Okay, this is my first ever, actual interview so if it doesn't go very well, give me a break I was nervous. This interview is with Jinny Godwin, when I got on the Habitat for Humanity site she was the one I was told to go to. I asked around and finally found her hard at work in her pink hard hat. So after introducing myself I got right down to the questioning. J stands for Jinny.
Me- So what is the program's main focus and what do you generally take care of here?
J- The main focus is to eliminate substandard housing and ah my job is that I'm the construction supervisor so when volunteers come on site I either teach them what to do or I find team leaders and make sure that everybody knows what they're doing.
Me- Ok, what are some previous projects you've taken part in? Are there any extra sites that you guys have or is the only site you are working on?
J- Right now this is the only site we have going we've got a Women's Build site up the street that's going to start next month. Um, yeah, and I've been around for a long time so I've been part of lots of them.
Me- When did you start in this volunteer program?
J- I've been on staff for two r\years and I've volunteered for 5 years here before that.
Me- How did you find out about it and how did you get involved?
J- I found out when I lived in Minnesota from a friend that I worked with and it always sounded interesting so when I moved to Portland I'd gone to a church and they were helping to sponsor a house and so they were getting a work crew together so I signed up with them.
Me- Cool. Ok, um...What kinds of activities can the volunteers look forward to when they come to help out?
J- Well our volunteers do a little bit of everything we do the framing ourselves, we've had a crew of people up on a roof the other day, we've been doing siding lately, we're going to be inside installing some cabinets so all that stuff is done by the volunteers.
Me- So you guys build the whole house, you take care of everything? Do you do the electricity and water too?
J- No those need to be done by licensed professionals.
Me- Do you guys install the windows?
Me- Cool. Do you have any interesting facts or experiences you'd like to share?
Me- Anything that's happened recently or anything.
J- Interesting facts. What kind of interesting facts are you looking for?
Me- Anything you think is out of the ordinary or is just fun. Anything that...I don't know...exciting, err ah, interesting?
J- Um... I think that some of the things that end up being really exciting are that our families have to volunteer for five hundred hours before they get their homes. So um a lot of times they, I mean they're obviously been out quite a bit, but to watch the difference in our families when they start and they don't know anything about building, to the end of the time when they're able to link crews and find mistakes that people make and correct mistakes that... that's pretty exciting.
Me- So what do the families come in and help with? Do they come in and do any part of it or are they assigned certain things to do?
J- Our families come in and they...
Me- Just like any other volunteers?
J- Just like any of the other volunteers. So they do a little bit of everything.
Me- Do you know how the program is funded? Is it sponsored by a certain...certain company or...?
J- Right, we sell home sponsorship packages so different companies sponsor. We also get in kind donations, like electrical companies will come in and donate their time and do our electrical for us. We also apply for grants.
Me- like state or from the government?
J- Grants from different foundations. We don't have any government funding.
Me- oh okay. Is there anything else you can tell me about the program? Like maybe a little history or anything?
J- a little history of the program. The program started in 1976 and um... and then the goal of Habitat for Humanity International is to eliminate substandard housing. Um...one of the things about this program that's different from a lot of other programs is our families' buy the houses with the no interest loan so we carry the mortgages ourselves. They just pay the amount that it costs for us to build the home. They're not charged for... obviously for labor. And then there is no interest.
Me- then people really get a good deal out of this. What is a day in the life of a volunteer like?
J- our workday starts at 8:30 so our volunteers show up at 8:30 and then we start with an orientation, to give people a safety rundown and do some stretches. We break people into groups, start working, and work until noon. At noon we take our lunch and usually people stay and talk and get to know each other during lunch. And then after lunch we build again until about 3:30 when we start cleaning up and then we are done at 4.
Me- so they all work on the same house as I see they're doing here (I gesture to a half built house where a majority of the volunteers are putting up walls and doing basic construction) or do they sometimes work on different houses too.
J- well we have to get all fourteen of these built by the end of the year, so it really depends on the day and the activities we have, and also what groups we have going. Today we happen to have basically one group of people who all came together. So if I have a group of people who all come together I try to find jobs where they can all work at least close together.
Me- Is the program effective and why?
J- well yeah its effective, because... well, for one thing it usually takes about a year and a half or two years between when somebody is accepted and when they're actually in their homes. So our families have put in a lot of time and a lot of energy and they're very committed to it, before they ever move into their home. It's also ah, because they're required to do the hours then its not a give away and so they've not only built their own home they're helped to build other people's homes. It gives the families experience and they know what's going on inside of their walls or whatever so when it comes time that they maybe have a problem with something that's going on in their home they have more of and idea how to take care of it?
Me- So they can fix it if they need to?
J- yeah. It just kind of takes away a lot of the scariness of it. We also continue to have... we have homeowner trainings before they move into their house, before they buy their home. Then we continue to have different trainings after for homeowners once they're in their houses.
Me- so the program is continuous? How long afterwards do the training programs last?
J- When we bring a family into our program it's a partner ship and it lasts forever, so.
Me- what do you think your favorite part of the program is? What do you like best?
J- my favorite part of it is that having to see my occupation is that there's not that many jobs out there where you can actually make a positive difference in the world everyday.
Me- and you enjoy doing it?
Me- what do you like better volunteering or being on staff, and what do you do on staff?
J- well they're completely different and the nice thing is that I had plenty of time to be a volunteer so its nice to have been on both sides so hopefully I can be more productive as a staff member.
Me- what project are you working on right now? Do you work on the outside of the houses or do you do inside or what?
J- well I'm the construction supervisor so I'm in charge of the whole project. So, all of it.
Me- so you just go place to place checking in on things and pitching in here and there?
Me- any last comments or anything?
J- can't think of anything.
Me- well, thanks.