Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity are hammering away at their 28th house in Warren County.
“Habitat here was founded in 1996 and we built our first house in Warren County in 1998,” said Habitat for Humanity board president Steve Koelbl as he assisted with the latest build for Kathy Morton and grandson, Tyler, on Willow Run.
Habitat for Humanity is a faith-based international organization that seeks to help in building and renovating houses for families that qualify based on income and need. Habitat’s ultimate goal is to completely eliminate poverty housing and homelessness. Habitat was founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller and his wife, Linda. Since that time, there have been 1,500 affiliates around the world and 800,000 homes had been built as of 2014.
Calling their mission a “hand up not a hand out,” the families who get help from the organization both participate in the build and are expected to pay for the houses.
“The family will contribute 300 hours,” Koelbl said, noting adults are expected to contribute at least 100 hours of “sweat equity” (service work) apiece.
The houses are built with volunteer labor. The completed houses are sold and financed over 20 to 30 years and are interest free. The monthly house payment is used to finance the construction of more houses.
Koelbl said the dedication estimate for the three-bedroom, two-bath Willow Run house is June 28. Numerous volunteers will work during that time. The walls were raised by JROTC, Oasis, and Clark Construction but other volunteers will come along and work on the various areas of the house as work continues on weekends.
“I think this is awesome,” said Kathy Morton as she served lunch to the volunteers. “I loved watching as the walls went up. All the volunteers working together has been great. It’s really a community effort and we’re so appreciative.”
Habitat accepts all the help it can get, whether it be volunteer labor, contribution of materials or land, or even monetary donations. Habitat also operates Warren County Habitat for Humanity Restore, located at 191 Industrial Drive in the old cheese plant building. People may donate items to sell there or may come by and buy items. The proceeds go to Habitat.
The Habitat Restore is open Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.