Volunteers needed to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity

Nonprofit officials say help has decreased during pandemic

SAN ANTONIO – The needs of nonprofits and charities for volunteer assistance haven’t slowed down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although there’s a large need for affordable housing in Bexar County, Habitat for Humanity’s local chapter has had to scale down their original goal of home builds due to the decrease of volunteers and donations and increase in material costs.

“Covid stopped our growth,” Stephanie Weise, vice president of Habitat for Humanity San Antonio said. “We were really kind of in growth mode, and we hoped to get from 51 to 60 homes this year. We weren’t able to do that.”

The reality is, they need more people to show up to the building site at Rancho Carlota in Von Ormy.

“We have lots of Covid protocols in place,” Weise said. “We keep people safe and folks can go to our website and sign up easily (to volunteer) or call us and talk to us (to) figure out how to get their team involved.”

Another challenge for the nonprofit is how expensive the home building process has become.

“The material prices are just absolutely crazy. Usually (it) costs us about $10 for a sheet of (plywood). Now, it’s costing us $30 or $40,” Weise said. “In some cases, you know, things have tripled and quadrupled in price. We are doing our best to keep that down. We have the ability to do bulk buying, but the best way to be able to help us in the community is to be able to come out… and help us build the homes.”

Now more than ever, Habitat for Humanity depends on the help of corporate sponsors to fund the build and provide the volunteers needed to stay on track. On Saturday morning, the accountant firm ATKG had about 15 volunteers help start the build for Indelisa Oranday, a single mom of four children.

“With Covid hitting and just the need in San Antonio, it was just time for us to really execute and to make a bigger impact on this community,” Teryn Grater, co-owner of ATKG, said.

In just a few hours, Grater, her team of volunteers and Oranday put up the wooden framing of the home.

“I just want to cry every time I see a wall come up. It’s super exciting to see it finally come together,” Oranday said. “I wanted something permanent, stable for my kids. I was tired of moving around.”

The construction is set to be completed in about two months.

For more information or to register as a volunteer, click here.

More on KSAT:

Habitat for Humanity gave more than 50 homes to San Antonio families in 2020 despite pandemic

About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.