Habitat ground-breaking

Mounds of dirt were piled up by the bulldozer at 258 East Second Street, the future site of a Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio home. The ground breaking began on June 11, with Ed Richards Thrivent Financial Associate, Cody Rutter Construction Manager, Mike Cooper Ohio Operating Engineers, Blake Richards Thrivent Financial Associate, and Caitlyn Breeze, Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio Director of Community Engagement.

LOGAN — Not many people get to physically build their own home, but recipients of homes from the Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio (HFHSEO) have had this life-changing experience.

On Tuesday, the local Habitat for Humanity literally broke ground at 258 East Second Street for a new home in Logan.

Within about 16 weeks, a new family will move into the home. Before that time, builders, planners, managers, churches and neighbors, will all be onsite Wednesdays through Saturdays making this dream come true.

The name of the family has not been released just yet, but will be soon. After committing to the “sweat equity hours,” the family will be heavily involved in building their home.

To make this home happen, a large sponsor stepped up. Thrivent Financial, a national group who has given over $3 million to community projects, is giving to this effort, as well.

“This is Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio’s first opportunity to partner with Thrivent on a build! We are extremely grateful for Blake and Ed Richards, our local Thrivent representatives, for this opportunity,” commented Caitlyn Breeze, Director of Community Engagement for HFHSEO.

“We’re donating $35,000 to this project,” shared Ed Richards, Thrivent Financial Associate of Logan.

Richards and his son Blake Richards, also a Financial Associate of Logan, explained that Thrivent Financial partners with Habitat for Humanity, a Christian organization, just as they are. They support a number of organizations across the country with their donations and Habitat for Humanity is one of them.

Through their “Live Generously” programming, Thrivent Financial is able to partner with and support charities across the U.S.

The “Live Generously” campaign is showcased around town by gray t-shirts with the heart and cross logo. Thrivent Financial is planning to give them out to as many people as possible who are working on the 258 East Second Street home.

HFHSEO is a non-profit housing organization, under the leadership of a local 15-member board.

The homes are a result of locally raised funds and locally worked hours. However, the program is an international initiative that goes back to the days of 1976.

The average cost of a home that is built in Logan is $70,000, according to the HFHSEO website.

Families are accepted after an application process, based on their ability to pay a mortgage, their interest in doing “sweat equity hours,” and proven financial need. When a family is approved for a new home, they get to use 250 hours of time spent on the build in lieu of a down payment and a no interest mortgage.

The community pulls together to build the home. Community sponsors and volunteers are mainly groups from the local Hocking County churches, however anyone is accepted.

“We have built six homes in Hocking County and this will be our seventh. The lot (where the current home is being built) was donated to us by a local family,” shared Breeze.

One of the other substantial donors, is Ohio Operating Engineers, who has donated time and skills to Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio for every build including this new one. Mike Cooper started this project by donating his time on the bulldozer to prepare the site.

A number of volunteers, especially those with construction experience, are a volatile part of each project. Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged, even if they have no construction skills. Teenagers as young as 16 years old are also eligible to help. The atmosphere is a great place to learn.

Building brand new homes is not the only program that Habitat for Humanity offers. They also provide home repair, and a small loan program.

The Habitat Critical Home Repair program allows senior citizens, those affected by disability or a family circumstance causing struggles to apply for up to $5,000 to make repairs that affect quality of living.

The Micro-financing program is to loan up to $1,500 for minor home improvement projects. A simple online application is available for all three programs.

Numerous research reports support that there are increased levels of self esteem among those who own their own homes. Higher self esteem drives motivation and motivation drives the quality of life in a community. Home ownership is an opportunity that builds much more than just a roof over a head; it builds a community of hope.

The 258 East Main Street construction will be taking place over the summer months with a celebration at the finale of the project, for everyone involved.

Additional information is available at www.habitatseo.org or by contacting Caitlyn Breeze, Director of Community Engagement for HFHSEO at 740-592-0032.

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