Category Archives: image

Habitat Tutorial – Part 3

This is the third part of a multi-part outline of what is involved in buildings a Habitat house.  This article covers the steps in raising the roof and drying in the house and a myrid of little details going on at the same time.   The first part is Habitat Tutorial – Prepration for Build which covers some of the pre-build steps the Site Project Manger (SPM) and selected volunteers  go though just to get ready for the volunteers, and the second is Habitat Tutorial – Part 2 which covers the first day where the walls go up.    In addition, there are three sets of pictures with slide shows that have already been published that you may be interested in as they concentrate on people on the job site – volunteers.   The first is Habitat for Humanity – 2008 Dinner on the Slab consisting of 25 pictures including our future homeowner Nicole Combs and her son Elijah.  The second includes 115 pictures of the first day of the build – Habitat Build 2008 – First Day – Walls Go UP .  The third was released earlier yesterday: Habitat Build 2008 Second Day – Roof Goes On which has pictures and blog on the installation of the roof trusses and decking the roof.  If you want access to any of the tutorial pictures they are all in one place for all the tutorials to date.   Tutorial Slide Show – 146 pictures so far, including many not in this article.

Note: If you came here looking for the homeless veterans site, this is it!   If you came here looking for the homeless youth site, this is it!.   I’m just taking a break to help out on a Habitat House and once a year I post what I saw, experienced and learned.  Click on either of the two links in this paragraph or go to the side bar and select a category or search for what you want.  Also look above the banner or to the right for popular articles on Homeless Veterans.

This is a a drawing I made of a generic roof truss, not too unlike what is actually installed.  At least most of the parts are here.  Below are pictures of the trusses we actually installed and you may note some minor differences.  The major difference is the end trusses which have more vertical 2×4’s in the web so that there are places to nail OSB and siding.  None of the ones we put up have a King Post.

The trusses are marked with alignment marks while still on the ground. Each truss is marked 14″ from one end (only), that end being the end that goes on the longest wall, (in our case the back wall).   A line is snapped along the back wall exactly 2″ from the back edge of the cap plate.  The corresponding 14 inch mark on the roof truss allows for a 12 inch overhang and the 2 inch offset in the snapped line.   When the roof truss is slid into place a volunteer aligns the truss mark with the snapped line on the cap plate.   If one end is right, then both ends will be right on these manufactured trusses.

I was one of the two marking the trusses.  The other was Max, son of our SPM, Jeff Vanderlip.  Each truss also receives a mark along the top plate/top rail at 47 1/4 inches and at 9 feet.   These marks go on both ends of each truss.   The 47 1/4 inch mark is the top edge of the beginning course of the OSB deck (which allows for a 3/4 inch overhang over the end of the truss.   3/4 inch fascia board stretched across the ends of the trusses will take up this overhang.  The 9 foot mark is the location of the 1×4 boards used to tie the tops of the trusses together while the trusses are going up.  9 ft is chosen so that two courses of OSB panels can be installed below the 1×4 boards.  

To read the rest of this tutorial, click here: Continue reading

Habitat Build 2008 Second Day – Roof Goes On

Saturday, May 17 was the second day of the Presbyterian Coalition, Cobb Habitat for Humanity build in 2008.  This is the fifth article in this series, the first covering the Traditional Dinner on the Slab which includes a slide show of 25 pictures and introduces the future homeowner, Nicole Combs and her son Elijah.   The second article is the beginning of a tutorial ” Habitat Tutorial, Preparation for Build” which covers some of the intense preparation that goes on behind the scenes before the volunteers show up.   The third article covers the actual first day of build: Habitat Build 2008 First Day – Walls Go Up .  The fourth article is the second part of the tutorial, Habitat Tutorial – Part 2 .

For those of you looking for the homeless veterans or homeless youth, this is it. Click on one the links above the banner or on either of the two links in this paragraph, or maybe check out the right sidebar.

This article covers the installation of the roof trusses, roof decking and various other 2d day activities. To see the slide show of 126 pictures click here or on any picture below!  There is a (mostly) different set of 137 pictures (and growing) for the tutorial, by the way, so to see those check out the tutorials or click here for access to the tutorial slide show.  From any slide show you can access various sizes of the prints for free download (instructions further down – “Getting Copies”).

In the beginning there is the mandatory “have fun but be safe” safety and pep talk by Jeff Vanderlip, the fellow in the shirt of many colors. 

Everybody is introduced to Nicole Combs in the front middle.  She has already completed 100 hours of work on other homes and 100 hours of training on such things as mortgages, taxes, budgeting, how to maintain her new home, etc.    She is very active in helping on this house and has been an excellent “quality control” person that is making certain that her house is built right.   After the introductions, the crew leaders were introduced and jobs assigned to those willing to work in the rafters.

To read the rest of the story and see many more pictures, click here: Continue reading

Habitat Tutorial – Part 2

Maybe “tutorial” is too strong a word.  There will be pictorial or drawing examples of each type of job required to finish a house that I am either involved in or privileged to photograph.  It is by no means an exhaustive handbook of the type you get when you take the Habitat Crew Chief and SPM training course.  The intention is to try to document real-life on the slab, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Fortunately, it all turns out good.

This is the second part of a multi-part outline of what is involved in building a Habitat house.  The first part is Habitat Tutorial – Prepration for Build.    In addition, there are two sets of pictures with slide shows that have already been published that you may be interested in as they concentrate on people on the job site – volunteers.   The first is Habitat for Humanity – 2008 Dinner on the Slab consisting of 25 pictures including our future homeowner Nicole Combs and her son Elijah.  The second includes 115 pictures of the first day of the build – Habitat Build 2008 – First Day – Walls Go UP . 

Note: If you came here looking for the homeless veterans site, this is it!   If you came here looking for the homeless youth site, this is it!.   I’m just taking a break to help out on a Habitat House and once a year I post what I saw, experienced and learned.  Click on either of the two links in this paragraph or go to the side bar and select a category or search for what you want.  Also look above the banner or to the right for popular articles on Homeless Veterans.

Marked top and bottom plates

In the earlier tutorial I showed the plate markings.  These two boards representing the top and bottom plates of a section of a wall are tacked together and left lying somewhere on the slab.  All a volunteer has to do is separate the plates, remove the tack nails and insert studs, T’s, window or door frames and nail them up.

Starting the build

You can see in this picture a stack of top/bottom plates on the floor on the right, a separated set being stocked in the left foreground and one well on the way on the other side of the slab. A set of blueprints are laid out on the slab on the right, but it is seldom needed as the slab is already carefully marked with all the walls, doors, etc. and the sets of plates are numbered to match.   The rod with the orange ball on top is the future grounding rod for the electrician.   We will notch a wall to fit around it and around the various plumbing pipes (such as the blue pipe with the white top in the far right.   The shadow on the slab at the bottom left is all you are going to see of me!

Sill Seal

Before the walls go up, the walls receive a “Sill Seal” (the blue polystyrene strip shown partially loose on the bottom of the wall).  The bottom all the exterior walls receive this sill seal to help seal out any air leaks.  The corrugated side of the seal goes to the slab.    The Sill seal is attached with roofing nails placed every 24 inches.   

This one is loose because it was discovered that the notch for the electrical grounding rod would land on one of the studs.  The sill seal was loosened and the stud removed (the one laying at an angle) and will be relocated slightly.   Notchs are cut before the walls are installed.

Notched wall

This notch is bigger than needed because the first cut was not quite in the right place.  Notches are cut with the wall on the ground with a skill saw with two cuts from the edge, then knocked out with a hammer or a chisel if handy.   It is easier to get it right if the wall is lifted into place first, then marked, but this was a long wall so the position was calculated and slightly off.  In the end, the wall was lifted twice anyway.   You can see the top of  “cut nails” in between the studs.

Plumbing notches

These are notches cut out for the plumbing wall.  Plumbing walls are double walls and fit against the plumbing T shown in the first tutorial.  Notches don’t have to be pretty but should leave some wood for nailing to the concrete to stabilize the studs.  If necessary, the studs are relocated, and sometimes if a very short bottom plate is left after a big notch, a connecting board runs from one wall to the other to stabilize the hanging stud.

Plumbing wall installed

This is a plumbing wall installed.  It may not be the same wall as shown above, or the notches may have been cut all the way through.  See the cut nails in the blocks to keep the studs from moving on the two that are cut all the way through.   The larger white pipes will be cut off by the plumber for the toilet drain.    The mid size pipes are for sink drains and the blue wrapped pipes are cold water and the red marked ones for hot water.  It appears that someone is already marking stud locations on the concrete.      

Hurricane Straps

Hurricane straps are buried in the concrete and the ends left sticking up for use to hold down the walls.  I’m talking about the shiny strips hanging out of the wall at the bottom of the picture and also off the left side.  There is one on each side of the board at every location spaced about 4 feet apart.

 Hurricane straps installed

Every strap is bent tightly over the board and nailed, one to each side and 3 in each top.  The top nails are angled so they don’t hit the concrete.  8d nails are used here.   The straps are used to keep the walls from being easily lifted or pushed off the slab during high winds.   There are similar straps used at the tops of the walls to keep the roof trusses attached so that the entire house is locked down to the slab. 

