01/02/06 — Habitat, builders plan blitz this June

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Habitat, builders plan blitz this June

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 2, 2006 1:50 PM

Professional home builders and Habitat for Humanity volunteers will build a house in one week this summer.

The Wayne County effort is part of a national project, Home Builders Blitz for Habitat for Humanity, scheduled for June 5-9. During that week, 1,000 houses will be built for needy families in communities around the country.

The Homebuilders Assoc-iation of Wayne County has done a blitz build previously, but this is the first time for Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro and Wayne County.

The Wayne project will involve only one house, but Habitat Construction Supervisor Bill Edgerton said several big cities in the state, like Raleigh and Charlotte, have committed to put up 30 each. Raleigh homebuilders, which has done three blitz builds, made the recommendation to the national organization to undertake the project nationally. The first year the Raleigh builders did the project, 12 homes went up, with 24 built the following year. Each house goes up in a week or less.

Edgerton said planning has already begun for the Wayne project, headed up locally by Ken Jones and Bryan Walker of Walker Construction. Jones and Walker have already lined up subcontractors and suppliers to get materials and to schedule the professional labor to go to work in June. The local project will pull personnel from all 60 local contractors who are members of the Homebuilders Association.

It would be difficult for any one contractor to do the entire blitz build alone, Edgerton said.

He added that a blitz build takes more advance planning than normal, which accounts for the six-month head start.

"Thanks to Ken Jones' sponsorship of this event, it's possible for an additional family to move out of inadequate housing," Edgerton said. "We are grateful that the homebuilders are partnering with Habitat to help create affordable home ownership opportunities."

The people who move into the Habitat houses help build them and then make house payments of about $350. Edgerton said the payment for the same house otherwise would be closer to $700 or $800 a month. To qualify for the program, families can only earn up to 60 percent of the area's mean income, with the local minimum income around $13,000 for an individual and about $26,000 for a family of three.

Habitat has already chosen the family who will receive the blitz build house. The mother and daughter who will be moving in can't do the manual labor, so they will work 400 hours at the Habitat Home store downtown as their contribution to the effort.

"It's a great program," Edgerton said. "I enjoy doing it. That's why I do it with Habitat. I enjoy seeing it grow as you go from the foundation, the walls and all aspects of it. I enjoy the building, and I enjoy helping people. And this is a good way to do both."

The Wayne Habitat has completed 14 houses during the four years it's been organized, and the goal is to complete six houses in 2006.

"We have received excellent support from the community, and in order for us to continue to grow, we need even more support, both in land and financially," Edgerton said. "We always need volunteers."