If you haven’t seen the row of homes steadily popping up on East Gilman Road in north Lafayette, it’s a site worth checking out, particularly on a Saturday when dozens of volunteers come together to climb rooftops, landscape lawns and perform the countless other tasks involved with building one home for Lafayette Habitat for Humanity.

The houses under construction are the future homes of underprivileged local residents who not only contribute to the building cause, but spend decades repaying no-interest loans made by the local nonprofit, all part of a circle of giving that offers home ownership opportunities to those who otherwise would have never been able to call it their own.

After spending a Saturday morning on a Gilman Road rooftop with Habitat staff and volunteers for the group’s Women Build event, it’s especially disheartening to read in The Advertiser that roughly $1,000 worth of materials and tools was stolen May 25 from one of the homes being built along Gilman Road.

Habitat Volunteer Services Director Joelle Boudreaux tells The Advertiser the theft isn’t a first for an organization that’s in the process of completing a nine-home subdivision at the Gilman Road site:
The latest theft came at night at a site where workers are pushing to complete finishing touches on a home to be dedicated June 12. Thieves broke into the home, taking materials and tools including a wet saw valued at nearly $800 that was on loan from one of the Habitat volunteers.

“Something like this can push us back. In this particular house, the wet saw was the most important piece of equipment because we were working on counter tops. Obviously, we couldn’t wait, so we had to buy another saw. We decided to eat the cost and buy it, instead of delaying.”

The local chapter of the international nonprofit has constructed 77 homes in Acadiana since its inception, but summer months make it harder for Habitat to finish a home in its 16-week cycle because of a lack of volunteers willing to face the heat. Saturdays in the spring and fall bring about 30 volunteers, an optimal number for the workload.

Volunteers need not have any construction experience. (Thanks to Habitat, I can now say I’ve laid shingles on a roof. It’s more fun than it sounds.)

Read more on the theft here

For more info on how you can help the local chapter by volunteering or donating, call 261-5041 or visit Lafayette Habitat's website.

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