Iowan reflects on President Carter’s impact on Habitat for Humanity
DES MOINES — Former President Jimmy Carter is now in home hospice care, and his long years of dedicated work with a non-profit are being fondly remembered by the program’s Iowa leader.
Lisa Houser is the executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Iowa and she says the 98-year-old was instrumental in helping the program succeed in building homes for families in need of affordable housing. “President Carter and Mrs. Carter are some of our most famous volunteers with Habitat,” Houser says, “and they have an annual Carter Work Project every year and they’ve actually been doing that since 1984.”
Houser says she had the pleasure to work on a home site with the Carters several years back. Habitat was founded in the 1970s but Houser says it didn’t really take off until the Carters got involved. “They actually first volunteered on a house project near their home in Plains, Georgia, and then later that year, they went to New York City and volunteered on renovating an abandoned building,” Houser says, “from there, they fell in love with Habitat like so many of us do.”
She says the Carters continued to be active with Habitat right up until the pandemic in 2020. Houser says Iowa’s Habitat program is thriving. “Here in Iowa, we have 22 local Habitat affiliates that serve about 48 of the counties,” she says. “Last year, we worked with right about 550 families and that is through building new homes and selling homes with an affordable mortgage.”
Habitat also works with existing homeowners who need help with repairs. Learn more at: iowahabitat.org.