A steering committee has been formed in Chatfield to bring Habitat for Humanity to the community.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, grassroots, ecumenical Christian ministry. Its mission is to eliminate sub-standard housing and homelessness by partnering with community members to build simple, decent houses.

Habitat uses volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money and materials to build affordable homes with financially eligible partner families and then sells the homes to those families using no-interest loans. The new homeowners' monthly payments go into a revolving fund that finances houses for more families.

Habitat has been doing this work worldwide since 1976. In 1994, Habitat for Humanity Winona County was formed. In 2009 it built its first home in Fillmore County, and in 2010 officially expanded its service area to become Habitat for Humanity Winona-Fillmore Counties. The organization has built 48 homes through 2013.

Chatfield's new Habitat committee will operate as a part of Habitat Winona-Fillmore. While the members of Chatfield Lutheran have initiated this venture, the goal is to make it a truly community-wide effort.

Habitat in Chatfield will likely begin on a modest scale, with Habitat's A Brush with Kindness program. A Brush with Kindness (ABWK) helps low and moderate income homeowners accomplish exterior home improvements and repairs - for example, painting, roofing, windows, wheel-chair ramps and similar projects - that homeowners would not otherwise be able to do.

The program is not free. The homeowner is requested to make a down payment for materials and the balance is financed with a no-interest loan.

For many families and individuals, including senior citizens, ABWK has provided a practical means of restoring the habitability of deteriorating housing. Eligibility is based on level of need and ability to repay the loan. Neither race nor religion is considered. The program is for homeowners and rental properties are not eligible.

To be successful in Chatfield, Habitat will need donations of money, labor and materials. If one would like more information about Habitat for Humanity, go to the website at www.habitatwinona.org. For further information about how one can help Habitat start up in Chatfield, contact Julie Young at (507) 867-3170, julieyoung327@gmail.com.

First fundraiser

To begin the fund raising in Chatfield, a rummage and antique sale will be held in addition to a bake sale and free-will donation soup lunch that will be held as part of the Chill Fest celebration in Chatfield on Saturday, Jan. 25. The sale and soup lunch will be held at the United Methodist Church, located at 124 Winona St. S.E., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The committee is also accepting donations for this event. If one would like to donate items or make a monetary donation, contact Julie Young at (507) 867-3170.