Most of us understand why shelter is one of our most basic needs. But there are many in our midst who do not have a home.
“I believe housing is the key for most people when it comes to having a quality of life,” says St. Francis parishioner Dana Elwell. “Having a place for your family to come home to, to relax—just a place to call home—is important.”
Dana’s professional career as a real estate lender put him in touch every day with those seeking a home. Then he was asked to lend his expertise to the new Affordable Housing Action Board, an organization just getting started that provides housing options to low income individuals.
“I began to see first hand what it means to have a safe, affordable place to live,” he said. He became a founding board member of AHAB.
“Many people in our area live in substandard housing,” he explained. “I realized that using my work experience, I could help people with this need.”
A few years later, Dana also became a founding member of the Springfield Community Land Trust, which provides rental and home ownership opportunities for low-income individuals.
Now retired, Dana is active with Habitat for Humanity. “I’m fortunate to be on the Habitat board of directors,” he said. “Habitat does many great things to help people in our community. We renovate existing homes and build new ones. The applicants borrow the money from Habitat and learn about budgeting, home repairs and home maintenance in the process. The zero percent interest rate is a big help!”
Giving back has always been a priority, Dana says. “Involvement in community organizations has showed me what happens when those of us with plenty share with those who have less. Whether by giving financial support or time and talent, I encourage everyone to commit to helping others.”