Building a house

May 23, 2024

By Jeff Becraft


It takes time to build a house.

It is a process. And each step is extremely important.

You start out by preparing the land and preparing the ground. Some people may say, “Well, that’s not the house… you’re just digging in the dirt. Well, if you don’t dig in the dirt, you’re not going to get a proper foundation. So, the preparation of the ground is very important to the house and a very important piece of the house.

After that you lay the foundation. If the foundation isn’t right, then nothing else is going to be right. So obviously, it’s extremely important to lay a proper foundation. Now, you really can’t see much at this point… as far as it looking like a house.  But it is vital.

And we are not just talking about houses with brick and mortar; we are talking about other aspects of building a house… like setting the atmosphere.

At Our Place of Hope we are building a Clubhouse for those living with mental illness. “A clubhouse?” you might ask. Yeah… that’s what I said when I first joined up with this team. This is not a clubhouse where people just hang out. No… it’s a clubhouse because everyone is a member. Everyone has value and everyone is needed and the atmosphere involves meaningful work and meaningful relationships. It is a place where people living with mental illness are not called “client” or “patient”… everyone is a member and they are treated as a person.  As one of my friends says, “They are given the sacred dignity to contribute to other people’s lives.”

We had one mother say to us recently that since becoming part of Our Place of Hope, her son “has just been a different person. He opens up, he smiles, he seems happy. He has a sense of belonging.”

That’s part of building a house.

It’s part of setting the atmosphere. One member will ask me each time they show up, “How many people are coming today?” And each time I’ll give the exact same answer: “I don’t know… what I do know is that every person who walks through that door is important.”

So as we talk about building a house, it is not just about building a house. It could be a house… but the same principles apply to other things. It could be a business, it could be a home, it could be a family, it could be a society.

And when we do build a “house,” we need to treat each step as important and use the proper building materials. And part of that is setting the atmosphere.

If we just focus on the “brick and mortar” of things, we could be missing the most important pieces of the process.


Jeff Becraft is the Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Our Place of Hope is a paradigm shift for people living with mental illness that encourages them to regain meaning, purpose, and hope for their lives. You can connect with Jeff at  [email protected].