Cut nail close up

This is a “cut nail”.  It is very hard and can be easily driven into concrete.  Safety goggles must be worn by anyone nearby when driving cut nails as they typically do not bend but break instead.  The edges are sharp enough to produce cuts on the skin if handled roughly so be careful.  The name comes from the way the nails are made.  They are stamped out (cut out) of sheet metal then hardened, whereas our other nails are cut and formed from wire rolls.   OK, a little more of me got into this picture.

 

Cut nails being driven

This is not the optimum hammer for driving cut nails but it is heavy enough to do the job.  There were a number of volunteers at work doing this job.  A cut nail goes into each gap between studs.  In this case this is a door opening so the nail goes into the space where the jack will sit on top of it.  Some end up in the middle of doorways where they are knocked out later – unavoidable when volunteers get ahead of instructions.  The nails are oriented to run with the grain to avoid splitting the wood.

Typical wall section

Here is a standing wall section, typical for those on the site.  Shown is a window unit in the middle with a wall brace running to a stake in the ground outside.  To the right is a wall T for the connecting wall running to the back and an adjoining door.   The wall T is oriented with the spacer to the back.   To the left is a wall T waiting for an interior wall to butt against it, with the spacer oriented to the front.  The walls are joined by nailing from the backside of the T into the end of the wall that runs up against it.     Running sections of walls are joined by nailing through the studs that make up the ends of the walls.  An example is the double stud to the left of the window.  This is two wall sections joined together.  A cap rail will be added to cap the wall which will span the wall end junctions so that they are firmly locked together.

If the walls are centered on the T’s they will eventually be perfectly vertical once the outside walls are straightened.  Never straighten an inside wall until all the outside walls are done as the walls will straighten naturally if they are attached properly to the T’s.   Notice the spacing on the cripples below the window.  They are spaced on 16″ centers with the adjoining studs and not just based on the window opening.  This provides uniform nailing points for the drywall and external sheathing.  There is an extra cripple on the right to get the spacing right.   Notice the hurricane straps about every 4 feet.  Notice the one on the far left is nailed up the side of the T rather than attempting to nail through the small opening which already has a strap.   This is OK.

Stacked walls waiting

Here are some interior walls stacked around waiting for installation. At some point the outside walls will be completed.  It is nice to have all the inside walls on the slab so that no wall is required to be lifted over the top of an exterior wall.     Even so, one wall ended up locked outside and had to be lifted over. 

Walls leaning against walls is one of the reasons for carefully bracing the walls with angled braces.   Also tired volunteers may decide to lean against a wall.  We don’t want it falling over with him/her on top of someone trapped outside.  Notice the one wall with a strip tacked across near the bottom.   This is temporary to stabilize the sections cut out for plumbing.

Stud marking

This photo illustrates stud marking.  Volunteers mark the location of every stud on the slab and on the cap plate of every wall, including the outside edge of the slab.  The intent is to make it easier to find the studs when the outside sheathing is going on and when the drywall is going on or up.

cap plate going on  

Here the cap plate is going on the top plate of the wall.   The cap plate ties walls together and straightens every joint.  They must bridge the ends of wall sections by at least 4 feet and they should aways end on a stud.    Cap plates should extend into a wall it butts into.  In the case above the 4 foot rule will be violated as the adjoining wall is closer then 4 feet.  The portion under his hand will be cut away to allow the cap plate from the adjoining wall to come through (someone, out of the picture, got ahead of himself?).   Is OK, can be fixed.

cap plate properly joining walls

Here is the cap plate properly installed.  It is the same spot.  The cap plate at the right was carefully cut to make room for the piece coming from the other wall.   Notice that the adjoining wall is tied to the running wall by overlapping the running wall top plate.  This prevents any movement of the two walls even in the worst of conditions.

Ladder headers

Here are two ladder headers for interior non-load bearing walls.  One runs to the hallway from a bedroom and the other into the master bath.   These differ from the drawing in my first tutorial as the wall serves as the header instead of the two by four illustrated in the drawing.   Notice the inside of the T to the left to catch the hall wall.   Nails are through the block to the end stud of the wall.    Notice the wider plumbing T through the doorway to the right.   Two walls will be placed on the plumbing T to make a 7″ wide space for piping.   There are other walls still stacked around in the back ground. 

The “41 LDR HDR” means build a ladder header 41 inches wide.  1.5″ wide Jack posts will go on each side of this frame reducing the space to 38 inches.  Then the interior door frame is made of two 3/4 inch wide boards reducing it again to 36.5 inches.   This leaves 1/2 inch clearance for aligning the door frame for a 36″ door.  Exterior doors headers are 41.5 inches wide to allow for the thicker door frames and the exterior headers are 10 inch wide boards spaced with a 1/2 inch plywood spacer instead of the cripples shown.

OSB installation

Debbie is installing metal strips that catch the OSB 4×8 sheets to be installed shortly.  The top of the metal strip is aligned with the top of the 2x4s.   The OSB rests in the J section in the bottom of the strip.   the strip fits closely against the 2×4 base plate and drops below it helping to seal the junction between teh plate and the concrete from windblown water.  The outside siding to be added later falls below this strip so no water collects anywhere it is not supposed to. There is already a crew installing the OSB behind her, out of the picture.  

OSB stands for “Oriented Strand Board”.   It is the pressed wood chip boards that are so commonly used today. The chips are placed more or less randomly but intentionally oriented to straighten the board in all directions then bonded together with an adhesive resin.   This manufactured sheet has the chips oriented one way on the outside and crosswise on the inside though a sifting process on the assembly line.  This is not left over pressed sawdust but instead is carefully engineered water resistant  manufactured wood.

 OSB before pressing

This is what OSB looks like (per copy from Wikipedia) before it is pressed.   Notice the slight change in color near the middle third of the board where the chip orientation is different.   The board is incredibly strong.

OSB being installed

Steve and others are installing the OSB.   The edges are nailed with 8d nails on 6 inch centers on all edges and 12 inch centers on the studs in the middle of the field.   Studs are marked on the slab beforehand with magic markers and a level is used to draw vertical lines for nailing in the fields.  Some OSB comes marked with the lines already drawn and a few experienced volunteers can find unmarked studs like radar.

It is necessary to remember that there are window or door openings and allow for nailing on 6 inch centers around those openings.   Notice the insulation showing in the T’s.

Mistake being fixed

Earlier we had to build an extra window frame because somehow we were short one (in another wall).  Later Nicole asked why there was no door leading outside the kitchen.   Oops, there was the missing window frame where a door should have gone.  The rouge window was removed.  In this picture the nails are still in place.  These were cut off with a metal cutting blade in a saws-all.   The extra door was still sitting on the ground outside (which should have been a clue).  We are all standing around guarding the opening so no one steps on the nails while the saw if found.

Door going in

Here Jeff positions the new door while Terry takes early advantage of the new opening.  The window at the left was originally built the same as the others, then shortened to a kitchen window so it would fit over the counter top and sink.  Additional Jacks and cripples made it easy.   Notice the plumbing in front of it.

Sill plate being cut out

Here the sill plate is being cut out.  The skill saw base plate is 1.5 inches wide so it is easy to use the stud as a guide.  The jack post that goes next to the stud is already ready to be put in.  It rests on the 1.5 inch piece remaining.  The saw blade is adjusted carefully so that it does not quite touch the concrete and the bottom board leveraged up to get it out.  Any cut nails in the concrete are loosed by hammer blows to the board beside them and they usually come up with the board or are broken off flush with the concrete.  Any remains are driven in.   A saws-all can do the job as well, but is harder to get a perfect cut.

Removing remaining

An old chisel is used to remove the remaining bits of wood after the sill is cut out with a skill saw.

Porch Beam Construction

Here the porch beam is being constructed (long boards in the foreground) while others finish up the OSB siding and stil others prepare the house for straightening the walls.  Notice the block of wood at the top right corner.  More about that later.   Notice that all the walls are up and capped and many of the braces appear to be removed.  Actually they have been moved inside and positioned so the walls can be braced in new positions that keep the walls perfectly straight all around.

Short end of porch beam

This is a view of the short end of the porch beam already in its “pocket”.   The components of the porch beam includes the two sides and the one across the front. The beams are 2x10s with a 1/2 inch plywood sandwiched inside and well nailed together.

Longer side, inside view

This is the other (longer side) of the porch beam side rails as it is being shoved into its pocket.  There are 2×4 boards being readied for temporary outside support.  Notice that the beam extends inside the house and into a built in pocket sized to keep it locked in place and stable.

Nailed in place

Nailing the porch beam in place.

Leveling the Beam 

The beam must be absolutely level!    Vertical braces are nailed on to the outside of the beam to stabilize it and supporting jacks nailed onto that.  The beam must support the roof trusses as they are hoisted up later without moving.

