McCall Homes 2nd Home for Hope Announced In The Billings Gazette
2nd house planned to help impoverished entrepreneurs in Billings
A Billings home builder, with the help of others, built more than a house in 2014.
McCall Homes in Billings partnered with subcontractors and vendors to construct a house in Josephine Crossing. Much of the labor was done pro bono, with the materials donated or provided at a discounted rate.
When the house sold, one family got a nice place to live. And the $169,000 in profits went to HOPE International, a nonprofit ministry that provides micro-loans to entrepreneurs in 16 developing countries.
That money has gone through multiple loan cycles, with over 6,000 families benefiting from the Homes for Hope program, Greg McCall told an attentive audience Thursday at a trade partner luncheon at McCall Homes. And 98 percent of those loans have been repaid.
“So this isn’t really a donation,” McCall said. “In my mind it’s an investment in somebody else’s future.”
McCall and his wife, Erin, talked about the work of Homes for Hope, a program of Pennsylvania-based HOPE International. And they invited guests to partner with them on building a second home to benefit the ministry.
The single-family dwelling will be the first home built in Annafeld, the McCalls’ brand-new subdivision south of Elysian Road, along the western edge of Hogan Slough.
Those at the luncheon adjourned to the home site after the luncheon for a ceremonial groundbreaking.
Toward the start of the event, McCall asked how many of those in the audience had been part of building the first house. About half those present raised their hand.
He thanked them, and told his audience that Hope International is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
“It invests in the dreams of families in under-served areas with loans as small as $50,” he said.
Erin McCall told the story of one woman, Teresa Bautista, who lives in the Dominican Republic and benefited from the sale of the home in Josephine Crossing.
Greg and Erin took a trip to that country a couple of years ago to see the work of Hope International. Bautista, a grandmother, took out a small loan to buy a foot-action sewing machine that helped her expand her business.
The walls of her home were made of tin, with a roof that leaked and a dirt floor, Erin McCall said. But Bautista was making a living.
“And the joy on her face, affirming her ability to provide for her own family, was astounding,” she said.
With the profits from her business, Bautista has been able to afford health care, take care of her family’s needs and make significant improvements to her home. She recently took out her 14th loan for $475 — more than 10 times larger than her first.
Other speakers at the event included Paul and Cindy Marty, HOPE International’s first two missionaries who spent 10 years in the Ukraine. They partnered with Pennsylvania homebuilder Jeff Rutt in 2007 to start the ministry.
“Having the opportunity to help people bring themselves out of poverty is such an amazing thing,” Paul Marty said.
He rarely hears people in poverty plead for money. Instead, they want access to medical services, education and a chance to support their families.
It’s giving a hand up, not a handout, he said. “It’s about restoring dignity.”
“One of the things we learned working with clients was that people are just like you and me, they have the same desires, homes and dreams,” Marty said. “But they’re just not able to do any thing about it because they’re stuck in a cycle of poverty.”
All it takes, he said, is a small investment to alter the course of their life. Marty talked about one Ukrainian woman who “had an entrepreneurial spark in her.”
She sold milk for a living, and to expand her business, borrowed $100. The woman repaid her loan, and then asked for another one to buy a machine that makes sour cream, to boost her profits.
A few months later, she came up with an idea to sell cement at her booth in the market. That succeeded, and then she asked for a loan to build a kiosk on the street.
“She has done really well for herself,” Marty said. “She transformed her business to one that employs 50 people and has branches throughout the city.”
Since Homes for Hope started in 1998, more than 100 homes have been built, generating more than $10 million in revenue and creating thousands of loans for people like Bautista and the woman from the Ukraine.
“It’s an amazing thing to be part of,” Marty said.