Each September, local homebuilders join Habitat for Humanity to donate their labor and skills to build as many houses as they can in one week. In the 2012 video, Habitat for Humanity constructed 210 new homes across the US during the seven-day Home Builders Blitz. That year, Americans donated about $10 million to provide metal roofing, lumber, and administrative support. Just a few years later, 31 states have their own version of the Home Builders Blitz.
“The idea of the one-week blitz is, if you ask me as a builder to build a house in a month for Habitat, I couldn’t do it, because I have other obligations,” says Tom Gipson, Creator, 2012 National Chair of Homebuilder Blitz. “But if you can compress the time and enable the builder to do it in one week, it makes it a manageable time to build a home.”
Tom Gipson organized the first Home Builders Blitz in 2002 for the Wake County Habitat for Humanity. He recruited four other business owners in Raleigh, North Carolina, to build 12 new homes in 5 days. By 2018, builders and contractors were building or repairing 2000 homes each year in cities and towns throughout the US.
The professional home builders compete between themselves and the deadline. “Every day is a countdown, and that makes it fun, “says Ward Russell, the Owner of Legacy Custom Homes. The city council, inspectors, landscapers, lumber suppliers, and trade unions all come together to build brand new houses from scratch. Henry Warren, Stock Building Supply, has supplied the lumber for Homebuilder Blitz for several years. “We like giving back to our community and supporting our builders.”
Each new or revitalized home is move-in ready for a needy family. Habitat for Humanity qualifies the homeowners based on their ability to keep a budget and make their monthly mortgage payments. Habitat provides classes on finance and homeownership; finally, family members help with constructing their new home. The builders get to meet the families and see what a difference they are making in their lives. Henry Warren says that it’s a winning situation for everyone involved: “Everybody wins. The community wins, the people getting the houses to win, our employees win, and the builders win.”
The 2020 Habitat for Humanity Homebuilder Blitz was canceled due to the pandemic, but Habitat and the builders look forward to another successful Homebuilder Blitz in 2021. If you’d like to find out how to donate or participate, see the Habitat for Humanity webpage.