Habitat aids international construction

PARKERSBURG – Contributions from Habitat for Humanity in Wood and Washington counties have financed 118 homes around the world, officials said.

The local Habitat affiliates tithe 10 percent of unrestricted funds to the international, which builds homes in other nations.

Wood County since 1990 has tithed $272,000, said Director Alvin Phillips. That’s resulted in the construction of 100 homes overseas, he said.

More homes can be constructed overseas where the average cost is about $4,500, Phillips said. It’s upward of $80,000 or more in America, he said.

“We can build more homes because the building costs are so much less over there,” he said.

According to Habitat for Humanity worldwide, local affiliates tithed more than $13 million in fiscal 2014, July 1, 2013 through June 30.

“Through your tithe, your international colleagues were able to provide safe and secure housing for more than 2,900 families,” said Susan Weltner Yow, Affiliate Tithe and Global Engagement director.

Habitat for Humanity in Washington County has tithed $56,762 since 1991, Executive Director Dennis Thomas said. It is a smaller affiliate than Wood County, he said.

The Washington County contributions have financed 18.5 homes, Thomas, citing a breakdown from the international, said.

“All of our tithe money right now goes to Thailand,” Thomas said.

Affiliates can request where their contributions go, he said.

Habitat for Humanity, established in 1976, is a nonprofit ministry dedicated to providing safe and decent housing. Recipients work with volunteers in building the homes.

More than 1,500 affiliates are in the United States.

Washington County is building its 19th home. Wood County Habitat hopes to have started construction of its 75th home by end of 2015, Phillips said.

The 69th home in Wood County was dedicated in July.

“We are focused on houses we build here at home, with our own partners, and those are big reasons to celebrate,” Phillips said. “But it’s important to recognize how far our American dollars go in other, less-developed countries, and remind our supporters that they are a part of a global mission.”

The contributions to the international are in keeping with the Christian value of tithing 10 to God’s work, Phillips said.

“It is truly a blessing to be part of that bigger effort, and to know our funds just keep working toward our mission of simple, decent housing for people everywhere,” Phillips said.