This beam was cut a little short when it was first made, a mix up in communications between the guy measuring and the guy cutting.  One was measuring between the inside of the  outer boards on the side beams and the other cutting to the end of the outside beam.  The result was a front beam that was 3.5 inches short.   The front beam should lie across the side beams but was adjusted to fit to the inside of the side beams due to the measurement problem.  1/2 inch spacers were used to make up the difference.  One result of all this is that the front overhang is a little wider than normal and the posts will sit a little closer to the house.    No real harm done and a couple of expensive boards saved.

Installing Deadwood

These fellows are installing “dead wood a.k.a. deadwood”.  On the ends of the house where the trusses run parallel to the house, the deadwood serves the purpose of giving a place to nail the edge of the roof truss to the frame of the house.  Deadwood also serves the purpose of providing a nailing strip for the ceiling drywall on that those ends of the house.  The dead wood is a 2×4 board positioned so that it overhangs the room below.  It is spaced from the edge of the wall by holding a short 2×4 board edgewise on the top outside edge of the cap plate.  See the picture above.  This spaces the board over by 1.5 inches giving a 2 inch nailing space on the cap plate and a 1.5 inch overhang that can be used to nail the ceiling drywall to.. 

The 1.5 inch wide roof truss fits down the outside (this side) of the dead wood and onto the cap plate so that the roof truss is in the same plane as the frame before the OSB goes on.  OSB also goes on the outside of the roof truss so that it all fits correctly.   The roof trusses are nailed directly to the deadwood and also toenailed to the frame.

Deadwood Installation

Well, after writing all that, I figured I was confusing any novice that came along so I created this drawing to illustrate what is going on.  The Wall stud, top plate, cap plate and the wall sheathing are all existing.  The edge of a 2×4 block is placed where the future roof truss will go and a 2×4 board is nailed onto the top plate as illustrated.   Later when the truss goes up, the bottom edge will be nailed to this dead wood and even later when the drywall goes up, the drywall will be nailed to the bottom edge of the overhanging deadwood.

Setting up deadwood

Travis shows the proper offset technique.

Setup for straightening walls

This is one end of the setup for straightening the walls.  There is a block like this at each end and a very tightly strung line.  The line goes over a nail on the far side and then is wrapped around a nail as shown so that the line does not need to be cut.  It will be moved around and used on each outside wall.  Generally the longest wall is done first.

Straightening the walls

This work is easiest done from the inside.  A board is moved along the wall inside of the string.  Any variation in the wall will show as a gap or a bowed out line.   Volunteers inside move 2×4 boards attached to a stud near the top of the wall pull or push the board until the board barely touches the line and then nail the board near the bottom of an adjacent wall or along the side of a butting wall, always at an angle sloping down.   When done with all the walls, the walls will be perfectly steady and vertical throughout the house.   Interior walls will generally be straightened as the outside walls are brought into plumb.

cross brace

The board angling down on the right is a temporary cross brace that holds the outside wall perfectly vertical.   It stays up until the roof trusses and decking are on.  Notice the dead wood overhanging the cap plate on this wall.

Wall bracing

When there are large areas with no interior walls to brace along or against, blocks of wood are cut nailed into the floor and wall braces attached to them.  The technique is to first attach near the top of the wall and then push/pull until the wall is straight using the pole and then nailing the pole to the side of the block on the floor. The man on the ladder is calling out instructions to push or pull.

Windows cut out

In most cases the windows are covered in OSB and cut out later.  Here a saws-all is used to cut around the inside of the frame.  A hole is started somewhere with a drill or through a gap in the wood or with the tip of the saws-all.   Cut a long arc to get to another edge then back track to cut the arc out.

deadwood on the porch beam

This picture shows several things.  Notice that a top plate and cap plate have been added to the porch beam.  Also deadwood has been added to the cap plate at the front.  The porch roof truss will be set in front of the deadwood (on the other side of the beam as shown).  Also notice the supports attached to stabilize the porch beam includes an angled 2×4 to keep it from twisting.

Safety truss brace

The tall pole at the side of the house is a very sturdy safety brace that will temporarily support the roof trusses as they go up.  The first roof truss will be hoisted up using long forked poles over the front of the house and slid back to be parallel with the side with the pole.  Then it will be lifted up and leaned against the pole and dropped into the pocket behind the deadwood.  Volunteers with ladders outside will nail the truss to the deadwood and to the top of the tall pole.  The following trusses will be nailed at the ends of the walls and tied to the first truss with temporary boards running across the tops of the trusses.  The tall pole is a safety device as the trusses can easily fall over until the roof decking is up and the trusses cross braced underneath.   The trusses are heavy enough that even one can severely injure someone and when they all fall over it can be deadly to several.

safety pole

Here is an inside view of the safety pole.  The piece of OSB attached near the top serves the purpose of matching the plane of the OSB on the bottom wall so that when the truss goes up, it will be vertical when it rests against the OSB on the pole.  The first truss will be firmly attached to the pole.

temporary walk beam

Here a temporary walk beam has been added over the living area.  It fits into a pocket at each end made up of a double jack below the beam and a 2×4 on the other side of the beam, locking it in.  The pocket is built at both ends and an extra support added in the middle and attached to the floor.   The beam is made of two 2×10’s with overlapping boards to get extra length.  This beam serves the purpose of giving the roof trusses a place to rest as they are hoisted over the front wall. 

The trusses are long enough to reach past each end of the house and as they go over the wall they can get overbalanced and fall in and fall on someone or scoot along the floor and possibly injure someone.  The beam holds that end up temporarily to allow the truss to rest and slide easily to the back.   The roof trusses are also shaped like an “A” and so even when they are completely across the house, the heavy top of the A can cause one to tip over and the top of the truss rotate and fall into the house.  The walk beam prevents that from happening too.  It is a sturdy safety device.  It will be removed after the roof is fully stabilized.

A good day's work

A good day’s work!    The house is ready for a roof!  Saturday May 17, 2008.   See your there?

Oldtimer

(corrections gratefully accepted)

 

Habitat Build 2008 First Day – Walls Go Up

Saturday, May 10 was the official start of the Presbyterian Coalition, Cobb Habitat for Humanity build in 2008.  This is the third article in this series, the first covering the Traditional Dinner on the Slab which includes a slide show of 25 pictures and introduces the future homeowner, Nicole Combs and her son Elijah.   The second article is the first in a series of a sort of Habitat Tutorial, Preparation for Build which covers some of the intense preparation that goes on behind the scenes before the volunteers show up.  I say “sort of” because I am not an expert, but willing to discuss the various Jobs assigned to me and/or learned over the years.  Hopefully most of it is close to right.

This article covers the first day the volunteers show up, and includes a slide show for the entire day with 115 photos, almost all including the volunteers.  My photo is hopefully the only one not included, as I am behind the camera.  To see the slide show of 115 pictures click here or on any picture below!

23 AM

This is the start of work, 8:23 AM.  Safety instructions and a pep talk have already been given by our SPM (Site Project Manager), Jeff Vanderlip.   That’s Jeff in the middle of the site with the orange shirt and big floppy hat.  The various top and bottom plates are still tacked together and strewn hap-hazardly all over the site.

The top and bottom plates are numbered and well marked so it doesn’t matter what order the walls are built or if anyone knows exactly what they are building.  Grab a set, pull it apart, remove the tack nails, lay them about 8 feet apart and start adding studs, T’s, doors and windows.   See the tutorial for good examples.

A good start

A half hour later, the walls are well on their way.  many of them are completed, including the addition of a sill seal foam tape (blue) on the bottom plate.   Some of the build is taking place in the driveway of the house in the background.   Often we take to the street.  To do a good job we do need a flat area so the components line up properly.  

Measure it twice

Measure it twice, cut once!   The gentleman on the left is our “cut man” for the day.  The one on the right is “Pretty Boy” Miller, also known as “9 fingers”.   He is our grand master of carpenters and a super-volunteer.

Getting Copies

The pictures shown here and in the slide show do not have the resolution you can get if you download them from the Flikr site.   Go to the slide show and click on the link at the top left of the slide show to get to the full set at high resolution, or click on any picture in the slide show and then click on View Main Page.  Once there, you can click on the button above the picture “All Sizes”.   It will open in the large size, but you can download any picture in any size free, or can order prints through the site that will be delivered in about an hour to your nearest Target store.  It’s not obvious how to get to the Target option. First put a print in your shopping cart.  When ready for checkout, you can send your prints to Target for printing for about 15 cents per copy or have them mailed to your home. 

In addition, you can go to “Zassle” and have T-shirts, coffee mugs etc. made with your favorite print.  Enjoy.  Below are selected prints but only a small sample of what is available for free download.

First Wall

First Wall

Nicole installs the first wall to go up!  This is always a photo opportunity and can’t be missed.  There are several other shots of this in the slide show.  The time is 9:09 AM, barely 46 minutes after we started!  The all important wall brace is being wrestled into place on the far left.   All the walls are braced by long 2×4’s to hold the walls vertical and to make sure they don’t get pushed over by loose walls stacked against them or a tired soul leaning heavily in the wrong place.  Long stakes are driven into the ground and the brace is poked through the top of a window or doorway, if available, and nailed at each end when the wall is perfectly vertical.

