You might not see a full dumpster as a sign of renewal, but the work of Syracuse Habitat for Humanity might just change your perspective. On January 26th, a team of Syracuse Habitat volunteers combined a 25 cubic yard dumpster, provided by Budget Dumpster, with some good old-fashioned elbow grease to begin transforming an abandoned property into a home.

Budget Dumpster delivering a dumpster for the cleanup.

Image Source: Syracuse Habitat for Humanity

A House Not Yet a Home

The house at the center of the project is a tax-deliquent property that was abandoned in 2014. While vacant, the property fell into disrepair, becoming a neighborhood eyesore and a possible danger. Blighted properties can create numerous safety hazards and also increase a neighborhood’s risk of crime.

Syracuse Habitat purchased the property from the Syracuse Land Bank with the goal of rehabilitating it into a home for a low-income owner-occupant. As Syracuse Habitat’s Lisa Palleschi points out, rehabilitation projects like this benefit both the family who will take ownership of the home and their neighbors.

Syracuse Habitat logoHomeownership will be a step forward for the family, who won’t be pouring income into substandard housing. And reoccupying a vacant and blighted house is a huge improvement for the neighborhood as a whole.

Lisa Palleschi | Syracuse Habitat for Humanity

The Cleanup

On January 26th, six volunteers from National Grid company spent their afternoon cleaning household debris, including lots of dilapidated furniture, out of the house. By the end of the day, they had filled a 25 cubic yard dumpster with the equivalent of seven pickup trucks’ worth of debris.

While Syracuse Habitat hasn’t yet matched a family with the now-homier house, the benefits to the neighborhood are already being felt. As the volunteers worked, one of the neighbors stopped by to let them know how happy he was to see something positive being done with the property.

Syracuse Habitat volunteers at work.

Image Source: Syracuse Habitat for Humanity

Better Homes Create Opportunities

Syracuse Habitat for Humanity, like all affiliates of the organization, operates on the philosophy that everyone deserves a decent place to live. For many low-income families, a significant portion of their income is spent paying rent on substandard housing which may not even be safe or provide for all of their needs. On top of these challenges, Syracuse Habitat Executive Director, Suzanne Williams, points out the less obvious benefits for a family moving out of substandard housing:

Syracuse Habitat logoA decent home positively affects the family’s health. Children have less illness and their school attendance is better.

Suzanne Williams | Executive Director, Syracuse Habitat

Something as seemingly simple as a safer, cleaner home can help put hardworking families on the path to a better life. As it turned out last week, something as seemingly uninspiring as a full dumpster can be the first step toward creating that home.

If you’d like to help provide Syracuse families with better homes, please consider donating to or volunteering with Syracuse Habitat for Humanity.