Newest Habitat house under way soon

Published 12:22 am Thursday, April 3, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Although a few weeks delayed, construction work on this year's Niles/Buchanan Habitat for Humanity house is likely to begin by mid-April, former Habitat President Eleanor Fisher said Wednesday.
This year's ground breaking, which was the Habitat's 19th, took place March 22, at 904 Broadway St., Niles, and construction work was supposed to have started by April 1, she said.
However, the work has been delayed because a few more details remain to be worked out with the city before workers can start building the house, she said.
Rodney Kirkendoll and his family were selected as this year's partner family for a home on a Habitat meeting on Oct. 12 last year.
The family of five, who have lived in an apartment for a long time, look forward to finally being able to move into their own, new home.
Kirkendoll Sr., who is employed at Super Target in Mishawaka, Ind., and is a minister of the Gospel affiliated with the Word of Truth in Benton Harbor, is looking forward to the day when the walls are erected and his family's new house starts to take shape.
The Kirkendoll family, however, are not the only ones receiving help from the Habitat for Humanity organization.
The organization recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and has affiliates worldwide.
When Habitat projects happen in big cities, whole sub-divisions can be erected in a short time, Fisher said.
Habitat for Humanity offers no-interest loans and volunteers principally build the houses.
That way, mortgage payments can be kept reasonable for those unable to obtain conventional financing for a home.
A family, however, must prove its need for adequate shelter, the ability to pay the no-interest mortgage and a willingness to partner with the organization by contributing with work on their own house, as well as other houses the Habitat builds.
Adults must contribute 250 hours of their own free time, called "sweat equity", as one part of fulfilling Habitat requirements, Fisher said.
Although construction work hasn't started yet, efforts are being made to ensure the Kirkendoll's new house will be finished and ready to move into by the end of June.
Because of the construction delay, Fisher said volunteers might have to put in an extra effort to get the house done in time.
Volunteers usually spend Saturdays working on these projects, but with the delay, Fisher said they might have to work on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to make up for lost time.
Getting the house done in time shouldn't be a problem, however, for a group that has 25-30 people actively participating during construction.
But in the end, it's not all about building houses, Fisher said. "Two thirds of it is getting to know and work with the families," she said.