SAINTS teams with Habitat for Humanity Intl. to add security to those who need a helping hand. The p
Hard work, dedication and ownership are the reasons why Colin and Mercedes Baynes have stepped out of their dilapidated apartment, and over the threshold of their brand-new home in Harlem. This dream of homeownership has been realized thanks to the philanthropic efforts of Habitat for Humanity Intl. (HFHI) and its New York City affiliate. The newly built abode is a far cry from the Baynes’ former residence—a dwelling plagued by a leaky ceiling, loosely fit windows and unsightly rodents. What troubled the couple even more was the level of crime that enveloped the neighborhood. This past year, the Baynes’ 5-year-old son discovered a dead body following a shooting in the area.
So, when the couple learned they would be required to devote 600 hours of sweat equity toward the construction of their Habitat home, they knew it was a small price to pay for a safer living environment. Habitat’s deep-rooted humanitarian gestures have compelled the Safety, Awareness and Independence Now Through Security (SAINTS) Coalition to partner with the organization and the security industry to donate both equipment and labor to the foundation. The program has already generated support from both dealers and manufacturers, with Brink’s Home Security and ADT Security Services joining the cause.
The SAINTS Foundation was established as an expansion of the SAINTS program, which donates burglar and fire alarm systems to churches affiliated with the Congress of National Black Churches (NBC) Church Rebuilding and Arson Prevention program.
Habitat for Humanity Intl. is an ecumenical Christian organization devoted to eradicating poverty housing by building and selling homes to partner families at no profit with zero-interest mortgages. Millard Fuller and his wife, Linda, founded the organization.
As for SAINTS’ new venture, the organization and HFHI estimate the donation could reach $9.7 million during the first year of the partnership. This level of donation would place the SAINTS Foundation in the Cornerstone Society of HFHI’s “More Than Houses”: Rebuilding Our Communities campaign, which is chaired by Jack Kemp, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
SAINTS Foundation, Habitat Talk Alliance
Spearheading the alliance is Ron Spiller, executive director of the Security Industry Association (SIA) in Alexandria, Va., and president of the SAINTS Foundation. In the past eight months, he has been able to coordinate donations of equipment and services from leading U.S. dealers and manufacturers, beginning with Brink’s and ADT.
HFHI and SAINTS plan on marrying each of Habitat’s U.S. affiliates with installing companies both large and small.
If Habitat Builds It, Security Will Come
“At first, I was very apprehensive because, although SAINTS has [worked on] about 50 churches, it’s been mostly smaller alarm companies that worked on these churches, and most of them are in rural areas,” Spiller says. “When Habitat officials contacted me about their program, they said they were contemplating building 4,500 units in the next year. I was thinking, ‘Well, 50 units is one thing, but 4,500 is something else.'”
Thus, without making any firm commitments, Spiller decided to talk to some of the national companies, especially if these projects would necessitate multiple numbers of houses in large, metropolitan areas like New York.
Manufacturers Add to the Altruistic Mix
With key alarm dealers on board, the next step was to solicit the help of security manufacturers. Spiller had no difficulty piquing the interest of Securitron Magnlock, an ASSA ABLOY Group Co., in Sparks, Nev., or NAPCO Security Group of Amityville, N.Y. In fact, Bob Cook, CEO of Securitron, traveled to HFHI’s headquarters in Americus to tour the offices and meet with Founder Millard Fuller.
Habitat Hammers Out Details of the Program
Once the key players were in place, the next step was to work out the logistics of the program and set a few ground rules. Each participating installing company will receive a list from SAINTS/Habitat indicating the number of homes to be built, along with construction dates. It will be up to the SAINTS Foundation to designate a regional dealer for areas in which HFHI will build units.
Designing a Blueprint for Donation Packages
Depending on the size of the home, SAINTS and HFHI have created different types of security donation packages. A standard donated burglar/fire alarm system on a 1,200-square-foot HFHI home includes: one control panel, siren and PIR, two wired smoke detectors, two keypads, and up to two door contacts, along with related hardware/wiring.
An HFHI apartment measuring 500 to 1,000 square feet includes: one control panel, siren and PIR, two wired smoke detectors, one keypad and one door contact, along with related hardware/wiring.
HFHI Leaves Need for Security Up to Affiliates
The affiliates and the homeowners ultimately choose what they will or will not put in their homes; no matter if it’s an alarm system or a light fixture that may be donated. Therefore, it’s up to the individual affiliate to make the call. For example, Whirlpool is a major contributor, donating stoves and refrigerators; however, it’s up to the affiliates whether or not they want to accept all or part of the donation.
Security Kits Made Available to Existing Homeowners
SAINTS’ collaboration with Habitat has paved the way for new opportunities that will benefit the security industry and HFHI families. The foundation has proposed offering SAINTS Security Kits for existing HFHI homes. The same systems that are available to new homeowners would also be extended to an existing homeowner at a lower price.
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