Southeast Volusia Habitat for Humanity is active in building, rehabilitating and repairing homes with families in need. Its mission: to provide adequate housing for low-income families. This is accomplished through a partnership of volunteer effort, corporate in-kind support, individual donations and participant “sweat equity.”
Servair, an HVAC and air conditioning repair company that serves the Edgewater, New Smyrna, and Port Orange areas of Eastern Florida, has been involved with Habitat for four years as an independent contractor. President Gary Butt notes that, with the help of Lennox, Servair has been able to provide all ductwork and air conditioning to Habitat homes at reduced rates.
“We’re an Energy Star Certified contractor,” he says, “which gives the new homeowner peace of mind along with greatly reduced energy bills.”
There are many misconceptions regarding Habitat for Humanity. According to Rosemary Walker, the Executive Director of the Southeast Volusia Habitat for Humanity office, the biggest misconception is that the homes Habitat builds are free to the client.
“The families selected to receive a Habitat home are working families,” she explained, “and they pay a mortgage. Although they probably would not qualify for conventional home financing, they’ll provide a small down payment and perform 350 to 500 hours of sweat equity working at our ReStore and on-site, building the home alongside our volunteers. They make monthly mortgage payments just the same as families with conventional mortgages. This is not a hand-out; it’s a hand-up.”
The great majority of Habitat families have one or more wage earners. Many hold jobs that involve hard work and unpleasant conditions, but do not pay well in our economy.
The homes are built by volunteers, yes, but under the supervision of experienced professional builders. Due to code requirements, plumbing, electrical and heating/air conditioning repair work is performed by local licensed contractors, and that’s where Servair fills the bill by providing the HVAC work for Habitat homes in Volusia County.
“When enough people believe a problem can and must be solved, it will be solved,” Ms. Walker stated emphatically. “Habitat believes that by continuing to build with family partners, by working with other committed groups and communities, and by keeping the issue of substandard housing in people’s hearts and minds, the problem can be solved.”
Gary Butt underscored that statement: “Servair is proud to be part of the solution, and we plan to participate for years to come.”
“Gary and his wife Frieda are investing partners. They invest their time, financial support and energy. Servair is going the extra mile. There’s not another AC contractor within 75 miles willing to invest the dollars, training and effort that Energy Star certification requires,” noted Ms Walker.
For more information about SE Volusia Habitat for Humanity and how you can help through donations of time, money or corporate support, please visit HabitatSEV.org.