Today's guest speaker was Barb Swanson from Habitat for Humanity.  Habitat was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller.  According to their website, the concept of providing "partnership housing" centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side-by-side with volunteers to build decent, affordable houses. The houses would be built at no profit. New homeowners’ house payments would be combined with no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fundraising to create “The Fund for Humanity,” which would then be used to build more homes.

 
 
Habitat has grown in this effort and is now present in nearly 70 countries and has helped 6.8 million people in their search of safe and affordable shelter.  Part of its success can be attributed to the awareness that President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn have brought to program since they started working as volunteers on a job site in 1983.  The two of them have been involved with over 92,000 volunteers in 14 different countries building and renovating nearly 4,000 homes. 
 
Habitat for Humanity have been operating in McHenry County for 22 years.  Its website states "The vision of Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County is a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live and housing poverty and homelessness are eliminated. We believe that the home is a key catalyst in helping to permanently break the cycle of poverty."  However, Barb clarified that "We don't give homes away.  This is a hand-up, not a hand-out."
 
To date, Habitat has provided 38 homes for families in McHenry County, which includes qualifying Veterans.  It currently has four homes in various stages of construction.  Those wishing to learn more about volunteer opportunities or how they can contribute to Habitat's success can visit their website at http:// www.habitatmchenry.org.