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     Poverty is a problem that strikes at the heart of America. It hits home so hard because it is everybody's problem. It doesn't just affect those involved, but it stretches to affect all Americans. Impoverished individuals often end up in the streets or on government programs. Their houses are neglected of repair because of their lack of resources. Due to the amount of people without lodging, Habitat for Humanity was created a program to provide adequate lodging for these less fortunate people.

     Habitat for Humanity had two different service learning options to choose from. The first was the Habitat build where the participants actually helped to build a house for someone who would receive it at a discounted rate. The other group was the windshield survey group, which had the task to determine the amount of sub-standard housing in Milledgeville.

     The windshield survey was very demanding of all who participated, but the process worked very well. At first, the determination of the amount of substandard housing in Milledgeville seemed insurmountable; but with careful planning and fastidious students, all the challenges were met. The first task of the windshield survey was to get into groups. Then each group would choose a map grid to patrol. While patrolling down the street, if someone noticed a substandard house then they would fill out the check sheet that we created for the task. We continued doing this until we catalogued every substandard house on the street, and then we moved on.

     There are several things that we looked for to determine whether the house was substandard or not. The first thing we looked at was the foundation. If there was deterioration of the piers or the house seemed unstable then we checked those boxes. We then looked at the roof to see if there was any material damaged on the roof. Secondly, we looked at the porch and framework of the house. We looked to see if the frame was rotten, if there were boards missing, or if appeared to be collapsing (or near collapsing). Next, we inspected the windows and the window frames. If there was broken or missing glass, or if the windows were boarded then we marked those on the check sheet. The last thing we noticed was occupancy of the house. We had to determine if the house was occupied and if there appeared to be a lot of brush around the house. These were all factors that went into determining if the house was substandard.

     The purpose of doing this survey was far reaching. The first group that it helps is Habitat for Humanity. With the knowledge of the amount of substandard housing found in the Milledgeville area, Habitat can now begin to notice specifically what areas need new housing. Habitat can also infer from the statistics just how bad the housing situation really is in Milledgeville. The second group that these statistics help is the city. The city doesnft even know how many condemned houses there are. With this information they can infer how bad the housing situation is, which will possibly aid in future city planning.

     Thomas More's Utopia is formed around the idea of each individual working for the good of the whole community. This concept of improving the state of the community through the contribution of others is the focus of Habitat for Humanity. The information gained from our work on the Windshield Survey will facilitate this gradual improvement. The Windshield Survey's completion will also serve as the first step toward reaching our local Habitat for Humanity's ultimate Utopian goal: the elimination of substandard housing in Milledgeville, Georgia. If this relatively small yet significant goal can be achieved, surely it can be reached all over the nation, one that has always strived to be a utopia.

     Habitat for Humanity was created in an attempt to relieve the thousands of poverty stricken citizens living in unlivable conditions. With the help of the Windshield Survey, the goal of the hardworking volunteers involved in the project will be made more attainable and reached more quickly and with less difficulty. The information provided by the Windshield Survey team will even reach beyond Habitat for Humanity, being useful to the city of Milledgeville, Georgia itself. Hopefully the completion of the survey will ultimately be one small contributing factor to the complete elimination of substandard housing around the globe.