I read about this over the weekend, and was very impressed.
The Charlotte, NC chapter of Habitat for Humanity has started buying and renovating foreclosed homes in some neighborhoods hardest hit by the mortgage crisis. There are just so many benefits to this:
- according to the article I read, they are able to turn around two existing homes for a little more than the cost of building one new one, not only saving money but helping twice as many people and getting them into homes faster.
- it helps prevent troubled neighborhoods from sliding into the kind of chaos that tends to occur when a large number of homes stand unoccupied.
- the houses are already built, which reduces the demand for the raw materials needed to build a house from the ground up.
The article said the Charlotte chapter is among the first in the nation to start this type of program; wherever you live, I encourage you to contact your local HfH chapter and suggest they look into this new model. It won’t be viable forever (I hope!), but it’s one of the best responses I’ve seen to the current situation and can really make a difference as long as this crisis lasts.