Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity (CBHFH) is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. The international organization, founded in 1976, is a non-profit housing ministry with an ecumenical Christian origin. Through its affiliates, HFHI is working with families and communities throughout the world to eliminate poverty housing.
Here’s the website for Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity.
You can register for an upcoming workday with other members of our congregation here.
CBHFH is a homeownership program that targets Pittsfield’s very low-income families. Our income guidelines are at or below 50% of the city’s median income. Since 1994, CBHFH has partnered with and completed homes for nineteen families. CBHFH has recently grown so that we can work at two, sometimes even three, sites simultaneously, thus enabling us to double our building efforts and homeownership opportunities. Some of the buildings are renovations; others are new from the ground up. Most have been two family condominiums.
A tithe of ten percent of donations to CBHFH goes to Habitat International in support of the affiliate associated with Pittsfield’s Sister City, Malpaisillo in Nicaragua. There have been several organized group trips to Nicaragua for volunteers from Berkshire County to work for a week in that country. There have also been such groups going to the New Orleans-Mississippi area to build houses for Katrina victims.
Until recently ours was a totally volunteer organization, but because we have grown so much, a year ago we hired an Executive Director, Carolyn Valli. There are too many tasks that require constant attention to be done solely by volunteers. Moreover, sometimes it has been difficult to coordinate activities between committees. Carolyn has been a great boon to the organization. She is energetic, knowledgeable, and dedicated to the enterprise.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield is one of 15 Covenant Churches. We confirm this covenant every year at the Annual Meeting. As part of our obligations under the covenant we make an annual donation to CBHFH. We also have designated the “Pocket-to-Pocket” collections for Habitat. Another obligation is to have a group from the church work at one of the work sites from time to time; we try to schedule three a year. The work may entail painting, dry walling, sanding, demolition in a house to be renovated, installing insulation, cleaning up or any number of other tasks. There are always skilled and knowledgeable volunteers on site to help those of us who are less skilled. Our groups have ranged from two to a dozen! Church members have also helped out by providing snacks or lunches for work groups.
There are many other volunteer opportunities; in particular, we are always looking for new members to serve on one of the nine committees, such as Family Selection, Family Partnership, Publicity, Congregation Relations among others. The Board of Directors provides oversight for the whole operation, which is another opportunity for volunteering.
Register here for an upcoming workday with other members of our congregation: