The 5th Annual Spring Green Festival – hosted by Heart of Gwinnett (formerly New Lawrenceville) will benefit Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity this year. The free event will be held on March 28, 2015 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds and will offer a local business showcase of vendors, car show and auction, kids zone, arts and crafts, great food, and a great day of community activity.
“We are so excited to host the Spring Green Festival at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds this year! This festival has something for everyone! Our car show, managed by Mike Theis with Southeast Wheels Events, will be hosting an auction as well! Part of the profits from the auction will be donated towards our Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity! The kids area will have some new, exciting things for kids of all ages. Come hungry and ready for a great day in our community!”, says Vanessa Churco, Founder and Chairman of the Spring Green Festival.
“Spring Green Festival is a way for local business owners to come together as volunteers and give back to the community that supports each of them. Every person who is involved in HOG is welcome to participate in this festival by donating, volunteering time, being a vendor, or promoting the festival. Great success is built on creating positive relationships with your neighbors. The Spring Green Festival is just one opportunity for these positive relationships to begin,’ says Vanessa.
“Spring Green is intended to be a free event attended by families who then help other families in the community in need of affordable housing,” says Brent Bohanon, Executive Director of Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity.
In Gwinnett, Habitat is currently involved in two building projects. One project is located in Duluth off of Hwy 120 and the other is in Loganville off of Rosebud Road. The homes will be between 1300-1400 square feet of new construction when finished.
Before they can begin the process, each candidate must demonstrate a housing need (poverty situation), be willing to attend 12 life skill classes-most of which are financial in nature, and demonstrate that they can afford the no interest loan payment. In addition, each homeowner will participate in over 250 sweat equity hours on their own home and on the homes of others.
After demonstrating a need and committing to the program, a family joins with volunteers from the community over a period of 10-12 consecutive Saturdays. The teams are made up of 25-30 volunteers over the age of 17 on an active construction site and 15 on an inactive site (paint, landscaping, finish work). Together, the job gets done efficiently with the spirit of community.
In Gwinnett, community volunteers come from varied sources. Some businesses have formal volunteer programs, others donate money or other resources. Local churches, businesses, and civic groups have the opportunity to sponsor partial or entire “builds”. The money paid each month on the mortgage goes back into the Habitat Gwinnett funds which cover operating costs.
“Gwinnett Habitat offers a hand-up not a handout,” says Brent. “If our model didn’t offer interest free loans, they wouldn’t be able to own a home.” According to the HabitatGwinnett.org website, more than 63% of Atlantans earn less then $40,000 each year. That income is not enough to qualify for a traditional loan and often creates a “working poor” situation for housing. “There is such a need in Gwinnett,” says Brent. “The county isn’t designed to handle poverty, homelessness, and low income situations.” Without affordable housing, families struggle, children often experience a transient school situation which fuels the dropout rate. Habitat strives to provide the stability that creates good communities. “With a home, people come off of federal subsidies,” says Brent. “They become taxpayers and get involved with their communities.” The entire process is a win-win for Gwinnett County.
Thank you to March 2015 Heart of Gwinnett media sponsors -
This article is sponsored by Heart of Gwinnett (formerly New Lawrenceville). Heart of Gwinnett is a FREE networking organization of businesses and volunteers that are working to bring community together. https://www.facebook.com/heartofgwinnett?fref=ts