IDAHO FALLS — The need for affordable housing is a growing crisis in the U.S. and the COVID-19 pandemic only underscores the severity of that need. In an effort to address the problem, the Idaho Falls area chapter of Habitat For Humanity is planning a special event to raise funds and educate the public about what they do.
This event, “Passport to Housing: Past, Present and Future,” combines a site-to-site tour, a progressive dinner and a silent auction. People who take the tour will drive short distances from site to site and get to see Habitat for Humanity projects in various stages of completion, from prior to breaking ground to completely built or renovated.
A Habitat representative will be on hand at each site to pass out free swag, answer questions and provide information. Participants will also get their passports stamped at each site and they use those stamps to enter prize giveaways held after the tour.
It’s also an opportunity for members of the community to see for themselves how Habitat operates while also supporting the organization’s mission and efforts in the Idaho Falls area.
“Habitat builds and repairs homes for families who are unable to get into homeownership the traditional way,” Habitat spokesperson Karen Lansing told EastIdahoNews.com.
Along with raising funds and building and repairing homes, Habitat also acts as a mortgage lender, supplying low-income families with affordable, interest-free loans. Participants in “Passport” will get a chance to get details on all these different programs and areas within Habitat’s operations.
Lansing said the drive-from-site-to-site format of “Passport” was necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Habitat’s mission statement says ‘We bring people together to build homes, community and hope,’” she said. “Bringing those people together within the COVID guidelines has become difficult. We were trying to think of a way that people could socially distance and yet we could get 250 people to understand the Habitat for Humanity program and see what we’re doing.”
“Passport” was inspired by a similar tour Lansing saw in Georgia, which was designed to show children the different styles of housing Habitat builds around the world. Lansing and her staff took that idea and adapted it, continually adding new elements like gift bags and a portable meal. There may even be a few surprises.
“It’s still evolving every day,” Lansing said. “It’s an amazing thing. I’m getting so much positive reaction from other nonprofit leaders and people like that.”
“During the Passport tour we will have the opportunity for one-on-one conversations with people,” she added. “Ticket sales will raise funds, but more than that, people will have the opportunity to learn about Habitat’s housing programs and receive information about the critical need for affordable housing in Idaho Falls.”
Habitat for Humanity’s “Passport to Housing: Past, Present and Future” runs October 15 and 16 from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm and October 17 from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. Passports cost $35.00 and can be purchased at the Idaho Falls area Habitat for Humanity website.