Housing & Food for Those In Need

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 amazing to realize 1st U and the other congregations comprising Habitat Interfaith Alliance (HIA), will be starting our 17th home! Toward that end, the Habitat Task Force (HTF) continues its work for the 2017-’18 year as our build cycle begins again. Each year HIA must raise $85,000 for a home sponsorship.
TASK FORCE UPDATES—we have a NEW CHAIR PERSON!  After more than a decade of leading the Habitat Task Force , Crystal Reser and Molly Frank will hand over the reigns to BRUCE WELLS.   Bruce has extensive experience with the work of Habitat for Humanity and is one of the “blue hats”, meaning that he’s a regular builder with special expertise and works closely with the construction teams. He was also the chair person of another Habitat coalition at his previous church, and led this group for many successful years of Habitat building. Please welcome Bruce to his new role, and thank you Bruce!
Molly and Crystal will continue helping with task force operations where needed and attend the HTF meetings. They will remain 1st Universalist’s representatives to HIA which meets once a month. Crystal will also continue serving as the treasurer of the HIA group.
Our “Home Team”, as we like to refer to the HTF, has several other dedicated members:
Joan McInnes—attends the Social Justice Council Meetings and oversees the monthly Habitat coffee sales.
Alan Schlessman
Mary Anne Shube
Rick Shube
**A big thank-you goes to these folks!**
We are always eager to welcome new folks to the work of the task force, so please consider reaching out to one of the HTS members if you’d like to join us or need more information.
SPECIAL EVENT—The home for the Chaied Family, our 16th home, was completed in August and the family will be moving in some time in the next few weeks.  We will have a DEDICATION CEREMONY with the family, at their residence, in mid-October. All 1st U members and friends are invited to attend. Once the date it determined, we will publicize the details—stay tuned!
FUNDRAISERS —Coming this year will be some of our favorite events:
Habitat Soup Cook-off and Dinner—early 2018
The Rabbi Black Concert Event—spring 2018
The Habitat GOLF Classic—June 2018
HIA is working on other new and exciting fundraisers/events as well. The HTF will publicize details as they become available, so please be on the lookout and support where you’re able. As always, we SO APPRECIATE the generosity of our 1st U members and friends, making the work of Habitat for Humanity possible. THANK YOU!
Previous Updates:
Habitat Task Force and our partners at Habitat Interfaith Alliance continue construction on our 16th home. This home is being built for Ali and Huda Chaied and their 3 young children.
We are planning another 1st U build day on July 15th!  Sign up online here. The photos are from the 1st U build day on May 20th. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Alan Hanson and his son Evan build a paver patios in front of each townhouse.


Gary Reser and Jimmy, a new member of First U, help another Habitat homeowner put in landscaping rocks.
Our HIA homeowner Huda Chaied, gave Crystal and Gary a tour of her home. We are standing at the back door. She is SO excited!
The First U crew at the May 20th Habitat build at Sheridan Square.

Meet our 2017 Habitat family!  On April 8th Habitat Interfaith Alliance  began 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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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.  


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.