In 1965 Millard and Linda Fuller walked away from a successful business and affluent lifestyle to give themselves over to a life of service. Working with like-minded volunteers, the Fullers built simple houses for families in need, offering profit-and-interest-free terms that would allow the previously hopeless a miracle; a house of one’s own. Many many desperate families found themselves beneficiaries of the Fuller’s mission. By 1976, their home-building ministry had a name: Habitat for Humanity.
Flash forward 40 years. To date, Habitat for Humanity has served an estimated 6.8 million people in the U.S. and around the world. There are presently more than 1500 Habitat for Humanity (HH) affiliates in the U.S. doing the hard work of housing those who would otherwise have nowhere to live. One of those affiliates is Habitat for Humanity of South Santa Barbara County, and they are on a mission which Ben Bradley, the affiliate’s Construction Manager, sums up very neatly.
“Our goal right now with our affiliate is to serve 50 families in five years,” Bradley says.
“Our mission is seeking to put God's love into action. Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Our vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. So this is kind of where the rubber hits the road for us as a Habitat affiliate.”
Now that’s a vision. Bradley’s HH team is the solution to an inherently urgent problem; that of a family in need of four walls and a ceiling. It’s no surprise that his team of dedicated construction volunteers is constantly looking ahead, working at full steam to accommodate as many families as possible, and as quickly as possible. Bradley’s South Santa Barbara County affiliate has set for itself ambitious goals, which it is well on its way to achieving.
“Our goal right now with our affiliate is to serve 50 families in five years,” Bradley says. “Last year we did 12 repairs and finished up 12 new homes that were started a couple years prior. We're always working on or planning a project that will provide a home for someone, or improve the one he or she already has.
The South Santa Barbara County affiliate relies on volunteers with expertise, a heart for helping, and the willingness to donate both to the cause. And it doesn’t hurt to be able to make use of state-of-the-art tools of the construction trade.
“We use Procore pretty much the way it was intended,” Bradley says. “I think that's really the best way to use Procore. Get all project data integrated so that it's a single cohesive system. Procore gives us and any user on the project the opportunity to really take advantage of a collaborative tool.”
A family waiting for a home is, by definition, a time-sensitive situation. How quickly was Bradley’s HH affiliate able to get up to speed with the Procore platform?
“Procore is a great tool you discover along the way, and you use what you need, which is the beauty of it,” Bradley says. “We started from the very beginning, uploading things to the plan room as well as photos. And Darryl (Kysar, Procore Education Development Manager), made himself really available to us, helping us bring our frequent volunteers and crew leaders up to speed on the platform. And he was here with the rest of Procore helping on the project last November!”
Ben Bradley and his team are moving mountains––using their expertise and, well, their humanity, to give housing and HOPE to struggling families who may have felt they’d reached the end of the line. What would Bradley say to others in the construction industry who may be wondering if there are other uses for their training and talents?
“Anyone that has a skill, any contractor that feels the urge to give back, I would certainly encourage,” he says. “Giving just one day makes a huge difference to any affiliate. Having one skilled carpenter on a project is a game-changer, honestly. We always encourage anyone that is a skilled tradesman to give a day, even just a few hours. It's a great feeling.”