Tribune-Courier General Manager
Marshall County Habitat for Humanity has acquired property on Elm Street in Benton and is in the process of purchasing a larger plot of land in Calvert City off Cherrywood Drive.
After a hiatus, the group has re-energized itself with a new board of directors, new bylaws and a renewed eagerness to start building. What the group needs now is twofold, according to Tom Hiter, the group’s executive director.
“First of all we need applications from potential residents. This is a partnership, not a charity. We need people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and help build not only their own house, but also the homes of other Habitat dwellers,” said Hiter.
Hiter said income criteria for Habitat families is computed using federal poverty guidelines with local variables factored into the equation. Monthly mortgage rates generally range between two to three hundred dollars.
Once approved for a home, families’ names are placed on a waiting list. In the meantime, they are expected to contribute volunteer efforts to help build other homes that may be in process or are planned. This “sweat equity” is in addition to a monthly mortgage payment.
Hiter said the group is also looking for both skilled tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians, as well as people who may not be skilled, but want to help.
“We also need people who can swing a hammer and whose hearts are in the right place,” said Hiter. This is a great place to learn some skills.”
The group hopes to assemble three work crews with a combination of skilled trades and volunteers.
“We need people who know how to organize a crew, sequence the delivery of materials and who have experience with construction,” said Hiter.
Finally, Hiter said in-kind donations of construction materials and cash donations are needed. “Habitat for Humanity is about community,” he said. “We try to keep the cost of the houses we build as low as possible, so everything donated helps us do that.”
Since 1980 Marshall County Habitat for Humanity has built 16 homes. Hiter said families have managed to pay off six of them and others are in the process of doing so.
Board members in addition to Hiter are Melanie Chambers, past president, Judy James, secretary and Ralph Howard, treasurer Other members include Millie Hiter, Shannon Story, John Ward and Marlie Conner.
Anyone interested in volunteering should call Shannon Story at 859-333-0191.
Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 in Americus Georgia to provide simple, decent and affordable housing for low income families. Worldwide, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 600,000 houses on five continents.