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Habitat for Humanity RV Care-A-Vanners


nvestysly

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Is anyone participating in the Habitat for Humanity RV Care-A-Vanner program? I'd like to hear your comments and help enlist more support for the program. My wife and I have been involved for nearly four years and we love it. It's almost like attending a rally and you get to help build a house in the process.

 

Many of you have heard of, or perhaps volunteered with, Habitat for Humanity. There are many ways to get involved with Habitat while RVing. One way is to simply contact the Habitat affiliate in the area you are traveling and ask them if you can help. To do that you can enter the local zip code on the web site shown below and see a list of affiliates that build homes in the area.

 

http://www.habitat.org/where-we-build/united-states-canada

 

Another way is to volunteer through via the RV Care-A-Vanner program. This is a sub-group of Habitat for Humanity that schedules two-week building projects around the country. See the web site below for a list of current/upcoming projects.

 

http://www.habitat.org/cd/rv/schedule.aspx

 

I searched the forum and found another thread related to Habitat for Humanity but it was locked so I couldn't reply to the thread.

 

I'll post information here from time to time to discuss the topic.

 

 

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I've posted information about Habitat for Humanity RV Care-A-Vanners on other RV forums and a series of good questions have been asked. I'll go ahead and describe the scenarios here for benefit of Escapees. I know it's a long post but it contains lots of useful information.

 

The topics below are based on our personal experience combined with what we see listed for the RV CAV projects as well as what we hear from other volunteers.

 

The overnight charges vary from $0 (yes, zero) to local, prevailing campground rates. $0 is not uncommon - I just looked a the list of projects for January 2016 and many of them had no overnight parking fees. $10 - $15 per night is not uncommon - these rates typically apply when the Habitat affiliate has their own "campground" or has arranged with a local campground to provide a discounted rate. Sometimes, it's not possible for Habitat to provide a place to park and a local discount is not available so you pay prevailing rates at a campground - this is very uncommon in our experience. Regardless of what you pay, if you itemize your income taxes, the overnight expenses as well as other expenses may be deductible. Be sure to confirm this with a tax advisor if necessary.

 

If a RV CAV project you want to participate in is full go ahead and sign-up and your name will be on a waiting list. We've put our name on the wait list for several projects and every time we were chosen because somebody else had a change of plans.

 

The organizers of the RV CAV program work tirelessly to arrange for reasonable overnight accommodations. Many affiliates have created their own "campgrounds" for volunteers. Almost all overnight parking situations have 30A service and 50A service is not uncommon. Water is typically provided, in fact we've never been to a site where water and 30A (minimum) were not available. Sewer hookups are included in many locations and are becoming the norm. If sewer hookups are not available, a dump station is usually made available or a "pump-out" is available.

 

Most Habitat affiliates who participate in the RV CAV program are interested in keeping their volunteers happy. We know of several affiliates who have installed showers, laundry areas, community pavilions and other amenities to attract RVers. WiFi has been available at several of the projects we've worked on.

 

We've met dozens - probably hundreds - of RV CAV volunteers and there is only one case that I can think of where a volunteer was so unhappy with the situation that he was asked to leave. Habitat for Humanity is certainly not for everyone but most people can find a niche and do well with the RV CAV program. One women we met was not able to work on the job site due to health limitations so she chose to be the errand runner for other volunteers - she dropped of mail and picked up mail at the post office. One man we know comes south for the winter and he doesn't enjoy construction work so he chooses to volunteer at the Habitat ReStore (second hand shop). In some cases, one partner of a couple chooses not to work and instead arranges the social hour, makes reservations at the local restaurant for the group or provides local tourism ideas to other volunteers.

 

There are cases where the job site is more than just a few miles from the campsite. This is usually known in advance so you know what to expect. We've worked on over a dozen projects in the last few years and only one time did we drive 30 minutes to the job site and this was in a rural area of West Virginia. We knew this in advance and could have chosen to stay in a closer location but we chose to stay with the other volunteers to experience the camaraderie.

 

We've met several people who have class B or class C motorhomes that don't tow a vehicle. It's never been a problem for those volunteers to tag along with other people to the job site or to find a ride to the grocery store. RVers in general and RV CAV volunteers in particular are instant friends so there is no shortage of ride sharing opportunities. Job sites are typically crowded with construction equipment, material deliveries and other parking constraints so car-pooling is not uncommon.

 

Let me say that Habitat for Humanity does not require construction experience nor does it require that you have your own tools. If you are comfortable swinging a hammer and have your favorite tools that you're comfortable with that's great but it's certainly not required. There are jobs available for just about everyone and most people are surprised how quickly they find themselves comfortable with laying out walls, installing siding and finishing out trim work.

 

Don't forget the Habitat Beatitude... Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.

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We have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity a number of times in various areas around the country. We have participated in the Care-A-Vanner program. We have also volunteered at locations with ongoing builds or just dropped in and volunteered like the people in the local community do. Even if a Care-A-Vanner event is full, you can still volunteer there along with the local community volunteers, but you will have to find your own accomodations for your RV. In addition to the actual construction projects, we have volunteered working at ReStores and also on the trucks that pickup donations.

 

Those unfamiliar with Habitat for Humanity may not know that the future home owner has to put in a specific number of volunteer hours as part of the agreement to receive a home. We really enjoy meeting and working with the future home owners and their families and attending the dedication ceremonies where they receive the keys to their new home.

 

You may or may not be aware that the Escapees Habitat for Humanity BOF disbanded recently due to lack of interest.

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We have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity a number of times in various areas around the country. We have participated in the Care-A-Vanner program. We have also volunteered at locations with ongoing builds or just dropped in and volunteered like the people in the local community do. Even if a Care-A-Vanner event is full, you can still volunteer there along with the local community volunteers, but you will have to find your own accomodations for your RV. In addition to the actual construction projects, we have volunteered working at ReStores and also on the trucks that pickup donations.

 

Those unfamiliar with Habitat for Humanity may not know that the future home owner has to put in a specific number of volunteer hours as part of the agreement to receive a home. We really enjoy meeting and working with the future home owners and their families and attending the dedication ceremonies where they receive the keys to their new home.

 

You may or may not be aware that the Escapees Habitat for Humanity BOF disbanded recently due to lack of interest.

Good comments. Like you said, if the 2-week RV CAV builds are full or not available in the area or you simply don't have a full 2 weeks to devote to a project, just stay and work for a few days. We've done that several times and it works out well.

 

If I didn't say it previously... the recipients of the home pay the mortgage, taxes and insurance to buy the house just like anyone else. The main difference is the lower cost due to all the volunteer hours and some donated materials. The mortgage is also interest free so that makes the homes more affordable. Combine that with the sweat equity hours the homeowner contributes and it usually creates a firm foundation and long-lasting homeowner experience.

 

I did see a thread indicating Habitat BOF was disbanded. That's what prompted me to start this thread.

 

 

Thanks for the information. I have wanted to do this for a while.

Be sure to let us know how things go for you. It's always good to hear about other's experiences. We look forward to seeing you at a project sometime.

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