After the Dedication... What's Next?
The dedication of your sponsored house marks the official completion its build! If this is the first time your coalition has sponsored a Habitat house, you most likely have learned many things through the course of your project. Hopefully, you have gotten to know people in other congregations in your town or area. And found first-hand the truth in the parable of the loaves and fishes, as everyone's contribution multiplied beyond your imagination.
Raising the money for the sponsorship may have seemed daunting initially, but remarkably you found it wasn't so hard and people followed their hearts and gave money and materials and services to support the project. To your amazement you probably also have a surplus of money that can seed the next project you sponsor.
We hope that, you were surprised that the street you worked on wasn't as scary as you thought it might be. Most importantly, we trust you experienced the power and triumph of goodness and love over despair and hopelessness.
Your witness has changed a neighborhood, given hope where there was little before, and profoundly affected the lives of the family who worked side-by-side with you and will own the home you built together.
In terms of building with us again, we would love to have you partner with us in the future and make a true difference in another family’s life! But not for a while; most of our Coalitions build once every two or three years. Based on the experience of other faith-based coalitions we have come up with ideas, activities, and resources for you to stay involved with Habitat before you are ready for another house building project. Even though you are not building with us, we hope that you’ll help to retain the members you worked with for this project and maintain communication with them until your next project.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Once your Habitat family has moved in, your coalition can turn its attention to wrapping up the project and taking care of "loose ends." This might include:
- paying final vendor bills
- thanking volunteers
- thanking key committee chairs
- thanking donors of both cash and in-kind items
It's also a good time to celebrate your accomplishment, as long as it doesn't drain those who are looking forward to some rest.
It's a good idea to keep the coalition account active as a holding place for funds raised and designated for the next project a few years down the road.
FCHH will keep in touch with your congregations through the coalition e-mail contact list.
Staying in Touch with Your Habitat Family
You probably noticed that Habitat homeowners tend to be resilient, energetic, hard-working people ...and busy as they juggle family, work, school and church obligations. During the building process, friendships often form between volunteers and the homeowner, and these take their own path.
But what about formal connections between your congregations and the family?
Birthday and Christmas cards from your congregation are always appreciated, but please note that we discourage the giving of presents unless you involved with our Christmas Adopt a Family Program. The homeowner is often pleased to come and speak at a service or celebratory event and transportation is appreciated.