Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville

celebrating 25 years of building dreams EST. 1991

 
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Volunteering FAQs

Thanks so much for your interest in volunteering with Habitat. Please email the Volunteer Manager or call 434-293-9066 for more information or for a list of available dates.

  1. What are Habitat’s current projects?
  2. What is the typical daily schedule?
  3. Can we be helpful if we have no building experience?
  4. How can I sign up my team?
  5. What specifically will we be doing?
  6. We have group members who are not yet 18 years old. Can they build? 
  7. Whom can I contact with questions?
  8. Where is the jobsite? Where can I park?
  9. What should volunteers bring to the jobsite?
  10. What should volunteers wear to the jobsite?
  11. What should we do when we arrive?
  12. What happens if there’s bad weather?
  13. Whose house will we be working on?

1.  What are Habitat’s current projects?

We build simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with low-income families and the community. Click

here

for more information and photos of current projects.

2.  What is the typical daily schedule? 

Typically, we build Tuesday-Saturday. Construction activity on Monday is usually limited to sub-contractors. Our regular build schedule is 8:45-3:30, with a break for lunch from 12-12:30. During the summer (Memorial Day-Labor Day), our building schedule moves up an hour to 7:45-2:30, with a break for lunch from 11-11:30. Volunteers usually pack a lunch and eat together on site with the construction crew, partner families, and any additional volunteers. Special scheduling may be arranged in advance upon request if this schedule poses a problem for the group. Periodically, we also conduct “blitz” builds that last throughout a weekend and longer into the evening.

3. Do we need building experience? 

Habitat offers volunteer opportunities to people of all skill levels. First timers will be in the hands of patient and knowledgeable crew leaders who break down tasks and teach you to complete them in manageable steps. More skilled volunteers will find an opportunity to apply what they know. If some members of your team do have more experience or are professionals, please don’t be shy about letting us know before you arrive! We will do our best to plan a task that allows us to put your time and skills to good use.

4.  How can I sign up?

If you would like to schedule a build day for a group, please email the Volunteer Manager or call the office at 434-293-9066 for additional information and to check on date availability. In your message, please include any desired dates, the approximate size of your group, and whether any of your team members are under 18 years of age.

If you are an individual, the easiest way to volunteer on the construction site is to use our online registration system.  Here you will see a calendar of events and can sign up for any day(s) that suits your schedule. Then, you will automatically receive a confirmation email with additional details such as the exact location, what to bring, what to wear, etc. and can show up directly at the construction site on your scheduled day and the crew will be there to greet you and get you plugged in to a project.

5. What sort of work will I be doing?

Our construction schedule varies depending on weather conditions and the unpredictable pace of building with a volunteer labor force. It’s often difficult to let you know in advance the type of work you’ll be doing. Whether framing, hanging drywall, painting, siding, performing finish work, site cleanup or landscaping, every task contributes to getting our Partner Families into simple, decent affordable housing.

6. One of our group members is not yet 18 years old. Can he/she build?

For safety and liability reasons, the following conditions apply:

  • 18+ No restrictions on the construction site
  • 16&17 MAY be present on an active construction site, but MAY NOT use power tools and MAY NOT work more than 6 feet off the ground. All volunteers under 18 must have a minor liability waiver signed by a parent or guardian on file. Youth groups must maintain a ratio of 1 adult supervisor to 4 youth. Please notify the Volunteer Manager if you are a minor (16-17) prior to the build. This will allow our construction team to plan for a productive day, making your experience meaningful and assisting Habitat Partner Families into affordable housing.
  • 15 & under Not permitted on an active construction site, but welcome in a host of activities that help serve families and promote Habitat’s mission.

Younger volunteers are encouraged to visit our Youth and Family Volunteer Activities Page for more information about other ways to get involved.

7. Whom can I contact with questions?

Contact the Volunteer Manager or call the office at 434-293-9066 for more information. After you register in person, on the phone or on line, you will receive a confirmation email with additional information pertaining to your build day (directions, parking, what to wear…) as well as a staff cell phone number in case you need to reach someone prior to your arrival on site.

8. Where is the jobsite? Where can I park?

If you are a construction volunteer, click your designated location for information about location and parking! 

Sunrise Park, 1412 Carlton Avenue

TJ House, 568 Cleveland Avenue

Belmont Cottages, 1600 Avon Street

Abundant Life House, 786 Prospect Avenue

Rockcreek, 985 Rockcreek Road

Lockesley, 666 Lockesley Terrace

Store volunteers will go to the Habitat Store at 1221 Harris Street (directions.)

Office volunteers go to 919 West Main Street (directions.) After you register, you will receive a confirmation email that includes more specific directions.

9. What should volunteers bring to the jobsite?

All tools and safety equipment are provided.  You are welcome to bring your own hand tools if you wish (make sure to label clearly!). We will have water, and it is a good idea to bring a reusable bottle with your name on it. Don’t forget to pack a lunch if you do not plan to arrange something for the group! Habitat cannot be responsible for your personal property, so please leave any valuables at home and consider leaving your cell phone in the car.

10. What should volunteers wear to the jobsite?

Closed toe shoes are required on the construction site. Boots are recommended, but any thick sole shoe will do. Consider leaving your jewelry at home and wearing glasses instead of contact lenses for additional safety. Pull back long hair and choose clothing that is comfortable but not so loose that it will easily catch on things. Barring extreme weather, we usually work rain or shine, so please bring a waterproof outer layer. In the summer, we suggest wearing long pants and sleeved shirts to protect from scrapes, scratches, and sunburns. Insect repellent, sunblock, sunglasses and a hat are also good ideas. In colder weather, be sure to dress in layers, prepared for both indoor and outdoor work.

11. What should we do when we arrive to the jobsite?

When you arrive, you will be asked to sign in, provide emergency contact information, and make nametags. If volunteers haven’t completed a liability waiver in advance online, you will also be asked to complete one prior to beginning work. Once volunteers are signed in, we will give a brief orientation about the project and then break you into groups to accomplish the various tasks scheduled for the day.

12. What happens if there’s bad weather?

Safety is always our first concern. We work rain or shine, but cancel if there is severe weather. If you are volunteering as part of a group, the Volunteer Manager will be in communication with your group’s point person with updates. Individuals and others in doubt can always consult our website or call our office at 434-293-9066 for recorded cancellation information. Both the website and the office voicemail message are updated at least an hour prior to start time.

13. Whose house will we be working on?

Currently, at Sunrise, we are building an entire neighborhood that will include more than 20 Habitat homes. To maximize efficiency on the jobsite, we often work on multiple homes at the same time. Each home has a sign that indicates the name of the Partner Family who will reside there. You can read about our Partner Families here.

 

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