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'He’s the first one on the site, last one to leave': Jimmy Carter's lasting legacy at Habitat for Humanity

Jason Barlow, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, says the former president used action to advocate for affordable housing.

PHOENIX — For nearly five decades Habitat for Humanity has been building homes and transforming lives with the help of volunteers.

Likely their most well-known volunteer – former President Jimmy Carter.

“He really got Habitat for Humanity going in its early stages," said Jason Barlow. President/CEO of Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona.

President Carter, a longtime advocate for affordable housing, has put in the work.

“I think he’s built close to 4,400 homes with over 100,000 volunteer hours and so forth,” said Barlow. “People have told me he’s the hardest worker. He’s the first one on the site. He’s the last one to leave.”

All to help those who need a hand up every now and then. Like Arlan Allen, an Army veteran who received a new roof thanks to volunteers.

“It renews your hope in people. There’s a lot of people who care out there,” said Arlan Allen. “It’s not a job for these people. This is a passion.”

A passion - President Carter - helped ignite.

“I’ve met quite a few people that say that President Carter was the reason they volunteer with Habitat. Isn’t that an amazing thing?” said Barlow.

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