Habitat for Humanity faces theft and high construction costs
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (BRPROUD) – Across the country, the cost of building materials has skyrocketed. Habitat for Humanity in the Greater Baton Rouge is no stranger to the nationwide rise in construction prices, but they also face theft at their construction sites, which adds to the price.
Over the weekend, a building was stripped worth an estimated $ 300 worth of drywall. The house, already faced with delays in the delivery of equipment, the weather and poor volunteer participation will have to wait once again.
“Just a few weeks ago we were starting a brand new house and we had all the stallions ready,” said general manager Lynn Clark. “We have a group of about 20 volunteers who came to help us build and about half of the posts were stolen.”
Clark said it was already a challenge to get the material with shortages. Window orders have taken weeks to arrive, now replacing vandalized items is disappointing and a major setback. In the future, they plan to have the materials delivered the day they use them to keep thieves at bay.
According to the National Home Builders Association, lumber prices have increased 300%. Clark said a piece of wall panel went from $ 8 to $ 40 during the pandemic. The additional cost raises the price of homes up to $ 14,000, leading Habitat for Humanity to reduce the number of constructions this year.
“We select families before we start a home,” Clark said. “We have a family that has been approved for this house and selected it. It just means that it will take them even longer to realize their dream of homeownership.
Habitat for Humanity in Grand Baton Rouge typically builds between 15 and 20 houses per year. In order to prevent the price increase from falling on future owners, they have reduced their number of constructions to 11 this year.
“People who don’t have that stability or that safe and healthy home have realized even more how important it is to them and their families and so we’ve had a lot more people interested in our program,” Clark said.
The prices of materials have started to fall and Habitat for Humanity hopes that the trend will continue. They also hope that more people will be ready to volunteer to speed up the construction process. People can find out more about volunteering opportunities here.