Drexel Launches Charitable Homebuilding Initiative

Originally published by: LBM JournalApril 7, 2021

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Drexel Building Supply has introduced a new charitable initiative: the PAULS Program. Through this build-one-give-one program, Drexel clients have the opportunity to shelter a family in need across the world.

Drexel charity logo

To participate in the program, Drexel announced, homeowners or builders commit to building a new single-family home using Drexel’s design, supply, and offsite construction services. Once the home project is approved, Drexel will sponsor a newly-built home for a family in need through its nonprofit partner, Overture International. Overture’s mission is to empower families in Haiti living in extreme poverty through sustainable social, community and economic development. The first international community receiving aid from the PAULS program is Haiti. To kickstart the program, Drexel has donated eight homes, one for each of its eight Wisconsin locations.

“In Haiti, the needs are real,” said Joel Fleischman, Drexel’s president. “There are hundreds of families in need of sustainable housing. Through this program, we can supply happiness by providing quality homes to those in need while also helping boost local economies by generating jobs to build and maintain the homes.”

Lisa Hyatt, executive director of Overture International, added, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Drexel Building Supply to expand the opportunities for housing, jobs, and skill building to the people of Haiti. Collaboration is one of Overture’s key strategies, and working with partners like Drexel makes our mission of sustainable development in Haiti even more achievable.”

PAULS, which stands for “People Advanced in Using Lumber Systems,” got its start during a conversation between Fleischman and long-time Drexel customer Paul Krause.

Fleischman asked Krause, who was in the late stages of terminal cancer, what he thought of offsite construction. Otherwise known as panelization, offsite construction involves Drexel assembling the framing components of a home in an offsite warehouse and later assembling them at the home’s job site. Krause responded emphatically that offsite construction would be a boon to the industry, particularly for small home builders.

Shortly after this conversation, Fleischman conceived a charitable operation that would encourage offsite construction. He added, “There was no doubt in my mind. We would move forward with an offsite construction initiative. And when we pulled it off, we would call it PAULS in his honor.”

Homeowners and builders who are interested in participating in the PAULS program can visit the program’s website, www.pauls.homes, for more information and program guidelines.