Second Wall

The second wall.  It includes a window unit and a couple of T’s.  This is the back of the house and includes the utility room and a bedroom.   Notice the brace at the left.  Another is being readied off camera for this wall.  There was no window or door in the first wall so the brace is through the wall itself.  The reason for using window and doors for the braces is so that later much of the outside sheathing can proceed without removing the braces.   

Neat Suspenders

Neat Suspenders. 

Time for a break

Time for a break.  Picture windows make good seats.   Don’t worry, I have front views of all these people in the slide show, including this one.  Hmmm, more suspenders.

Time for a break - another view 

OK, these oldtimer’s deserve more respect.  They are both Gray Ghosts and SPM’s as well.  The Gray Ghosts are generally expert carpenters and woodworkers that have retired but like to stay busy helping the Habitat cause move along.  When things don’t go right or don’t get finished, the SPM puts in a request for Gray Ghost help.  They slip in after the volunteers are gone, review the work and fix any problems or complete any incomplete work so that the job stays on schedule.  The volunteers may notice that someone finished the roof or fixed a window or completed a porch and wonder who did it.  The answer is always “a gray ghost”.  Unsung heroes to me.  There is no telling how many houses they have led and how many more they have worked on as ghosts.

Debbie Found Her Job

Hmm.  Looks like Debbie found her job!    Debbie is also an SPM and has already completed her house on this same street.  She has lead many houses for her local high school and now that she is retired, continues on.

Everybody's busy

Every body is busy. Except for me, of course.  I put the camera down from time to time to pick up my hammer, but to tell the truth, at my age, I can’t do that much anymore.   I did plaster a few OSB walls with nails pretty well however.  I’m trying to document the progress with the intention of keeping a working tutorial of the build.   Wish me luck.

Board Members

I believe the 5 people nearest the center of this picture are all board members or past members of the Presbyterian Coalition, 6 counting the guy behind the camera.  There are many more on the site today.  Everybody works.

Food on the way

Food on the way.  Hamburgers and Hot Dogs.   Each week a church has volunteered to fix the meal and serve drinks.   The assigned church also provides the opening prayer and the food blessing and often a devotional at lunch time.  First Presbyterian always provides the meal on the first day of build and Macland Presbyterian provides the meal for the last build day.   Often the meals are donated by local restaurants.  For example sometimes Papa John’s will provide free pizza dinners or perhaps Williams Brothers Bar-B-Que or Subway.   Others are home cooked or maybe sandwiches.  It doesn’t matter, we are so hungry you could serve worn out shoe leather and no one would complain.

Insulating the T's

This young lady is cutting insulation into strips to insulate the T’s.  All of the outside walls must be insulated and no exceptions are made for small gaps.  You may be able to see an insulted T in the far wall above her head.  The T’s and corner posts must be insulated now because the OSB sheathing will cover much of it before the day is over.   Another area to be insulated early will be the areas behind the tub enclosure before the tub goes in.   Insulation can be a problem if the various inspections delay us from getting other things done.  So very often a special day is set aside for a midweek day to insulate the walls.  It has to be done after the house is dried in and plumbing and electrical done,  but before the drywall goes up.

Our leader

This is our leader, our SPM.  Jeff Vanderlip, a tireless worker and hard task master.  Always urging us to “have fun” then assigns us the most dreadful tasks.

Terry cutting a window opening

This picture may look a little fuzzy but that is sawdust sprinkling down in front of Terry Barton’s face.  It is particularly fine sawdust because he is using a metal cutting blade to cut a window opening – it was all he could find.  I had a proper blade in my truck as did probably 5 others.   Terry is our finance officer and past president of the Coalition.   He is also a Master Gardner and does genetic family research on the side (or something like that).  Anyway he can tell you if you are related to Napoleon or the guy you thought was a great great grand daddy but you’re not certain.

Checking aleignment

Here the house frame is being straightened and aligned with the aid of a couple of blocks of wood and a tight string.  The block he is holding is positioned behind the string while others move braces inside the wall to bring the wall into perfect alignment.   The technique is to put blocks at each end of the top of the wall, tightly stretch a string between them and adjust the wall to a third block that is moved between the wall and the string.    The walls are virtually complete.

   Special selection

I was asked to capture these two together and just at that moment, one tried to get away.

There are about a hundred more pictures on the slide show and I’ve sort of randomly selected a few representative shots here.  There is another slide show coming up as part of the continuing tutorial if anyone is interested in that.  You would be amazed how many people visited last year’s pictures doing searches on construction such as “Hardi Plank” or “roofing” or “siding” or “framing”.  

Job Well Done

Completed walls

Well, here is the last picture for the  day.   The time is 3:10 PM and everybody is gone, some 7 hours after the official start of the day.   The house is sheathed, openings cut, all the walls are up and perfectly aligned, the porch beam is installed and the house is completely ready for the roof trusses that will go up next Saturday.   Incidentally, the pole at the end of the house is a safety pole to hold the first roof truss as it goes up and prevent it from toppling over.  The pole will remain in place until all the trusses are up and the roof completely braced and stable.   There is a catwalk used for safety purposes installed over the living room that I’ve not shown.  It will be in the tutorial and will come down after the trusses are in.  Safety is much more important than finishing the house.

Click here or on any picture for the slide show and for access to the full sets of pictures for free downloads or for ordering prints.

Enjoy,

Oldtimer

  

Habitat Tutorial – Preparation for Build

Prepartion for build

Layout on the Saturday before the first day of volunteer build.

Caution, take with a grain of salt.  This is from the experience of one volunteer, certainly not an expert and I will make errors.  Keep in mind also that other Habitat leaders may do things entirely different.    If you are looking for slide shows for the 2008 build, start with Dinner on the Slab.

Preparation for build could go all the way back to when Cobb Habitat began site selection through when the concrete or foundations are poured, street and utility construction and other site preparation.   I’m not going that far!  I have also left off details of squaring the slab which involves a careful analysis of the slab dimensions vs the house dimensions and then snapping lines that are perfectly perpendicular in all directions, matching the slab to the plans as best as possible. If the slab is perfectly rectangular and sized correctly, this is a no-brainer. 

Often the slab is not poured perfectly and there are edges that are bowed, edges that dip or turn out, and corners that are not square.  In addition, the middle of the slab can be bowed up (the usual case) or bowed down with resulting puddles after a rain to deal with.    All of these things must be dealt with by adjustments to the layout to accomodate the anomalies – the concrete is poured and hard, the plumbing is where it is, and the volunteers will show up next week, and nothing is going to be ripped up and repoured.  

This tutorial is, instead, a brief summary of the steps that the Site Project Manager (SPM) goes through with a few other volunteers to get the site ready for the volunteers first day of build.  I am also omitting the extra work necessary to build a floor deck in the situation of a house with a crawl space.  This year we are building on a slab withouth a crawl space, so that is all you get.

The previous Saturday several members of our group (The SPM, crew leaders and other invitees) met at the site and measured, “squared”, and “laid out: the site, meaning they checked the foundation and defined the outline of the home and all the interior walls.  This involves laying out every window, door and wall section and outlining them with chalk lines.  Corrections are made with different colored chalk and the final layout receives a clear waterproof spray in case of rain.

There were several problems to be overcome caused by the plumbers miscalculations that put the bathroom 2 feet into the living room and the utility plumbing outside the designated walls in several areas.   Our future homeowner, Nicole was on site and agreed to a bigger closet and a smaller living room and all the adjustments were made to her satisfaction. 

Unfortunately it rained in the middle of the layout, washing much of the markings away.  Since the team ran out of chalk colors (red blue and green) the final outline was done mostly in pencil.   That works too, if you have enough pencils as they wear quickly on concrete.

2×4 pressure treated boards are cut for each wall section to exactly fit the walls (ignoring door openings) and matching “white wood” (untreated) 2×4 boards are made for each one and tacked together in pairs.  The pressure treated boards go on the concrete and the white boards will go on the top of the walls.   Each board is numbered at each end and matching numbers are placed on the concrete between the drawn lines.   There are drawings below to illustrate all this.

The location of all wall studs are outlined on the edges of the two boards and “X” marks placed in the outlines.  The location of Jack studs (shorter studs inside of door and window frames) are marked with “J”. Doors, Windows and T’s and Ladder headers are also marked.   T’s are located at points where walls intersect.  Door types (left hand, right hand, width) and Window sizes are marked on the wall plates. 

The two boards representing a wall (or section of a longer wall) are then placed back into the outline and everything checked again against the print.  Each board has all the markings necessary for a group of volunteers to build that wall in a matter of a couple of minutes without any concern for where that wall will end up.  If they follow the markings the wall will have studs, the proper size door and/or window and all connecting T’s for any intersecting walls.  Any allowances for plumbing (such as slots or notches for pipes) will also be marked. 

In addition, the team builds all the “T’s, door frames, window frames and corners and stack them in a pile.

Marked top and bottom Plates

Here is a fictitious example of a set of plates that have been tacked together and marked.   Normally there is also a wall number on each end.  I’ve omitted that.   The pressure treated board goes next to the concrete on top of a foam strip (“Sill Seal”) that helps seal out moisture and air.   Door openings are cut away later.  X is marked for studs, J for Jacks, T’s are marked (see markings near right end above) and have an arrow on the plate to show which way it is to be oriented.  The size of the door or window is marked on the plates as well.

