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Home for MJ

By Randy Garrison

Last week I was invited to attend the Morgan County Habitat for Humanity Hardhat Breakfast, held each year at First Bible Church in Decatur. While this breakfast is a fundraiser where community leaders, business folks and Habitat volunteers are invited, it is also a time for Habitat to share their vision as well as update what has happened in the past year and plans for the upcoming year. This year was not an exception, when news was shared about plans for new homes for the upcoming year.

If you are not familiar with Habitat, it is an organization which enables families to live in a. safe, affordable, and decent home. It is important for the family to be able to function and improve the lives for all members. Habitat families pay an affordable, no interest mortgage, are trained on home ownership and its responsibilities in finances and upkeep and maintenance. Habitat home owners also make a down payment with what is commonly referred to as “sweat equity.” They work help to build a home for other families when they are accepted into the program and help construct their own home as well. 

Habitat homes are not a hand out, in fact, the program should be referred to as a hand up. Volunteers and financial support from churches, local businesses and individuals help to raise the funds and also help to build the homes.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to serve on the Habitat Board and also helped my church Hartselle First United Methodist, construct a home. In fact, there is a Habitat subdivision, Phoenix Place actually located in Hartselle. A new home will be constructed there in 2020.

But to really see the hand of God at work in Habitat you have to see the difference the homes make in the lives of families. You have to put a face with the homeowner and see the change it makes in the lives of each one.

MJ was introduced at the breakfast held last week. MJ is little boy full of energy and spunk. He is being raised by an aunt who has raised MJ since he was a baby. MJ is a special little boy who has a serious illness. He has a disease that causes his muscles to deteriorate. He is not able to breath without a ventilator and is wheel chair bound. 

The current home he lives in with his aunt is full of mold, which causes someone with MJ’s issues many problems. Being on a ventilator he does not need further lung problems. His aunt, while being MJ’s caregiver, is also employed full time. His has nurses that help, but much of the work of caring for MJ falls on her.

MJ and his aunt have been through the approval process for a Habitat home that will be constructed next year. While working full time, caring for MJ, his aunt also is building her “sweat equity” hours in the meantime. She is so excited that MJ will have a cleaner environment without mold to live in, as well as a ramp to enable his wheelchair to enter the home.

There are other families such as MJ’s who need a little help to become homeowners. Habitat is there to help the dream of many come true. Please join myself and others who contribute to Habitat so more homes can be constructed for families in Morgan County. Habitat is also looking for volunteers, prior home construction not a requirement.