Danny Martenson (left) and Scott Hardy work on the roof of a new Habitat for Humanity home, located on First Street in Cassopolis. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)
Danny Martenson (left) and Scott Hardy work on the roof of a new Habitat for Humanity home, located on First Street in Cassopolis. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Archived Story

Habitat for Humanity nearing construction blitz for new home

Published 8:00am Friday, August 15, 2014

Only a week away from their latest building frenzy, the Habitat of Humanity of Cass County is as strong as it has ever been.

Volunteers from around the community are helping construct a new, three-bedroom home for Theresa Fessenden and her three children, ages 11, 9 and 7, at the corner of First and Pearl streets in Cassopolis. The organization will hold a “framing blitz” for the project on Aug. 22-24, where they expect between 10 and 20 volunteers to complete the majority of the work in a single weekend.

The Fessendens were selected from a pool of applicants for the home earlier this year by a committee with the organization, said board member Monica Kennedy.

“To know they’re going to have a new, safe home to grow up in, it makes you feel good, to give them that sense of security,” Kennedy said.

This is the third house that the local division of the national housing organization has raised in the village. In total, they have funded and organized the construction of 13 other homes for
low-income families, including one in Marcellus, one in Edwardsburg and 11 in Dowagiac.

Since the addition of new members to their eight-member board, including Kennedy, this past year, the organization is more devoted than ever to assisting local families in finding stable homes to settle in. In addition to increasing the frequency of new projects from once every other year to once a year, they are also looking to increase the number of homes built outside of Dowagiac.

“We [the board] work well together,” Kennedy said. “There’s a real excitement to start building in other communities.”

Families applying for a home from Habitat are required to pass a credit check. Once construction is completed, the families pay the home mortgage, which is serviced interest-free by Habitat, as well as for utilities, insurance and other fees.

“It’s a hand up, not a hand out,” Kennedy said.

The upcoming blitz will be coordinated by Adam Dahlgren, the contractor in charge construction. Several companies and organizations have agreed to provide meals for volunteers, including Midwest Energy and United Methodist Church.

“It’s exciting to see a lot of progress completed in a short amount of time,” said Habitat President Heather Carter.

Construction on the new home, which will cost between $75,000 and $85,000, is expected to be completed by the end of October.

People interested in volunteering or donating to Habitat are encouraged to call the organization at (269) 359-0828.

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