Corners and T's

These are a few of the components usually prepared before the volunteers show up.  They are build by volunteers during the layout day if they have time, and often finished by the “Gray Ghosts” if they don’t.  Sometimes a team of volunteers build them on the first day of build.  We like to have them ready beforehand if possible to speed things up.

Corners and T’s are built exactly the same except for the orientation of the boards between them.  Corners have the boards wide side to wide side between two studs.  T’s have them positioned narrow side to wide side as shown in the middle illustration.  Plumbing T’s need to be wider so the boards are turned lengthwise (7” long) and doubled up to give them more spacing.   The purpose of the T’s is to give intersecting walls a place to be nailed to. Plumbing T’s need extra space for vents and piping.

The T’s are inserted in a wall and then an intersecting wall fits against the wide part of the spacers and nailed from the back side.   Corner posts and T’s that are in outside walls are insulated.  There is an illustartion near the bottom of an assembled wall with a T.

Door Headers

These are two types of door headers, interior and exterior.  The widths of the interior doors vary greatly.   The headers for 3′ exterior doors are 1/2 inch longer than for 3′ interior doors.    The jacks are often left out of the sets made beforehand.   The doors are set in place in the walls, the walls nailed to the concrete and the opening cut with a Skill saw (carefully set to not ruin the blade) or a “saws-all”.   Leaving the jacks out allow a Skill saw to make the cut using the 1.5 inch guide on the saw.  If the jacks are in place, the saws-all does a good job of making the cut.   Ladder doors get their name from the series of “cripples” that form a ladder like shape.  Exterior doors are always 2 each 2×10 boards with a 1/2 inch plywood spacer between them.  The cripples are often inserted after the walls go up so that they can be matched to the nearest stud placement and to fit drywall or exterior sheathing.   Also, you may notice from the “live” pictures that come in the next tutorial, all the darkened wood in the ladder illustration is sometimes left out in the initial assembly and the top bar omitted entirely so the cripples extend to the top plate of the house frame. 

typical window header

This is a typical window header, often prepared ahead of time whenever possible.  The cripples are usually left off, measured and added after the walls are up and located such that they fall on 16″ centers to match the drywall or exterior sheathing after the wall goes in.  There are usually 3 or 4 sizes of windows in a typical Habitat house.  There is usually a “picture window” size, a shorter kitchen window for over the sink, and then the bedroom and side windows.  sometimes there may be another size for some special purpose, perhaps for a bathroom or next to a deck.

 assembled wall

Here is an assembled “fictitious wall” showing a match up of the plates and the assembled wall section.  Wall sections are butted together for longer walls and the top plates joined by an overlaping cap plate.  The end of an intersecting wall buts up to the near side of a T (in this case the side showing) and the nails are hammered in from the open back side.  Cap plates run from the intersecting wall and cross over to the continuing wall so that they are locked together.  Volunteers can assemble this wall in 2 or 3 minutes or someone that has never held a hammer may delay it for 4 or 5 minutes.  We wait for him/her and give much encouragement and help.  The idea is to have fun.  We are not on a real schedule.

When the volunteers show up, they are instructed to grab the tacked-together plates, separate them and start inserting studs, T’s, window and door units.  It takes all of 2 minutes for the whole slab to be covered with walls under construction.  Volunteers help each other with the more experienced crew leaders make final judgements.  The SPM usually resolves major problems quickly – such as a wall that intersects a door or a window where a door belongs, or a room with no door.  It happens.  The worst case is for windows and doors that arrive that are the wrong size for the frames that were built to the plan.  Tear out and redo is often the solution.

Completed walls are stacked outside on the dirt until they are all finished.  Then the walls for the exterior start to go up.  The first wall stops everything as everybody gathers for the photo-op.   Nicole was photographed driving in the final nail and helping position the wall.    Then the other walls were carried onto the site in an order designed to get them all into place without having to shove any over the top of a wall.   One was anyway.

Our volunteers started active work about 8:30 AM after prayers and safety instructions.  By 11:30 all the walls were up and lunch was served (hamburgers and hotdogs grilled on-site). 

By 3 PM all the walls had been sheaths and the frame squared and prepared for the A frames and roof, including the porch beams.

I’ll show pictures of all the various parts going into place in my next article – first day of build.

Next:  Build Day 1 – Walls go UP!

The next article will have pictures and slide show for the first day of build – the day the walls go up.  Watch for it here.

Oldtimer 

 

Habitat for Humanity – 2008 Dinner on the Slab

Friday night we had our traditional Dinner on the Slab with our Future Homeowner and her family.  

(If you just want to see the pictures, click any picture for a slide show and link to pictures you can copy.)

First let me explain what this is all about.  This blog is pretty much dedicated to the homeless, particularly homeless veterans and youth.  But not completely, as each year I take some time off to work on a Habitat for Humanity home and post a progress report with slideshows, tutorial and pictures of the events.   I’ll continue to add articles on homeless as I go along.   You can access the articles by category, using the links in the header or the tags and categories to find the topics you are interested in.  In general, you can find all Habitat for Humanity Articles here, all Homeless Veterans Articles here, All PSTD articles here, and all Homeless Youth Article here.  The links above and to the right allow you to also find my most popular articles.   When this is all done, you can find the 2008 Habitat Build here, or look at it on a running basis throughout the build.

This one is the first of a series of about a dozen articles on our current build.  It will carry you from the day before we start to build (todays article) all the way through the dedication ceremony and house warming.  If I do everything as planned, you will also get a “how to build a Habitat House Tutorial”.   To be taken with a grain of salt as I am certainly not an expert, but reporting what I experience and the various jobs I take on during the build.

Background

Here is a little background.  I am a member of Macland Prebyterian Church which is in return a member of the Presbyterian Coalition, Cobb Habitat for Humanity and I am their representative, a member of the board.    The Coalition is composed of  Presbyterian Churches in Cobb County, Georgia that raise money to sponsor one or two houses in our county each year.  We raise the money, about $55,000 to pay for the lot and any undonated materials.  We also build the house(s) and fund a number of houses in Kenya each year.    After Hurricane Dennis we also helped Cobb Disaster Recovery in rebuilding damaged homes in Cobb.

This year we will build one house in Cobb County, Georgia (our 22d house in Cobb so far) and seven in Kenya (total 32 in Kenya)!

Nicole Combs

Nicole Combs, Future Homeowner stands on the site of her new home

(Click on any picture to start slide show)

Elijah

This wonderful smiling face belongs to Elijah, Nicole’s son.  Some of the framing can be seen behind him

The future homeowner, Nicole Combs has a son Elijah, 7.  She will work on the house with our volunteers to get the house built.   Homeowners come up with a down payment, are required to work on other houses as well as  their own for some 200 hours of “sweat equity”.   For us, it is mission work, Christ’s command: help the needy!

The homeowner will actually sign a contract to buy the house at a greatly reduced price (compared to the appraised value)  and then make interest-free monthly payments until it is paid for.  Cobb Habitat for Humanity takes care of selecting the homeowners, purchasing the land and preparing the streets and lots prior to the volunteers (that’s us) coming in.  That includes getting either the concrete poured if it is to be built on a concrete floor,  or building a  block foundation if not.  In the latter case, a few people, men and women from our group go out and frame and deck the floor prior to the volunteers arriving.  

Schedule:  The build dates are Saturdays May 10, 17, 31 and June 14.   Then we go into blitz week where volunteers work all week to finish the house and landscaping June 16 through 21.  (We have skipped an extra weekend this year due to Memorial Day weekend.)

Location:  The site is located in the same subdivision as last year, but in the second phase of the development.  Mableton, Hillcrest Subdivision.  Take Barrett/East West Connector to Floyd Road, turn right, follow and continue as it changes to Mableton Parkway, turn right on South Gordon Road, then left on Hillcrest.  Look for a new subdivision on the left.about 8/10 mile from South Gordon Road.   About a 20 minute drive from our church.

Youth Take Notice:: The minimum age for the first four days is 16, 14 after that. (blitz week)   All young folks, guys and gals are all welcome if you meet the age requirements.   Drag your parents along!

 Dinner on the Slab

The Slab

Dinner on the Slab

Click on any picture or HERE for Slide Show

Dinner on the slab means bring a covered dish, utinsels to serve the dish and your own chair.  Anyone that wants to come are welcome.   We invite the future homeowner and their family and friends. 

Cobb Habitat has already poured the concrete and it is hardened and ready to build, so all we have to do is clear out an area big enough to set up tables and chairs.   There was chicken, bar-b-que, various salads and deserts, water, tea and soft drinks.  Also a few well chosen wines (OK by Presbyterian standards).

For most of us, this is our first opportunity to meet the new homeowner and family.   Nicole is going to be a joy to work with.  Elijah is very bright, energetic, and inquiring, wants to know everything that is going on.  

