Earlier this summer, White Castle Roofing participated in Habitat for Humanity’s Home Builders Blitz. The Blitz is a marathon building project, with contractors, volunteers and future homeowners working side-by-side to construct nine homes in nine days for a block in North Omaha.
The Blitz is part of a national effort, with Habitat chapters across the country using the first week in June to coordinate a large-scale building effort in their communities. The 2016 Blitz was the sixth time the event has been held since its inception in 2002. More than 1,750 homes have been built during the Builders Blitz events for new Habitat homeowners, including more than 250 homes in 71 communities throughout 31 states in 2016 alone.
These homes are not giveaways, though — they are purchased by the homeowner with an affordable mortgage as well as hands-on effort. Each family purchasing a Habitat Omaha home must complete between 250 and 350 hours of “sweat equity”, building their own future home as well as homes of their neighbors and other Habitat homeowners. Families are selected to purchase Habitat homes through an application process at the local affiliate level. Although the Builders Blitz is a relatively new event, Habitat for Humanity is not new to Omaha — in fact, the organization was first chartered in Omaha in 1984, and has grown to be one of the largest affiliates in the country!
White Castle Roofing partnered with Habitat for Humanity’s Builders Blitz in 2014, when it became an annual event, to donate two roofs each year. White Castle provides the materials and labor to put the roofs on the two houses early in the week to ensure that they are watertight for the remainder of their construction. With such a great reputation for doing amazing work in the local community, it was an easy decision to get involved with Habitat for Humanity as part of White Castle’s efforts to find ways to give back and be great neighbors.
White Castle Roofing’s Omaha Director of Operations, Jake Hansen, has been the driving force in getting involved with the Habitat for Humanity Builders Blitz, and describes the event as a really rewarding experience. “The best part, for me, is seeing the homeowners’ faces just light up when they have a new house at the end of that week,” Hansen said. “They’re there throughout the process, but seeing them see their finished home, and knowing all the things they’ve worked for to get that home… That’s incredible and really fun.”
It isn’t just adults who move into Habitat homes constructed in the Builders Blitz. This year, 35 children will move into their family’s first house, and kids often help out in small ways during the Blitz.
“One of my favorite memories is of two kids, when we were doing their roof, they came up and were just super happy,” Hansen recalled. “They wanted to get a photo in front of the house, in mid-process, so we were able to take a photo with them and their mom, and then kind of talk them through how everything looks, how it works, how it’s going to function. Just seeing their joy was really fun.”
You can flip through White Castle Roofing’s pictures from the Habitat for Humanity Builders Blitz in the gallery below. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity’s local Omaha affiliate and get involved with this outstanding organization, visit their website at www.HabitatOmaha.org.