According to Mark Weaver, there are many people and families who currently live in substandard housing conditions within Dawson County. An issue that he has been aware of for quite some time.
Despite Dawson County being dubbed as one of the most affluent in North Georgia, Weaver, part of a group who would like to see a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity in the county, said most people would be surprised at the number of people living in less than adequate situations.
“People are struggling. They’ve rented their whole lives, only know generational poverty and never get to the place where they can own their own home. There’s a real need,” he said.
Weaver is the pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in downtown Dawsonville, and he and several other concerned residents have met a few times in hopes of getting a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Dawson County to alleviate the need.
The group met Monday night to gain interest from the community in being part of the organization and taking on leadership roles to make the organization operational.
Leaders from the local group, Weaver and Steve Holder, have met with directors from Forsyth and Hall County chapters, as well as representatives from Habitat for Humanity International in the last several months to determine steps to take to bring the non profit to Dawson County.
“Habitat International has suggested that we operate as an affiliate or ‘outlying community’ of the North Central Georgia division; which includes Forsyth, Cherokee and North Fulton counties,” Weaver said. “We would operate much like the local United Way, which also works through Forsyth County.”
Due to many variables and requirements involved with beginning a local chapter, the wisdom and experience of a chapter such as Forsyth would be of great benefit to Dawson leaders to assist in bringing success to a chapter in Dawson County.
Having held two official meetings to date, the group still has some groundwork to cover before becoming operational.
“We will need to establish committees, as well as a local board,” Holder said.
“These committees include family services, volunteer coordinating, construction and fundraising.”
Holder noted that Monday’s meeting was slated to gain interest from the community for the organization, as well as for committee members, and said that the next steps will involve meeting with Forsyth County chapter leaders to determine subsequent steps.
Habitat has built close to 300,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1.5 million people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent and affordable shelter.
Those selected for homeownership must be a resident of the community and must invest through “sweat equity” and also contribute $1,000 as a down payment. Monthly mortgage payments range between $500 and $750.
Weaver also added that the group is still welcoming anyone from the community that would like to help or get involved.
For more information, contact Holder at (706) 974-0431.