August 7th ’14 Meeting, Habitat for Humanity & Parkland Classes

August 7th, 2014

Guest: Sheila Dodd from Habitat for Humanity

Sheila Dodd presented the group with a plethora of information. She walked as through the process of the Habitat for Humanity family. She also provided us with additional resources that are available to Homer residents.

How Habitat for Humanity works

Habitat for Humanity typically builds new homes for those in need, they also do exterior work on an existing home, and they have started a new program of purchasing derelict homes and rehabbing them.   They do not give away homes!  An individual or a family applies to Habitat for Humanity.  They then attend an orientation meeting where they learn about the process and meet with advisors who talk to them about their needs.  Housing is typically just one of many needs, so the advisors connect them with credit report counselors, legal aid, and other services to help them holistically.  The advisor will also do a home visit to access their current housing situation and their need.  All families are chosen based on three things: 1) Willingness to partner with Habitat, 2) Ability to pay back the loan, 3) The need for secure housing.  The application then goes to a Family Selection Committee who votes on which family to help.  Once selected, the family goes through about 30 hours of classes to teach them about home ownership, and more classes about resume writing and job application process.  They are also required to volunteer 250 hours (in addition to their house project) and they are required to be at their house build project at least 50% of the time.  The entire project is about 12 months.  Once the house is complete, they purchase the new home with a 0% interest loan provided by Habitat for Humanity.  These homes are not given away, the homeowner works very hard for it, but the process educates them and certainly gives them a hand up instead of a hand out.

What we can do in Homer.

Sheila will help us to assess the village.  Based upon census information, most Homer residents are considered low-income families.  Low income is designated by under $38,000 for singles and $54,000 for a family of 4.  We should determine a long-term plan, and then target small sections of Homer at a time and work our way through the town over the course of several years.  Sheila suggested an approach that they just began using in Champaign.  While doing a build, they will access the houses around the build area and will do small projects on those homes.  For instance, they will replace siding or a roof, or even just help clean up a yard.  This is much easier to do when you have teams of volunteers already in the neighborhood working on a build project.  She suggested that we work hand in hand with the Village Board and South Homer Township, especially to have empty lots donated to Habitat for build sites.  We will follow up with Sheila in early September after we done some research on the empty lots and she’s had a chance to drive through Homer.

Additional Resources

Sheila suggested several more resources for us to explore.

  • Rural Development.  They offer programs to help rehab homes, 1-2% loans, and down payment assistance.
  • Champaign County Regional Planning (217-328-3313).  They offer deferred payment loans (works like a grant) for rehab (she suggested including a preservation clause that includes keeping up the yard and house exterior).  They also have weatherization program to help with windows, furnace and air and power bills.
  • University of Illinois School of Social Work.
  • University of Illinois School of Planning.
  • Illinois Power.  Security lighting programs for dimly light areas of town.
  • Farm Bureau.  Planting trees where ones have been torn down.
  • Empty Tomb.  Volunteers for projects.
  • Federal grants instead of State grants, more stable.
  • Habitat for Humanity trailer can be parked in Homer during garage sale weekend to take back donations of unsold merchandise.


Parkland Classes

We reviewed the survey data (available online as well). After evaluating the data, we decided on classes that were both popular (had interest of at least 8 people) and also available exclusively through Parkland.

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Zumba
  • Food Service Sanitation
  • Quickbooks
  • Excel
  • Email & Internet
  • Beginning, Beginning Computers
  • Medical Coding
  • Senior Care (series of 4 classes)

We have submitted this to Parkland. The next steps:

  1. Parkland will evaluate our space to confirm that is it suitable to the classes we chose.
  2. Parkland will find the instructor
  3. Parkland will confirm the classes available and provide us with the date & times
  4. HCIA will then advertise the classes



Other educational opportunities

We discussed the popular classes from the survey that could be taught for free through the extension or for a small fee from local experts.

If you know of someone who would be interested in teaching any of these classes, please have them contact!

CPR (Red Cross)

Automotive safety, How to change a tire on the side of the road, how to add fluids, etc

Computer Clean Up, how to rid yourselves of viruses

Finance (U of I Extension)

Gardening (U of I Extension)

Canning (U of I Extension)

Cooking (U of I Extension)

How to write a resume

How to write a business plan








8:55pm, Official Call to Order for HCIA members



Sheila Dodd

Diane Boyer

Becky Smith

Kris Brown

Arlene Higginbotham

Kate Boyer

We review the minutes typed up by Christine.

Kate makes a motion to approve the minutes, Becky seconds the motion

We review the financial report. Kate makes a motion to approve the report, Kris seconds the motion.

Kate makes a motion that we offer the classes listed above through Parkland, Becky seconds the motion.

We discussed working with the farmer’s market to create an indoor market through the winter as a part of our cookie walk.

Becky shared about the possibility of doing a shop hop, which works similar to a poker run but with small store across the area.

Kris requested a donation to sponsor the inflatables for Krazee Daze. Becky makes a motion to donate the same as last year, Kate seconds the motion.

9:23pm meeting adjourned


Next Meeting…

September 4th, 2014


Village Hall

Kathy from U of I Extension will come and discuss free classes and opportunities through the extension!

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