] A Home Builders Blitz project gets underway in Menasha, Wis. ©Habitat for Humanity International/Jason Asteros[/caption] Since 2002, Habitat has helped coordinate the annual, weeklong event. The initiative engages thousands of home building professionals who volunteer to help construct, repair or revitalize homes. The 2019 event successfully wrapped earlier this month after completing 237 safe and affordable homes for low-income families. "Every year, the level of excitement grows and the builders show that they’re increasingly eager to give back to their communities," said Mike Welch, the program’s manager for the last seven years and a former home builder with more than 35 years of industry experience. "Honestly, it’s a challenge for them; this is not an easy lift because it demands most of their time and effort leading up to and during blitz week," he said. "But what they get out of it — the joy they bring to these families and the great relationships they build — far outweighs the sacrifice." Welch was especially busy throughout blitz week. He traveled across the county participating in dozens of home dedication ceremonies, which are often very emotional for everyone involved. "These are families who take very little for granted, and they’re grateful," Welch said. "They know how much the builders and sponsors are investing because they are out there working right alongside them." [caption id="attachment_16259" align="aligncenter" width="580"] For the 2019 Home Builders Blitz event, Collin County Habitat for Humanity begins construction on two new homes in McKinney, Texas, while also working on repairs to two existing homes.[/caption] It’s important to note that Habitat does not give away houses. Eligible families must income qualify, invest several hundred hours of "sweat equity" in the home, and pay an affordable mortgage. As the number of homes continues to grow — now totaling more than 2,300 since the program began — so too does the number of builders and sponsors who take part each year. "For dedicating just one week of my time, I have the opportunity to change someone's life forever," said Kyle Murphy, president of Murphy Home Builders in Pelham, Ala., who participated in the blitz for the seventh time. "These are caring and committed people who work hard to provide for their families. This program makes it possible for them to achieve the American dream of homeownership, and it's such an incredible honor and privilege for me to be a part of it." Even though the sites are typically prepped in advance with the home’s foundation and surrounding infrastructure in place, completing a home in just one week is a tall task. Still, builders continually report having an overwhelmingly positive experience. "The blitz isn’t about recognition or about who can build a home the fastest. For me, it’s about leveraging my profession to give back to the community," said Kelly Watson, president of Blue Stone Building in Birmingham, Ala. "I consider it my 'one-week volunteer vacation' and after 12 years, I still love it. Sure, there are usually some hiccups inherent with a quick build, but every year its different and we always find solutions. I’m already looking forward to next year." Welch says preparations are well underway for the 2020 blitz week, which he anticipates will be even bigger, as additional sponsors are set to join. For more information, visit habitat.org/homebuildersblitz.

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