For the next 4 months Chris remained in New Orleans assisting Katrina victims with rebuilding their homes through organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Collins was asked to train 100 new recruits a week to build shotgun homes for New Orleans residents all over the city. During his time there he was fortunate enough to visit over 3,000 homes and share his vision for the H.O.P.E program. While assisting with rebuilding the homes in Louisiana Chris received his first request to build a home out of recyclable metal back home in Bloomington. Ecstatic by the opportunity Chris called his team members back home and put in the order while he remained with the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
One afternoon during his lunch break Chris decided to call Mr. Phil Heston, CEO of Miller Compressing Company, to share his vision for H.O.P.E. At first Chris was a little intimidated by Mr. Heston because of his many accomplishments and grand reputation. Mr. Heston assured Chris he had nothing to fear and that his dream was safe with him. After that conversation Mr.Heston became a mentor and business adviser for H.O.P.E and began to strategically guide Mr. Collins on the right path. In 2007, Mr. Collins put together a board meeting which included the city council of Bloomington, Mr. Heston, and few others. By the end of the meeting everyone was very impressed and wanted to see a finished product for themselves.
Towards the end of 2008 there was a massive flood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Chris worked closely with a new found friend named Jennifer to study how the state would go about rebuilding… after witnessing the disaster in New Orleans. For the next six months, he witnessed how this green initiative for Cedar Rapids got passed and funded by the federal government. In 6 months he watched this initiative blossom and re-establish the residences of Iowa. To this day the program is building 100’s more homes per year. This program inspired Chris tremendously and provided him with a business model for H.O.P.E as well.
In 2009 Chris built a 1800 square foot home and a 1200 square foot commercial building, out of cold rolled steel, which was recycled from car parts from Hurricane Katrina. The commercial building became Monster Pawn in Bloomington, which has recently expanded their operations into Peoria. Chris Collins has a great idea to train underprivileged citizens and provide them with a new trade, while also rebuilding homes for the homeless around the world. To join Chris in his big global movement to save the homeless by providing them with an opportunity to learn a skilled trade, where they’ll be able to build, live in & purchase their own home, visit www.httprogram.org to learn more on how you can offer H.O.P.E. to the hopeless!