Copies of Pictures

To get copies of any picture, click on the slide show and look above the slide show and you wiil find a link to the group of pictues (“back to Habitat 2008 set”).    Or click on any picture during the slide show and it will stop and allow you to select that picture (View Main Page).   When you see a picture you like and you have it in your sights, look for a link above for a button that says all sizes.  From there you can choose vearious sizes including a very large one.   When you have the size you want, you can click download for a free copy.  Copy as many as you want.    Or here is a  direct link to the set.  Click on any picture for a larger view and copy insturctions.  Enjoy

Oldtimer

 

 

 

A Host of Friends by a Homeless Friend

A Poem by a Homeless Friend 

You have heard of me speaking of “Al”, one of our homeless friends, a veteran and a fine man, one of those evicted by Marietta on the eve of the coldest night of the year.  Held at gunpoint while receiving the eviction notice.  Despite the donated hat, he is an army veteran and loves his country.   Al turns out to be quite a poet.  He wrote one for our  missional team. 

Al Jorden, A homeless friend
Al Jordan, our homeless friend

“A HOST OF FRIENDS”

Friends are like an undying breed of loving hearts and caring needs
Hope of giving and sharing things
that only faith in each other brings
A friend is there night and day
to help chase your doubts away
So in my heart I know God is with me till the end.
So that is why I have a Host of Friends. — Al
 

Meet the Mayor and Council of the City That Doesn’t Care

Mayor and Council of Marietta Georgia 

City That Doesn’t Care

Mayor Dunaway is the one in the red tie.  He is one of the good ol’ boys of the community.

Left to Right in top picture with email addresses at popular request:

Holly Marie Walquist – Ward 3  hwalquist@mariettaga.gov

Irvan Alan Pearlberg – Ward 4  ipearlberg@mariettaga.gov

Rev. Anthony Coleman – Ward 5 acoleman@mariettaga.gov

Mayor Bill Dunaway  BDunaway@mariettaga.gov

Griffin Chalfant – Ward 2 gchalfant@mariettaga.gov

Annette Lewis – Ward 1 alewis@mariettaga.gov

Jim King – Ward 6 jimking@mariettaga.gov

Philip M. Goldstein-Ward 7 pgoldstein@mariettaga.gov

Ward 1 includes the site featured in the AJC article today “Marietta police clear out homeless” written by Yolanda Rodriguez  There you can find a gallery of pictures.

Ward 5 includes the site featured in most of my articles. It includes the area our homeless veteran friend Al and the recently deceased Dominic lived.

Oldtimer

Marietta Georgia – No compassion for homeless – NONE

The City of Marietta is evicting homeless from within our city limits.  Al, our homeless veteran friend that our church is trying its best to help reports that he and his friends, which are mostly homeless veterans, have been given notice to move “south”, meaning out of Marietta and toward Atlanta.

We have been helping Al and some of his friends in numerous ways.  Pat (see an earlier story on Pat here and her husband Scott and a few others in our church have been serving breakfast Sunday Mornings and later bringing some to our church for bible study and services, often treating them to lunch afterward.  Scott put Al in a hotel during the cold snap and the group has been taking supplies and clothing to them. 

Al has been faithful in attending, and as a result has taken to the idea that he can get out of this.  He no longer looks homeless, is neat, trimmed and dressed in his best clothes.  However, despite the information, forms, trips to the VA, Al still has not received his papers or his VA card.  He is still homeless.  He has said he has now committed to getting off the streets but has no place to go.

Above is one of the homeless camps being evicted by the City of Marietta.  This is an old photo taken from the air, but it also the site of Als current camp.   Believe it or not, this was found by use of the Hit and Visitor Map to the right of this blog.  It has zoom and several modes, including hybrid (satellite and road labeling), airborne, and “bird’s eye”.  I used the hybrid mode in zoom to find the general area, then switched to bird’s eye and quickly found his camp and 2 other camps.   Try it in your area (bird’s eye is not available in all areas, mostly metropolitan areas around large cities like Atlanta).  Look for blue tarps in mostly wooded areas.  Let me know if you find any. 

Now comes the City of Marietta.  They have systematically attacked the homeless camps within their city and have now worked their way to Als camp.  They did give them a little prior notice.  They were told that they are trespassing (wooded right of way of city) have to be packed up and moved out by Monday.  

Guess What?  Its snowing in Georgia.  The ground is covered.  A few will accept winter shelter but the beds are full.   They are totally dependent on MUST ministries a few blocks from their camp for food which MUST serves once a day on weekdays.   Nothing on weekends.

Moving means a miles long treck instead of a block or so walk.   The plan is obvious, make the homeless either seek shelter or get out.  Unfortunatly there are not enough beds to go around.  Not nearly enough.  So the plan is equally obvious – get out of our city

The city should provide facilities for these homeless before making them move.  They don’t.  They depend on MUST Ministries and a few other shelters that they have forced into industrial zones and have for the most part squelched expansion of facilities.  

Our city has decided to take the cheaper route – run them out of our city before they cost us money!  It also has another up side for the city:  Next year the homeless count will show another “remarkable” drop and no one will have to cook the books by redefining the homeless or unfinding any.  

Al works when he can find a job.  He doesn’t drink, doesn’t do drugs, has no noticeable mental problems.  He is a true walking hero with no place to go and our VA is not doing its duty.  Nor the VFW, nor our heartless City of Marietta.   He has fallen through the cracks and it makes me want to cry.

MUST Ministries, a block away from Al, serves Al a noon meal every week day. and  recently announced receiving grant money to set up transitional housing for veterans.   I’m sure they are hearing of the problem, but its been most of a week now since I left a message there for the program manager and sent a email inquiring about the program.  No response to the email and no returned call, and I know the guy, so he must be “out of pocket”.    MUST does do a wonderful job of helping feed and house the homeless and works tirelessly to serve them. 

Another mission, New Hope Missions reports that they are being swamped with homeless in the same desperate condition as Al.  New Hope serves about 125 breakfast and conducts services on Sunday and about half come from the area being evicted.  Some of them have to be out Wednesday.  Al has to be out Monday.

This is how not to minister to the homeless 

City of Marietta GA:  Shame!

Oldtimer

Souper Bowl Feb 3d 2008

2008 Souper Bowl of Caring

February 3d 2008

On February 3rd millions of people will tune into the Super Bowl game. At the same time, there will be nearly a million people in our country worrying about finding safe shelter and a hot meal.    In 2007, over 14,000 groups participated in the Souper Bowl of Caring, raising over $8 million dollars and collecting 2.8 million pounds of food. Visit the Souperbowl web site  for more information.    

  Click on the picture above or here for a brief video about this ministry.  You will enjoy this upbeat production that explains where the money goes and how to help.  

The Souperbowl resource center has materials you can download so that you can set up your own Souper Bowl party and/or start collecting.   You can collect locally and take the money directly to a local charity that is participating in this program or send it in.   If you don’t want to do that, you can volunteer to help.  They NEED you!   Find one near you here.

Here is a link to an interactive map with about 12,000 locations.  Zoom into your area, and hover your cursor over a dot and it will bring up information about one near you.   

Ever been Hungry?   Maybe once a day?

Really Really Hungry?  Maybe once a month?

How about all the time?

In 2006 in the USA:

• 37 million people were in poverty.
• 7.6  million families were in poverty.
• 20.2 million of people aged 18-64 were in poverty.
• 12.8 million children under the age of 18 were in poverty.
• 3.4 million seniors 65 and older were in poverty.

In 2006, 4.6 million households experienced very low food security   People that fall into this category have struggled with having enough food for the household, including cutting back or skipping meals on a frequent basis for both adults and children.

We/You can help!

Oldtimer

Surge Seen in Number of Homeless Veterans

Surge Seen in Number of Homeless Veterans

 Oldtimer’s Comment:  I’ve seen a number of these types of articles.   Although the estimates vary depending on the subject area from 400 to about 1500, the word on the street is that the returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are showing up in shelters much faster than in previous wars.  The problem stems from higher rates of PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury) which still take too long to diagnose, and which are resulting from the combined effect of IED’s and higher survival rates.    The VA has long under diagnosed these problems and only recently, after much heat, begun to actively pursue it. 

Photo by Jeff Swensen for The New York Times
Frederick Johnson, a veteran of the Iraq war, lives in temporary housing provided by the V.A. after spending a year on the streets.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 – More than 400 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have turned up homeless, and the Veterans Affairs Department and aid groups say they are bracing for a new surge in homeless veterans in the years ahead.

 

Photo by Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times
Joe Williams lives in a homeless shelter in Washington.

Experts who work with veterans say it often takes several years after leaving military service for veterans’ accumulating problems to push them into the streets. But some aid workers say the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans appear to be turning up sooner than the Vietnam veterans did.

“We’re beginning to see, across the country, the first trickle of this generation of warriors in homeless shelters,” said Phil Landis, chairman of Veterans Village of San Diego, a residence and counseling center. “But we anticipate that it’s going to be a tsunami.”

With more women serving in combat zones, the current wars are already resulting in a higher share of homeless women as well. They have an added risk factor: roughly 40 percent of the hundreds of homeless female veterans of recent wars have said they were sexually assaulted by American soldiers while in the military, officials said.

“Sexual abuse is a risk factor for homelessness,” Pete Dougherty, the V.A.’s director of homeless programs, said.

