LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Habitat for Humanity, a program is well known for building homes for those in need, is building a hostel in Lake County to house volunteers.
The organization is renovating a 14,000-square-foot church property on Bay Street in Eustis for what it is calling a volunteer village.
The building was purchased with a low-interest loan from the Florida Community Load Fund. Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter will use $300,000 from its reserves to renovate the building.
"Government can't provide the answers for everything so why not mobilize volunteers to be able to do things in the community," said Kent Adcock, with Habitat for Humanity.
Adcock said he and his board have a vision for the property. That vision includes rooms for 100 volunteers who can eat and sleep at the facility. They'll even be able to relax in the media or game room when they aren't volunteering on a Habitat home or community project.
"But they're going to come in, they are going to work for three days really strong and solid and then they'll take three days and they'll tour the area and spend money in our community," said Adcock.
Adcock calls it "voluntourism."
He said he believes that church and civic organizations will not only participate, but pay a fee to support their food and housing while they do it.
According to Adcock, they've done it before post-Katrina on the Gulf Coast when Habitat had more volunteers than space to house them.
He said he doesn't believe central Florida has to face a disaster for the hostel idea to work. He said that it will sustain itself once starts operating.
The hostel is expected to open in the spring.