12/30/07 — Habitat has list of families who need new homes

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Habitat has list of families who need new homes

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on December 30, 2007 2:00 AM

Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro Wayne officials say they cannot build houses fast enough to keep up with the qualified families waiting for the OK that they will receive homes of their own.

Development Director Sherry Archibald said Habitat also has renovated its resale store on East Mulberry Street and moved its office to East Walnut Street to give the store more room.

The organization closed on 12 lots in Harris Street Estates and received two donated lots from the city of Goldsboro. Volunteers also have built five houses and dedicated them.

Although building materials grow increasingly expensive, Mrs. Archibald said many of the items are being donated to the organization.

"I haven't noticed a drop in contributions, either," she said. "People are just as willing to give to worthy organizations as they ever were."

The organization received three $25,000 grants, one from Habitat International and one from Citifinancial and Southern Bank in Mount Olive.

Habitat has finished three houses in Mount Olive, and Mrs. Archibald said the organization is expecting to receive a certificate of occupancy on the third one by the end of the year.

A family is waiting on the fourth house in Mount Olive, and the group called Partners for Habitat of Mount Olive has raised at least half of the money necessary for that one. The group is made up of members from several churches and Christian organizations in Mount Olive that came together for the sole purpose of building Habitat houses.

The families who are awaiting their new homes have already begun their "sweat equity," as it is called. They volunteer for Habitat either at a work site, in the resale store or help out in some other way.

Volunteers come from near and far. The organization hosted several groups in 2007. They came from colleges and a group of retirees called Care A Vanners who travel around building houses.

The volunteers who construct Habitat houses are the only builders in Wayne County who use the Advanced Energy method, which has strict guidelines to follow to make a house more energy efficient.

This method is so efficient, Mrs. Archibald said, that the Habitat homeowners pay heating and cooling bills that average about $35 a month.

"It costs more to build for energy efficiency, but because we're a non-profit organization, we get the difference back in the form of a grant from the organization," she said.

Habitat has been building houses for six years now and has steadily grown each year in the number of houses built. The first year, there were two houses finished, the next year three, then four and five for the past two years.

Bill Edgerton, who founded the local Habitat affiliate, said the group has made some changes to speed up the construction process and expects six houses to go up in 2008.

"At some point, it will level off, and I hope it will level off at eight or 10 a year," he said. "But if we can do more, I don't want to put any limitation on it."

One of the goals for the coming year is to tithe enough to the Habitat affiliate in Guatemala to build a house there for every house built in Wayne County. That comes to $4,500 a house -- the cost of construction in Guatemala.

It normally costs $50,000 to build a house in Wayne County.