Most people take safe and comfortable housing for granted. It

Most people take safe and comfortable housing for granted. It is as much a part what most people expect and have as adequate food and clothing.

A sizable minority of the general population in Northeast Mississippi can’t take adequate housing for granted because, even though they work hard and regularly, upgrading their housing situation is beyond reach.

Habitat for Humanity, an ecumenical, worldwide housing ministry with a 12-year-old chapter in Northeast Mississippi, works to make better housing possible for some of those in need. The Northeast Mississippi chapter, which works in Tupelo and Lee County, has built 26 houses. Six more houses are scheduled for completion this year. The worldwide ministry, founded in Georgia by Millard Fuller, has built 40,000 houses.

Habitat is like other charitable organizations; it depends on personal and corporate generosity to sustain its efforts.

The Northeast Mississippi chapter started this year a more focused effort to build a sustaining funding base. The goal is an end to “hand-to-mouth” financing for virtually each new home and long-term commitments. The five-year agreements would be categorized as “Covenant Partners” who donate 25 percent to 100 percent of a house’s cost and “Sustaining Partners” who p[ledge to give a set amount each year for five years.

Habitat, in addition, wants to broaden its base of volunteers and in-kind contributors. Primary targets will be churches (singly and in partnership), businesses, and civic organizations.

Habitat is not a give-away group. Its houses are built for people who agree not only to work on the construction but to repay an interest-free loan covering the cost of the house.

The Habitat method has made dreams come true for more than two dozen families in Tupelo and Lee County. Involvement and commitment to Habitat’s work have brought together people from across the community spectrum in a good endeavor.

Call for more information about Habitat’s “partner” relationships and about opportunities for voluntary service. The number is 601-842-4675.

Click video to hear audio