Habitat Interfaith Alliance Task Force
We work in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver to:
- Continue to share leadership in the Habitat Interfaith Alliance.
- Continue to partner with Habitat for Humanity to address the affordable-housing shortage in our area.
- Strengthen interfaith ties so that we continue to become a recognized force for justice by the various faith groups in our community.
- Provide opportunities to participate in activities which increase the availability of decent, affordable housing.
Habitat update from the Social Justice Matters Newsletter:
It’s time to meet our new 2017 Habitat family! Beginning April 8th Habitat Interfaith Alliance will begin building a home for Ali and Huda Chaied and their 3 young children. Ali has a college degree in journalism from a university in Iraq and is bilingual in Arabic and English. When the US entered Iraq in 2003, he worked for 5 years with the US Department of Defense. Then from 2008-11 he was hired as a translator for the US military. When the US military left Iraq in 2011, he and his family applied for a special immigration Visa, designed to help Iraqi interpreters and their families to immigrate to the US. It took almost 2 years to receive the Visa after completing the application and his family immigrated in 2012.
Here is an excerpt of an interview with Ali that took place in March 2017:
- Why did you decide to leave Iraq and immigrate to the United States?
I decided to leave for safety reasons and a better future for my family. My life was in danger because of my work with the US military forces; the Iraqis did not trust me. Even my own extended family was not supportive of my work. During my one week off each month while returning to my family, I faced significant dangers from my own people. My family lived many miles away from the military compound and I had to take local cabs to go back and forth from work to home. In 2005, twenty-one Iraqi interpreters were murdered, having been given up by their drivers to the Iraqi extremists.
- As an immigrant to the US, what have been the greatest challenges you and your family have faced?
The cultural challenges have been the biggest challenge for us; leaving everything we knew behind and trying to adjust to a very different lifestyle in the US. Leaving our families behind, learning a new language for my wife, trying to be a good role model for our three young children and figuring out how to be successful here have been huge priorities for us. At first I found work as a stocker at Wal-Mart during the days and in hospital security during the evenings. Eventually I found employment as a security guard with the Denver Post, while also working as a translator for the Denver Public Schools. My wife is hoping to continue her education here in Elementary Education in order to become a kindergarten teacher. I am studying to take the GRE exam and will apply for a Masters degree in International Relations this fall
- What has surprised you the most about living in the US?
I am most surprised that people here are so human, welcoming and helpful. The message we got in Iraq was very negative about Americans but we have not found this to be true at all. We are so grateful to everyone who has welcomed us and shown such kindness. We are so happy to begin our partnership with Habitat Interfaith Alliance as together we build our new home at Sheridan Square this spring.
The CONSTRUCTION of Ali and Huda’s home begins April 8th thru July at Sheridan Square near Lowell Blvd. and Highway 285. Please visit the website: www.hia.denver.volunteerhub.com to volunteer. We would like to get many 1st U members out to build on Saturday, May 6th or Saturday May 20th. Please consider signing up for one of those days!
The Habitat GOLF CLASSIC FUNDRAISER is fast approaching on Monday June 12th. If you know of a potential business sponsor for the event or have a high-end auction item to donate, please contact Crystal or Molly. Thanks!
Integrated Family Community Services
We have a long standing partnership with IFCS, including the weekly collection of non-perishable foods, clothing, toiletries and other necessities, and some household items. This partnership also includes a number of our members who volunteer with IFCS.
For more information, email our office staff to put you in contact with Jean James.