Otsego Habitat for Humanity seeks volunteers

·3 min read

Jul. 28—Otsego County Habitat for Humanity is working on building its next home.

For 30 years, Otsego Habitat for Humanity has built more than 30 homes for families and individuals in need, with an average of one home built per year, said Karyn Wendrow, vice president of the organization.

"All homes are built by volunteers and we are one of the only habitat for humanity groups to be made of strictly volunteers. The only paid position we have is for our site supervisor," Wendrow said.

Habitat also ensures that future homeowners are educated by offering homeowner education classes and a low interest mortgage. Individuals and families looking to own a home through the organization also have to log 250 hours of service with Habitat for Humanity before living in their house, Wendrow said.

Future homeowners are also eligible for a home if they meet the requirements for eligibility listed on the Otsego Habitat for Humanity website.

Homeowners are asked if they need any accommodations for their homes such as ramps and railings. "We try to work with families for any accessibility needs and we also try to build homes that are large enough to fit the amount of people within a family," Wendrow said.

"Our goal is to build two houses a year, but lately it's been difficult to find volunteers. We also are looking for volunteers other than builders. We could use people experienced in law, accounting and real estate," Wendrow said. Habitat for Humanity asks for no minimum time commitment for volunteers and offers flexible hours.

If volunteers would rather work behind the scenes, Habitat for Humanity also has a need for advocates to spread information on partnership opportunities and information to prospective home owners, Wendrow said.

"We only meet around once a month or so and business is usually conducted through email, so volunteers looking to do behind the scenes work are offered more flexibility with time," she said.

"One of the great things about volunteering for Habitat for Humanity is that it's almost like a pre-apprenticeship opportunity. We have volunteers such as doctors, lawyers and professors and we taught them skills in carpentry and mechanical aptitude," said Tom Collier, site supervisor.

Habitat for Humanity also offers volunteer opportunities for businesses through team building. "We had people from New York Central Mutual here the other day to help prime the walls and another group from NYSEG. A lot of businesses and groups come to volunteer as a method of team building," Wendrow said.

Land that the homes are built on is either donated or purchased and the homes that Habitat for Humanity is currently working on are ranch-style homes. "One of the cool things about our current homes is that we utilized lumber from the Rockefeller Christmas Tree for pieces on the window sill. We also engraved the window sill with the logo for the 2020 tree," Wendrow said.

Otsego County Habitat for Humanity offers more information on its website about volunteering and applying for a home. Volunteers can contact the organization via email at habitatatotsego@gmail.com or by phone 607-432-7874.