Special traits of the current wars may contribute to homelessness, including high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and traumatic brain injury, which can cause unstable behavior and substance abuse, and the long and repeated tours of duty, which can make the reintegration into families and work all the harder.

Frederick Johnson, 37, an Army reservist, slept in abandoned houses shortly after returning to Chester, Pa., from a year in Iraq, where he experienced daily mortar attacks and saw mangled bodies of soldiers and children. He started using crack cocaine and drinking, burning through $6,000 in savings.

“I cut myself off from my family and went from being a pleasant guy to wanting to rip your head off if you looked at me wrong,” Mr. Johnson said.

(…)  Read more about Fredrick at the link above

Poverty and high housing costs also contribute. The National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington will release a report on Thursday saying that among one million veterans who served after the Sept. 11 attacks, 72,000 are paying more than half their incomes for rent, leaving them highly vulnerable.

Mr. Dougherty of the V.A. said outreach officers, who visit shelters, soup kitchens and parks, had located about 1,500 returnees from Iraq or Afghanistan who seemed at high risk, though many had jobs. More than 400 have entered agency-supported residential programs around the country. No one knows how many others have not made contact with aid agencies.

More than 11 percent of the newly homeless veterans are women, Mr. Dougherty said, compared with 4 percent enrolled in such programs over all.

Veterans have long accounted for a high share of the nation’s homeless. Although they make up 11 percent of the adult population, they make up 26 percent of the homeless on any given day, the National Alliance report calculated.

Oldtimer’s comment:   My studies show that homeless male veterans make up 43% of the homeless male population, far in excess of what would be expected.

According to the V.A., some 196,000 veterans of all ages were homeless on any given night in 2006. That represents a decline from about 250,000 a decade back, Mr. Dougherty said, as housing and medical programs grew and older veterans died.

Oldtimer’s comment:  Oops!  That is a deliberately misleading statement.   A GAO report states that the drop from 250,000 a decade ago was due to a major change in how homeless veterans are counted.   While it is true that our older veterans are dieing off, many more veterans are joining the ranks of the homeless and make up for it.  There has been no real decline, and actually there has been a steady increase in the percentage of homeless veterans vs the overall population of veterans.

The most troubling face of homelessness has been the chronic cases, those who live in the streets or shelters for more than year. Some 44,000 to 64,000 veterans fit that category, according to the National Alliance study.

On Wednesday, the Bush administration announced what it described as “remarkable progress” for the chronic homeless. Alphonso R. Jackson, the secretary of housing and urban development, said a new policy of bringing the long-term homeless directly into housing, backed by supporting services, had put more than 20,000, or about 12 percent, into permanent or transitional homes.

Oldtimer’s comment:  I’m not sure where these numbers come from.  It appears the HUD secretary is talking about all chronic homeless, not just veterans.   20,000 is 12% of 166,000, which is about right for the chronic homeless for the entire homeless population. To get a feel for progress among veterans, see the following two paragraphs.

Veterans have been among the beneficiaries, but Mary Cunningham, director of the research institute of the National Alliance and chief author of their report, said the share of supported housing marked for veterans was low.

A collaborative program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the V.A. has developed 1,780 such units. The National Alliance said the number needed to grow by 25,000.

Mr. Dougherty described the large and growing efforts the V.A. was making to prevent homelessness including offering two years of free medical care and identifying psychological and substance abuse problems early.

Oldtimer’s Comment:  ‘Bout Time!

(…)

Vigil honors homeless who died

Vigil honors homeless who died

Last night was the longest night of the year.  It was also Homeless Memorial Day corresponding to the first day of winter.    All across the country there were candlelight memorial services to honor the homeless that died in 2007.   Many died unknown, others had touched lives while living and had many friends that cared.  Sadly, some are still out there in the woods somewhere covered in leaves or snow where they fell.

Most died without any particular notice or ceremony despite having been born into loving families, having brothers and sisters and other loved ones somewhere, most not knowing of the passing.   Some never loved and always negelected, some mentally ill to the point that no one was allowed near in lifetime, often refusing help.  So sad.  The following story was printed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper today.   I’m proud that someone took the time to record this service for the passing homeless.

By GAYLE WHITE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 12/21/07

As the longest night of the year fell on Atlanta, about 100 people gathered on the edge of downtown Friday to light candles honoring the homeless dead.   In the chill of the evening, with MARTA trains rumbling by, they paid tribute to people most never knew.

 

Photo by Allen Sullivan/AJC   People gather during a vigil at Saint Joseph’s Mercy Care Services on Friday for homeless people who have died this year in Atlanta. Candles were lit for 55 people that died on the streets or in shelters.
 

Photo by Allen Sullivan/AJC    Sonja Mason (right) and others gather during a vigil at Saint Joseph’s Mercy Care Services on Friday.

“When homeless folks die, they just die,” said Robert Mason, director of community relations for St. Joseph’s Mercy Care Services, sponsor of the vigil, which took place outside its Decatur Street headquarters. “We want to bring attention to those folks who have passed in a quiet death and call their names.”

They sounded out 65 names in all- men and women who lived on the streets and in shelters, who were mentally ill, drug-addicted or just down on their luck.

Stacey Fortner

On a brutally cold day last winter, Fortner climbed a fence to huddle outside Central Presbyterian Church, where she often found friendship, doughnuts and hot coffee.

In her 40s, she was a “sweet lady” who was developmentally disabled, mentally ill and had abused drugs, said the Rev. Andy Gans, then director of the church’s outreach center. She was frequently robbed of the money from her disability check, he said, so she survived by prostitution.

Early one morning, Gans said, she told him she was tired of selling herself and tired of doing drugs. For hours he and his co-workers tried to find a rehabilitation program for her, to no avail. That evening, she stayed, as she always did, under an interstate overpass.

That cold day last winter, workers called 911 and sent her to Grady Memorial Hospital. Gans was with her when she died the next night.

Tim Green

Green was living with a girlfriend earlier this year after five years on the streets.   From 2002 until early 2007, he had stayed at shelters and had eaten in soup kitchens.

He had once abused drugs, said Al Wright, director of communications and security at Crossroads Community Ministries, Atlanta, but lately he was clean and sober.

On Oct. 17, Green came to Crossroads to spend time with Wright, who had known him for more than 10 years-from a time when Green had a job and a home.

“He sat here with me all day and we just talked and laughed and talked about old times,” said Wright, who added he believed Green was 43.  The next morning, Green was cooking breakfast when he dropped to the floor, the victim of an apparent heart attack. Efforts to revive him failed.

(…)  There are other stories and other related articles at the AJC. 

Next year maybe there will be more candlelight vigils.  I know there will be more homeless to honor – there always are.

Oldtimer

Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program 28 cents a day per vet

Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program

US Department Of Labor HVRP Fact Sheet

Oldtimer’s comment:  You must read to the bottom of this to get the whole story, my fact checker. 

The purpose of the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) is to provide services to assist in reintegrating homeless veterans into meaningful employment within the labor force and to stimulate the development of effective service delivery systems that will address the complex problems facing homeless veterans.

HVRP was initially authorized under Section 738 of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act in July 1987. It is currently authorized under Title 38 U.S.C. Section 2021, as added by Section 5 of Public Law 107-95, the Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act of 2001. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis to eligible applicants such as: State and local Workforce Investment Boards, public agencies, for-profit/commercial entities, and non-profit organizations, including faith based and community based organizations.

Grantees provide an array of services utilizing a case management approach that directly assists homeless veterans as well as provide critical linkages for a variety of supportive services available in their local communities. The program is “employment focused” and veterans receive the employment and training services they need in order to re-enter the labor force. Job placement, training, job development, career counseling, resume preparation, are among the services that are provided.

Supportive services such as clothing, provision of or referral to temporary, transitional, and permanent housing, referral to medical and substance abuse treatment, and transportation assistance are also provided to meet the needs of this target group.

Since its inception, HVRP has featured an outreach component using veterans who themselves have experienced homelessness. In recent years, this successful technique was modified to allow the programs to utilize formerly homeless veterans in various other positions where there is direct client contact such as counseling, peer coaching, intake, and follow-up services.

The emphasis on helping homeless veterans get and retain jobs is enhanced through many linkages and coordination with various veterans’ services programs and organizations such as the Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program and Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives stationed in the local employment service offices of the State Workforce Agencies, Workforce Investment Boards, One-Stop Centers, Veterans’ Workforce Investment Program, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services.

For more information about U.S. Department of Labor employment and training programs for veterans, contact the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service office nearest you, listed in the phone book under United States Government, U.S. Department of Labor or at this link.

———————————————————————— 

Oldtimer’s comment:  The above is copied in full from the Dept of Labor at the link at the beginning of this post.  There are other services and publications available as links at the same site.  Worth a look-see if you are a homeless veteran or know of one in your community.  

However, they farm all of this stuff out to certain areas of the country through grants to a few private and public organizations in 30 states.  Most areas have no such programs, including 20 entire states that received no funding.

I took the liberty of looking up the grants provided by this program. 

