Tackling homelessness with Habitat for Humanity


Anna Henning

A Habitat for Humanity neighborhood, with a house in the background built by volunteers. In the front is the concrete foundation for a new house.

Anna Henning, Editor in Chief

Fort Collins is considered a very privileged city. However, hundreds of people still experience homelessness. This is a problem I feel passionately about, as I believe everybody deserves to have a bed to sleep in and a roof over their head. Habitat for Humanity is aiming to help those in our community experiencing homelessness, and I think you too should get involved.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization located around the world. Their mission is to, “build safe, decent, and affordable homes in partnership with hard-working families in need.” There are a number of ways for people to get involved with Habitat in Fort Collins, the United States, and across the globe. Volunteers build zero-interest housing for people who cannot afford a place to live, or they help out at one of many Habitat Restores. I spent a morning volunteering at one of these restores, and I had a great time. I strongly recommend helping out with Habitat, as it is both fulfilling and enjoyable.

Build sites are located everywhere, and cater to peoples’ locations. For example, there is an entire neighborhood built by Habitat located in Fort Collins, right across from one of their restores. This neighborhood is beautiful, full of bright colors and green grass, and allows those who work in Fort Collins to also live here. For those who want to help at the build sites, they must be sixteen or older for safety reasons. If someone wants to help build but is unsure how, they can learn and get jobs that are best suited to their skillset. 

I have volunteered at both the Habitat Restore in Fort Collins and Loveland. The store in Fort Collins mainly sells new or used furniture or hardware, while the Loveland location also sells clothing. These restores sell items at a fraction of the cost of other stores, and are very affordable options for purchasing. Additionally, all of the profit from these restores goes to fund Habitat housing. Recipients of Habitat homes must volunteer at the restores for a certain number of hours to show their commitment to getting a house. While the home is cost-free, they still have to demonstrate that they will work hard once they get their home.

A view of the Fort Collins Restore from above, full of donated items. (Anna Henning)

Most recently, I volunteered at the Habitat Restore in Fort Collins. Upon my arrival, I was given a room to put my things in by the volunteer coordinator. I was then given a tour of the facility. The job was fun because I basically got to decide what I wanted to do. It was basically a see-a-need, fill-a-need situation. I started by dusting off furniture to make it look nice for customers, then I organized sections of the store to make items easy to find and more appealing. My favorite part was helping the employees by using my Spanish knowledge with some customers. I also liked answering customers’ questions. The time passed quickly, and I never felt bored.

I believe you should get involved in Habitat for Humanity because it is a great way to give back to the community. It helps people directly who live in Fort Collins and Loveland, which is very fulfilling work. Also, it is a great option for students in need of honors society hours. People who enjoy shop classes and want to get more experience will love to help with builds, while people with more organization skills will have fun with the restores. You can also donate items you no longer need to be sold at the restores. Keep in mind if you would like to donate clothing, it can only be donated at the Loveland location. I highly recommend volunteering with this nonprofit.

In the future, Habitat for Humanity hopes to continue their mission. I got to recently visit their build site, where I saw the foundations being created for some new houses in the Habitat neighborhood. I am very grateful everyday for a roof over my head, and being able to help others gain that as well is a great opportunity. Habitat is doing some amazing work. Take a few hours out of your day to help. You will not regret it.