May 2, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK - Every night, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than a half-million men, women and children across the United States search for shelter because they have no place to call home.
There are few places - rich or poor, urban or rural - that don't face this problem. But in some communities, people are actively doing something about it.
For over 35 years, a grassroots charitable organization known as Homeworkers Organized for More Employment, or H.O.M.E., located in Orland, Maine, has been helping combat poverty and homelessness in their rural community by offering much-needed support services and constructing affordable housing.
Sr. Lucy Poulin, one of a group of women who founded the charity, says that while Orland is a lovely town with many beautiful homes; her group serves those people in the community who are not as fortunate.
Volunteers from throughout the Northeast come to this picturesque corner of Maine (40 miles south of Bar Harbor) to help H.O.M.E. build its houses, which are sold to low-income individuals who otherwise could not afford to buy a home, says Poulin.
To date, some 100 individuals, many of them families, live in 57 single-family residences built by H.O.M.E. On any given night, another 100 people may be temporarily staying in shelters on H.O.M.E's 13-acre campus.
To offset expenses, H.O.M.E. manufactures its own lumber and roofing shingles and relies on building material donations like the recent contribution of plumbing tube and fittings from the Copper Development Association (CDA), headquartered in New York City.
"H.O.M.E. is very grateful for these donations," says Poulin. "The only way people without enough income are ever going to have a home of their own is if all of us help."
Bob Hardina, 70, an experienced plumber with Mid Coast Energy Systems, who volunteers at H.O.M.E. one day a week, says the new copper plumbing will be installed in several buildings on the H.O.M.E. campus, including apartments that serve as transitional housing for the homeless, as well as a learning center, soup kitchen and a pottery shop. The copper piping will be used also to plumb new houses that H.O.M.E. is constructing in the nearby town of Dedham.
Paul Anderson, former senior vice president of CDA, initiated CDA's relationship with H.O.M.E. several years ago. Anderson is a member of the First Congressional Church in Ridgefield, Connecticut, which organizes an ecumenical youth group trip to Maine each summer to help with construction projects at H.O.M.E.
The Ridgefield church group is the largest to volunteer at H.O.M.E., says longtime organizer Dan Reidy. For one week this summer, about 120 high school and college students from the Ridgefield area will descend on the H.O.M.E. campus - sleeping in tents during the night and helping to frame houses and repair buildings on the H.O.M.E. campus during the day.
Prior to Anderson's retirement from CDA, there were three separate occasions when CDA donated copper piping to H.O.M.E. This year's donation came about when Anderson got word of a shortage of plumbing needed for the completion and rehabilitation of many homes. Anderson approached CDA, which pledged a donation for a fourth time.
"The Copper Development Association is proud to do its part by donating piping materials to this very worthwhile charity," says Andy Kireta Jr., CDA national program manager for building construction. "The people who purchase these homes will be well served by the quality and performance of their copper plumbing systems for many years to come."
Originally founded as a way to provide employment and training to area residents in crafts such as weaving, woodworking, pottery and more, H.O.M.E. continues to manufacture craft items, which are sold to the general public at a retail store on its premises. The sale of these items, along with charitable donations, help the nonprofit organization continue to offer its services to the local community.