In 2007 they provided 87 grants totaling 20 Million dollars and some change.  The grants went to such places as Goodwill ($1.54 Million), Nashville’s Operation Stand down ($300,000), both of  which Wanderingvet, our homeless veteran friend, either wrote about or visited.  I’m not sure that he would claim we get our money’s worth.  Some city, county and state govenments benefitted.  The HVF mentioned in a previous post was not listed among the grantees. 

There were 12,877 planned enrollments which are expected to result in 9113 employments, at a cost of $2226 per placement at an average salary of $9.87 and hour.   The highest rate was $11.50 and the lowest $6.95 an hour.  Cost of placement varies by location.  Nevada for example can employ a veteran at a cost of $971 while others go as high as more than $5000 per placement such as in California.

OK Department of Labor:  What are you going to do if the other 190,000 homeless veterans show up?  It is gonna be a long line.  You have funded $101.42  per homeless vet.  That works out to 27.7 cents per day!   Pencil and a few sheets of paper anyone?

Creative Commons photo provided courtesy of [martin]

Department of Labor:  You are not doing enough for our homeless heroes!

Oldtimer

News Flash! Army Reports on Delayed PTSD

Delayed PTSD, Depression,

Family Conflict Data Revealed

Picture by AlyssaAS

Picture by icolman (Creative Commons License – Find it Here)

This study reported in Army.Mil/News found that out of 88,000 returning Iraq war soldiers given Post-Deployment Health Assessments (PDHA), only 4 to 5% of the soldiers assessed in the 18 months prior to Dec 2006 were found to have PTSD, but 3 to 6 months later that number jumped to 20.3 % for active duty soldiers and to an alarming 42.4% for reserve-component soldiers.

We are talking about the same soldiers, delayed PTSD symptoms.   There were other delayed complications/symptoms.  Reported depression symptoms doubled and family conflicts rose from 3.5 to 14 % active duty and from 4.2 to 21.2 % for reserve-component soldiers.

Here is the report:

Army Study Finds Delayed Combat Stress Reporting

Nov 14, 2007
BY Elizabeth M. Lorge

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 14, 2007) – In a study that will appear in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” Wednesday, Army medical officials examined increased Soldier-reported mental-health concerns in mandatory post-deployment health screenings.

Cols. Charles Milliken, M.D. and Charles W. Hoge, M.D., two of the study’s authors, found that between the initial Post-Deployment Health Assessment and the Post-Deployment Health Re-assessment three to six months later, Soldiers are more likely to report signs of post-combat stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“These efforts are about taking better care of Soldiers,”said Col. Milliken, the principal investigator at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research’s Division of Psychiatry and Neuroscience during a media roundtable at the Pentagon Friday. “What we’re hoping to do with the screenings is detect mental health problems while they are still small, simple and temporary. When these problems get bigger and more complicated, they are much harder to treat and it increases the likelihood that they will become a chronic, long-term problem.”

The study examined the assessments of 88,235 Iraq veterans completed between June 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006, and found that while only 4 to 5 percent of Soldiers were referred for mental healthcare on the PDHA, three to six months later that number jumped to 20.3 percent for active-duty Soldiers and 42.4 percent for reserve-component Soldiers.

The second set of numbers encompasses the PDHA, PDHRA and Soldiers who were under mental-health care because of self-referral or employee-assistance referrals. According to Col. Milliken, these Soldiers were not necessarily diagnosed with PTSD, but they were exhibiting symptoms that were serious enough that a medical provider wanted to have them evaluated.

Similarly, symptoms of depression reported on the PDHA rose from 5 percent to 10 percent on the PDHRA.

The highest jump the study found between the PDHA and PDHRA were reports of conflict with family and friends. This rose from 3.5 to 14 percent for active-duty Soldiers and 4.2 to 21.1 percent for reserve-component Soldiers.

Although the study didn’t examine causes and effects, Brig. Gen. Stephen L. Jones, assistant surgeon general for force protection, who has deployed twice, suggested Friday that the PDHA numbers may simply be skewed because Soldiers are so happy to go home and haven’t yet interacted with their families.

“When you come back, you’re feeling great, almost euphoric. You don’t have any problems in the world. You’re just glad to be home. And then over the next three-four weeks, you re-establish relationships with your family and the normal stress everybody feels when they return home starts to surface. This is a normal, adaptive response and we would expect the stress levels at home to go up,” he said.

The disparity between active and Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers was a bit more challenging for the study’s authors, especially because they determined that combat exposure for Reserve and National Guard Soldiers was virtually identical to that of active-duty Soldiers, and they reported more physical health concerns as well.

Col. Milliken believes this may be due to the differences in health coverage for reserve-component and active-duty Soldiers. Active-duty Soldiers can go to sick call any time, so he said they may not feel as pressed to report every little concern, but Reserve and National Guard Soldiers only have six months of TRICARE coverage when they return and two years of Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. After that, the VA will pay for service-related injuries or illnesses, if they are documented on forms like the PDHRA.

The PDHRA adds a question about alcohol use, and while 11.8 percent of Soldiers admitted that they might be misusing it, only 0.2 percent of these were referred for a treatment program and still fewer were seen within 90 days.

While acknowledging the Army has a long way to go when it comes to alcohol treatment, and sight the lack of confidentiality as a real roadblock, both Brig. Gen. Jones and Col. Milliken said they were encouraged that so many Soldiers were even willing to report that they had a problem, because the PDHRA becomes part of a Soldier’s permanent medical record.

They also believe that the Army’s efforts to reduce the stigma around PTSD and seeking mental-health assistance, including the chain-teaching and Battlemind programs, are working.

“I think this study shows that we’ve done a pretty good job of reducing the stigma,” said Brig. Gen. Jones. “There’s several factors. Number one: the fact that over half the Soldiers who seek behavioral-health counseling do so within 30 days of the survey and do so on their own. They go in on their own and ask for the counseling. I think the response we’ve gotten to our Soldiers stepping up and saying yeah, I’d like some help is another indication that we’ve helped reduce that stigma.”

Oldtimer’s note:  The picture above is not part of the article.  Taken at the Korean War Memorial, it was released under creative commons license by icolman

Donations for Robbed Habitat Homeowner Roll In

Our logoA few weeks ago I reported here that our local Habitat For Humanity Homeowner, Joi had her storage bin broken into and all her household belongings cleaned out – stolen.  Hers was one of 18 units broken into over that weekend.   She had worked on her home with us not knowing that her belongings were already stolen.

Now there is some good news.  The following is an email I received from Pat  Shankle, owner of Georgia Home Staging this morning.  A link to Pat’s web site is in the blogroll to the right.

Good morning everyone.
I’m so excited!  A member of our church has donated ALL BRAND NEW furniture for Joi’s house.  We have a brand new complete living room set, dining room set, Master Bedroom, Guest Bedroom and home office set up. Other donated items we have rec’d are:  dishes, flatware, knives, washer, dryer, misc accessory items.

Mostly what we need now is money so that I can purchase towels, sheets and other misc staple items.    

In addition to that, I know that there have been some monetary donations totaling enough to finish out the home.   

A very dark hour has been turned into a bright new day, a blessing, a dream come true.   Thanks be to God.  Pat had volunteered to “stage” the house even before the robbery, then she took up the flag and began a march to find replacement furniture – not just any old thing someone wanted to get rid of.  Pat wanted to look at it and make sure it would fit in with the other donated things and would be enjoyed by Joi and her family.   Thank you Pat.   And thanks to all of our Macland Presbyterian Church members that have worked so hard to help Pat and Joi out.  And thank you, whoever in our church that donated the furniture.  What a blessing you have bestowed.   My “helping others” admonition in a recent post is hereby retrieved.  We do help others in this neck of the woods!

The house has been completely roofed and dried in last time I was there.   This Saturday is the beginning of “blitz week” for our builders, all volunteers from the 10 churches that make up our Presbyterian Coalition.   We have had a week of rest while contractors come in to do those things that either require licensing, (such as plumbing, electrical, heating and air) or specialized gifts such as installing drywall and kitchen and bath cabinets and flooring.   

Habitat is blessed with sponsors that will give up much or all of their profit to help in this great mission.  For example, Whirlpool gives the stove, dishwasher and refrigerator free for every Habitat house built in the country.   A wonderful gift that they have been doing for as many years as I can remember. 

We are blessed with a drywall supplier that installs the drywall at no cost other than the discounted cost of the drywall itself.    The architectural drawings and landscaping plans are often donated and a landscaper shows up at no charge to help with the planting.

 This coming Saturday, June 9th we will be doing siding installation (hardi-plank), interior door installation and painting, interior and exterior.  As soon as a wall is finished with siding, the joints are caulked and the paint starts going on.  Everything, inside and out gets two coats. 

Then we go all week, June 11 through June 16, every day until the house is finished.   It is more of the same – siding, interior doors – painting and trim work.  The last day, June 16 is reserved for landscaping.  Planting shrubs, trees, flowers and putting down sod.  Typically the sod is bermuda grass in big rolls, sometimes pads.   When all this is done, it will be a real house.  When the dedication is done, and Joi moves in, it becomes a home.

If you are in this neck of the woods, come on out!   Directions are on the Presbyterian Coalition Habitat link in the blogroll.