Liam Ball knows firsthand the intangible benefits of owning a home. That’s one of the reasons why he joined the Habitat for Humanity Maui board of directors nearly a decade ago.

Long before he became a board member, Ball, a Realtor-Broker with Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, was a familiar face to many Habitat for Humanity Maui volunteers and staff members. He was a frequent visitor to the nonprofit’s ReStore, which resells new or slightly used construction and remodeling materials priced significantly below retail value. “I was one of the first customers of the ReStore and became enamored by all of the insane deals I scored there. My front door, fridge, shelves, one of my tables, light fixtures and many odds and ends in my current house were bought at the ReStore,” Ball said. “I didn’t really connect the dots that the organization behind all this had this noble mission of helping people achieve the stability and comfort of owning their own house.”

But as soon as those dots were connected, he said, “Joining the board felt like a valuable use of my time.”

On Maui and in communities worldwide, Habitat for Humanity works toward one goal: To build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. Since it became an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International in 1997, Habitat for Humanity Maui has built and renovated 123 houses on Maui and Lanai, providing homes for more than 500 people. The nonprofit sells homes to low-income individuals and families—those earning between 25 and 80 percent of the median income for Maui County—at a no-interest and no-profit basis. The organization also helps low-income residents who struggle to maintain their homes through its “Brush With Kindness” home preservation program. “This is a program that allows home improvements, accessibility fixes and other fixes—from small jobs to roofing jobs—for people whose housing is starting to deteriorate and who may need some financial assistance and know how to improve their structures,” Ball explained. “This program involves zero-interest loans and volunteer labor to support the accomplishment of these projects.”

Want to make a difference? Habitat for Humanity Maui will host its 2020 Build-A-Thon on Feb. 21 and 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Now in its twelfth year, the annual public awareness and fundraising event provides an opportunity for Habitat for Humanity supporters to raise money and help build homes for people in need. This year, teams of volunteers will roll up their sleeves and help complete 10 single-family homes in Habitat for Humanity Maui’s Kahoma affordable housing project in Lahaina.

No construction skills? No problem. A site supervisor will provide training and assistance as needed. All participants will receive a t-shirt, lunch and beverages. “What’s not to love about perhaps learning a new paint or carpentry skill, getting some exercise, and helping out a neighbor?” Ball said. “It’s the essence of kokua and aloha combined.”

If you can’t make it to this year’s Build-A-Thon, there are other ways to support Habitat for Humanity Maui throughout the year. “Community participation in any way, whether it’s volunteering or testifying at the county in favor of affordable housing projects—these actions are good for your soul,” Ball said. “Come and lend a hand. It’s much needed and much appreciated.”

You can also donate leftover residential building materials and overstocked, discontinued merchandise to Habitat for Humanity Maui’s ReStore. These donations not only benefit the organization, but also divert usable materials from the landfill. “Come in and volunteer at the ReStore and get to know us. Please consider donating your unused construction materials, furniture, older kitchen cabinets, etc.,” Ball said. “We won’t bite—and hey, you might find a fantastic find in the store.”

The ReStore recently moved to a new location at 1162 Lower Main St. in Wailuku and is open Monday through Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about Habitat for Humanity Maui or to inquire about donor or volunteer opportunities, visit www.habitat-maui.org or call 242-1140. To learn more about the 2020 Build-A-Thon, visit www.habitat-maui.org/2018-build-a-thon or contact Habitat for Humanity Development Director Max Tornai at max@habitat-maui.org.

The Maui News – February 10, 2020

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